6 Reasons You Should Attend the Small Town Church Conference

Guest Post: Tony Ashmore

The first ever Small Town Church Conference will be October 3-4, 2016 in Villa Rica, Georgia, hosted by LifeGate Church. I love pastoring in a small town and, along with the other Small Town Church lead team members, believe every small town church can have huge impact for the Kingdom. I am excited about this conference and would like to share some reasons I think you should be here too:


  • I attend too many conferences and seminars that have great content and material but are all too often aimed at churches in large urban or suburban areas. Even though the stuff presented is excellent, it usually requires some ‘translation’ to make it applicable to the unique characteristics and challenges faced by the small town church leader. This conference is planned for the specific dynamics of the small town church and leader.
  • Every presenter is actively leading in a small town. As one of my friends told me, “I thought I had found a conference for the small town church, but none of those presenting were actually leading in small towns. They may have been there at one time, but all of them were now leading in large urban or suburban areas.”  I guarantee you will have the opportunity to connect with someone leading in a situation similar to yours at this conference.
  • Our network is founded on the belief that every small town should have a great and healthy life-giving church. Sometimes all we need to take our church to the next level is one tool or one friend. Whether your town is 500 or 50,000, you will have the opportunity to make new friends and find new tools—new friends who know what it’s like to lead in a small town and new tools that will help you ‘break the code’ for your small town.
  • No church is too small and no church is too large to benefit from this conference. It is focused on helping every small town church, whether it is 50 people or 5000 people, achieve their full Kingdom potential. That potential is different for every church, but the principles that will be shared will help every church and leader identify and achieve their full potential. Many of the churches present at this year’s conference have congregations that exceed 10% of their town’s population and several of them are successfully planting multiple campuses in other small towns.
  • I know attendance numbers are an important measurement, but I believe community influence is a more important measurement. A church of 85 in a town with a population of 500 may have more influence in their community than a church of 5000 in a city of a million. No matter the size of the church you lead or the size of your town, this conference will help you discover ways to increase your influence.
  • There is no one who understands your role as a small town pastor or leader better than another small town pastor or leader. One of the turning points in my life was making friends with Billy Hornsby and some of the others involved in the early days of the Association of Related Churches. Billy became like a father in the ministry to me and Sheryll and his input changed our lives and made our church better and more successful. Our #1 goal for the Small Town Church network and the Small Town Church conference is to create the opportunity for great relationships. Our conference this year is designed in a roundtable format, allowing the participants to have more networking time. I believe there will be friendships forged that, like my friendship with Billy, will take us all closer to realizing the full Kingdom potential in our own leadership and in the churches we lead.

You only have one opportunity to be the first, so register today for the first ever Small Town Church Conference. I look forward to hanging out with you there.

Written by Tony Ashmore.

I am a husband, father, grandfather and pastor of LifeGate Church in Villa Rica, Georgia, with campuses in Bremen and Carrollton, GA. My wife Sheryll and I have planted 5 churches and have a passion for helping small town churches and pastors. We also believe that too many pastors were like us, not having a ‘father or mother in the ministry’, and we are in a season in our lives where we embrace that role. Contact me at tony@mylifegatechurch.com.

The 5 Laws of Stratospheric Success

A Go-Giver Book Review

For those of you who know me or have been following me for a while, you know that I’m a big believer in giving. So, imagine my excitement when I learned that giving was the secret to great success, at least according to authors Bob Burg and John David Mann in their book The Go-Giver.


The Go-Giver tells the story of a young man who yearns for success but can never find it. The harder he strives the further away his goals seem to be. It’s not until he changes his focus from getting to giving that he starts to actually achieve his dreams.

“Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving…Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.” – Bob Burg

Most of us believe that those who are the biggest givers have the most to give, but the truth is they have the most to give because they’ve always been givers.

You can’t expect a fireplace to produce heat unless you throw on some logs. Success works the same way. The more you give, the more you get.

And according to the book, if you want to have stratospheric success, you need to follow these five laws.

  1. The Law of Value – Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.

Think about your favorite restaurant. The type you go to on special occasions. What draws you there? My guess is great food, great service, and a great experience. You get more than you pay for. That’s how we should live our lives, always look to give more than you get.

  1. The Law of Compensation – Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.

When we think of compensation, we always think of money, but for most of us, we have no control over what we get paid. What we do have control over is how many people we serve and how well we serve them. We let our impact determine our level of success instead of our salary. If you want more success, find a way to serve more people.

  1. The Law of Influence – Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

When you start looking out for other people and putting their interest first, what you’ll find is that over time you’ll develop a network of people who have your best interest at heart. Most people believe money, position, and accomplishments create influence, but that’s backwards. Influence creates them.

  1. The Law of Authenticity – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

For whatever reason, it seems that in the world of pastoring so many people try to be something or someone they’re not. Do yourself a favor, and just be you. You are the most valuable gift you have to offer. Your training and skills matter very little. Your most important asset is your ability to connect with people.

  1. The Law of Receptivity – The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

It may be more blessed to give than to receive, but that doesn’t mean we should try to close ourselves off to receiving. That wouldn’t make sense. They’re connected just like breathing. You can’t breathe in without breathing out, and vice versa. If you don’t let yourself receive, you shut down the flow.

I would encourage everyone to put these laws into practice in your life, but remember it’s not about what you do or what you accomplish, it’s about becoming a Go-Giver. Good luck.

Have you ever read The Go-Giver? What do you think of the 5 Laws of Success? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on success, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

3 Reasons to Go All The Way

I’ve been fortunate in my ministry career in that I haven’t had a whole lot of regrets. Hopefully you can say the same. Of the few regrets I have almost all of them are because we didn’t get exactly what we wanted because we were afraid to go all the way.


Let me give you an example. A few years ago, we decided to add several thousand square feet of kids’ space to our existing building. We were growing like crazy, and our original building just wasn’t adequate anymore.

So we hired a top-level architect who had designed facilities for megachurches like CrossPoint Church in Nashville, NewSpring Church in South Carolina, and Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. This guy is one of the best.

He designed an incredible building, we paid him a lot of money, but when it came time to hire a contractor, we picked the cheapest one we could find.

The result was a building that was a little cheaper on the budget but lacked many of the design features we originally fell in love with. Don’t get me wrong, we still love our building and are thankful for it, but it’s really only about ninety percent of what we had hoped for.

That ten percent we left off seemed small and insignificant at the time, but in hindsight I’m kicking myself for not going all the way with it.

As most of you have probably already learned, this idea doesn’t just apply to buildings, but it applies to multiple areas of our lives and ministries.

If you want to lose weight and get in shape, you have to give 100% effort. You can’t achieve your goals if you’re still drinking cokes every day.

If you want to save money, you have to live by a budget 100% of the time. You can’t overspend 10% of the time and still meet your goals.

If you’re looking to hire someone, you don’t want someone who gives 90% effort. You want them to give 100%, even if you do have to pay them a little bit more.

So, if you’re in a spot where you need to make a hard decision, let me give you three reasons why I think you should go all the way.

  1. It will cost you more in the long run.

I’m all for budgets. I’m a money guy. I know the Bible tells us we should count the cost, so I’m not saying throw caution to the wind. What I would ask you to do is think long term. Here I am in a building that I would like to make some changes to, and it’s going to cost more to do it now than it would’ve cost to do it in the first place.

  1. You’ll end up regretting it.

If there’s something you know you need to do and you don’t end up doing it or you don’t do it to the full extent, I guarantee you that you’ll end up regretting it. You will always wonder what if. What if we had made that hire? What if we had sent that promotional piece? Don’t live your life with what ifs.

  1. You never know.

As much as I love crunching numbers and making plans, there’s got to be an element of faith in our decision making. There are certain times in ministry when I believe you just have to take a chance. You never know what God can do until you try. If you fail, at least you learned something, right?

Let’s face it, most of our regrets are about things we didn’t do instead of things we did wrong. When faced with the choice of playing it safe or going all the way, I hope you’ll choose to go for it.

What’s your biggest regret in ministry? Make sure to share with us in the comments below, and don’t forget to sign up for the blog to get tips on leadership, church growth, and more delivered to your inbox each week.