A friend just described two churches to me, and I didn’t expect what he told me. One is a church planted about nine years ago, established and growing solidly – around 100 people on a Sunday. The other is enormous, one of London’s largest, with an international congregation and reputation, and a leader you’ve probably
So you wrap all the presents, put then in the car and head off for Christmas with the relatives – but on the journey the labels fall off. Ever tried to play ‘Guess the Gift’ as you try to put the right label back? Like me, you’ve probably put the wrong one back on. Which
A new S curve doesn’t cause failure. But it seems to. Think through the initial phases of a new curve as we’ve seen them: the hidden hard yards, and then the resultant growth. Those hidden hard yards take time, and money, and prayer, and committed people away from the original curve. And for quite some
Obviously, sometimes it’s necessary to bust through the internal shape of an S curve and defy its inherent decline. We need to do something new – start a new service or ministry, or even add someone to the staff. The question is, when is the right time? Can you do it too early? Of course.
Very rarely does a church grow larger than 150 (plus or minus). Very many are smaller, and a handful are larger – they tend to be the ones we have heard about, so if we are not careful we assume they are the norm. But they are not. The pattern seems to be that a
The ‘S’ curve. So many things seem to follow this shape that it’s easy to think it’s entirely and irresistibly natural. Mathematicians call it a Sigmoid curve – a horizontal line lifts up, and then gently falls. In the next few blog posts I want to think about some aspects of it for gospel ministry, so
The world is just waking up to Christmas and grumbling about receiving the first card, but you’ve been living it for months. When did you start focussing on it? June, probably, before the schools broke up and you could get the muso’s together. Planning well ahead is one of the secrets to feeling that you’re
Jim Collins was on top form at the Global Leadership Summit this summer. He summarised his new book, ‘Great by Choice’, which I strongly recommend. But at one point he did something disturbing for a Brit – he attacked one of our national icons. Robert Falcon Scott is one of our heroes. Undeniably brave, and
“I don’t know how the church has grown. All I’ve done is teach the Bible.” The wise old Christian leader looked genuine enough, but I’m sure he was harbouring a secret. But because he’s a model for younger church leaders, they are going to think that he’s telling them the truth, and start to think
A wise pastor friend pointed out to me, “You get what you teach.” Which means that if we preach that evangelism is important, but don’t do anything about it, then what we actually teach is that Christians are people who talk a lot about evangelism but don’t do anything about it. Which makes a lot
Ever since the church growth movement highlighted that we need Celebrations, Congregations and Cells, and the historians pointed out that revivals in the church frequently accompany the rediscovery of small groups, churches have become used to having small group bible studies as part of their life. Here’s a secret: put pastors on a platform, and
Evangelicals, of all people, are thought to be grace-less and hard, where the people who have gone soft or even abandoned the doctrine of ‘grace alone’ are thought to be loving, kind and accepting.
Several times now I have sat with a group of leaders from a church as they have tried to thrash out, from the basics, what their church was about. Fundamentally. Sometimes it was driven by gospel passion, or the vision of a new leader. Once, frankly, it was driven by despair. It was a church
‘Pastor’ – it is an odd word that needs first translating as ‘shepherd’, and then explaining and clarifying every time we use it. But it has stood the test of time as one of the fundamental metaphors of Christian ministry. No other word seems to capture the idea of gentle leadership, modelled on Jesus. But