by | Feb 15, 2022 | Calling, Health, Leadership, Ministry Leader, Pastor, Podcast, Small Churches

Over 90% of churches in the United States are 200 and under in attendance. In today’s episode, we interview Karl Vaters, a pastor of a healthy church in California.

Karl’s heart is to help pastors of small churches find the resources to lead well, and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a small church – something virtually every pastor will spend at least some of their ministry years doing. He also believes that big and small churches can and should work together more often – to the benefit and blessing of everyone.

Here are the show notes:

  1. How did your heart for churches under 250 develop?
    • The vast majority of churches are under 250.
    • Confusion exists between health and numbers. You have to redefine success in ministry (fidelity and quality) if you want to get clarity.
    • Smaller churches are underappreciated and under-resourced.
  2. What are some of the key principles a church under 250 needs to know?
    • Smaller churches tend to be extremely over-complicated – we have to simplify. The smaller a church is, the fewer things you have to be doing. Do a few things really well.
    • Discipleship – in small churches, we tend to chaplain more than pastor. Chaplains tend to do ministry for They bring ministry to people. That is not the calling of the pastor. The calling of the pastor is to equip God’s people to do the work of ministry. If you do all the ministry for your church—they’ll let you. But neither they nor you will grow.
    • The equipping in a smaller church is more one-on-one. In a bigger church you’re going to disciple through proxies.
    • Normalize change and keep it mission-focused. Identify and communicate a process by which you make change decisions. When people know the process, they are less surprised by change. The process becomes a place of comfort.
  3. What would you say to encourage pastors who lead a smaller church? What would be a positive next step or two for them to take?
    • The primary obstacle to a smaller church becoming healthier is the lead pastor not knowing that a small church can be healthy at its current size.

Karl’s books are available at karlvaters.com