Finally: A Definitive List of Every Essential Element for an Effective Church

Too many church leaders spend too much time on too many things that aren’t essential for an effective church.

But what are the essential elements of an effective church?

Good news. I’ve found the definitive list, and today I’m going to share it with you.

But first, a few things that aren’t on the list.

A church doesn’t need to be big to be effective.

A church doesn’t need to be small to be effective.

A church doesn’t need a mission statement to be effective.

A church doesn’t need a choir or worship team to be effective.

A church doesn’t need suits and dresses to be effective.

A church doesn’t need to dress casually to be effective.

A church doesn’t need small groups to be effective.

A church doesn’t need a website to be effective.

A church doesn’t need a building to be effective.

A church doesn’t even need a pastor to be effective. (A shout-out to all my house church peeps!) 

Our Priorities Matter

None of those things are wrong. Many of them can make a good ministry better. The church I pastor has or does most of them.

But they’re not essential.

When we start thinking they’re essential, then our way is right and other ways are wrong.

Then we start obsessing over them.

Wasting time, money and emotion on them.

Arguing over them.

Alienating ourselves from other believers because of them.

And ignoring real needs because of our obsession with nonessentials.

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Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors