Top Posts of 2018

It’s hard to believe this year has come to an end. For me, this has been a tough year in ministry. Some of the things I thought would happen didn’t. Some of the ideas I tried, didn’t work. Some of the steps we took, were in the wrong direction. While the church I serve saw some good things happen this year, we continue to believe and plan for better days ahead. If you can relate, I encourage you to subscribe to the blog, and while you’re here, take a look back at some of my most popular posts from 2018.

  1. 5 Reasons We Made the Switch from CCB to PCO
  2. 4 Phrases Every Pastor Should Say Every Sunday
  3. Seven People You Should Fire Today
  4. 4 Types of Pastoral Leadership
  5. 3 Facts about Small Town Churches
  6. Ten Preaching Mistakes You Should Avoid
  7. 5 Assumptions Your Church Should Make to Serve Guests Better
  8. Five Ministries Every Church Needs to be Good At
  9. Thoughts on Growing a Small Church
  10. Every Church Welcome Needs these 5 Elements

Need some help growing your church in 2019? I’d love to coach you. Send me an email and let’s chat.

One of the Biggest Mistakes Pastors Make

Who are you spending your time with? It’s a very important question, and one you need to answer honestly. Because your time is limited, who you spend it with matters more than you think. The mistake many small town pastors make is allowing the wrong people to take up the majority of their time.

I read a story a few years ago about a retail company that did the math and discovered that 5% of their customers were accounting for 80% of their customer service calls. To make matters worse, these same customers were accounting for less than 1% of their profit.

That sounds like a lot of small town churches. Eighty percent of the complaints come from five percent of the congregation, and typically that 5% are not giving or serving. Yet, we make the huge mistake of spending time with them.


As pastors, we want to make everyone happy, and most of us absolutely hate conflict. We think if we spend enough time with our critics, we can somehow make them understand.

Can I just tell you, that’s rarely the case. There are some people you are never going to make happy no matter how hard you try. I don’t even think they want to understand. I think in most circumstances, they just enjoy conflict.

So, let me encourage you to do the same thing this retail company did. They wrote a nice note letting these customers know they wouldn’t be able to help them anymore, and they helped them find somewhere else to take their business.

You should do something similar. The next time you get cornered by that same person who always has a complaint, let them know you love them, but they would probably be happier at another church.

Once you do this enough, you’ll find that you have way more time to spend with those people who are excited about the vision and want to help you accomplish it.

Your time is valuable. Don’t waste it by giving it to the loudest voices. Be intentional about who you spend your time with. Invest in those who can help you make the church better, and encourage those who only want to complain to take their complaints somewhere else.

Who is the thorn in your side? What do they love complaining about? Leave a comment and get it off your chest. I promise you’ll feel better. And if you want to know more about turning around a struggling church, subscribe to the blog and get my new Ebook for free.

Twenty Ways to Stay Positive in Ministry

Part Two

I shared ten ways to stay positive in ministry in my last post, and I want to share ten more in today’s post. Ministry is full of difficult seasons, and without some ways to stay positive you’re probably not going to last long. So, if you’re feeling down, hopefully these ideas will help.

  1. Watch a movie. I ended my last post by suggesting you read a book, but reading may not be enjoyable to you. Instead, watch a movie. Comedies are the best for relieving stress, but a love story might be best to watch with your spouse.
  2. Serve someone outside of the church. It’s easy to forget why we got into ministry. Remind yourself by serving someone. Buy someone’s lunch, cut your neighbors grass, or if you’re feeling especially brave, offer to babysit someone’s kids.
  3. Tell your spouse why you’re discouraged. At times I think it’s dangerous to tell your spouse too much about what’s going on with the church, but at other times I think it’s just as dangerous to keep it to yourself. If something is bothering you and your spouse can tell, let them know what is so they can help you through it.
  4. Pick up a hobby. It’s never too late in life to pick up the game of golf, bowling, or lots of other hobbies. Find something you enjoy that can take your mind off ministry at least for a few hours.
  5. Get a small win. Finish your sermon a day early, so you can take your spouse on a date the next day. Check something off your to do list. Pray for three people in your church. Find a few small things you can accomplish and celebrate.
  6. Listen to music. Dust off an old record, cassette, or CD and listen to some of your favorites. Just be warned, if you grew up in the 90’s like I did, you may want to stay away from the grunge genre.
  7. Spend some time alone. I’m an introvert, which means that people often drain me. If you’re like me, don’t be afraid to spend some time alone to allow yourself time to recharge.
  8. Watch a sermon online. Technology has given us access to some of the greatest preachers of our time. Spend an hour watching a sermon from one of your favorites. Who knows, maybe the message will speak to you.
  9. Pray. The most obvious idea on this list, yet one that I easily forget when I’m feeling depressed. Don’t shy away from God during these seasons, lean in.
  10. Get professional help. If you’ve tried these ideas and you still can’t seem to shake these feelings of discouragement, sit down with a counselor. There’s nothing shameful about needing help. We’ve all been there before. Do whatever it takes to get yourself healthy.

I hope these ideas help, and don’t forget to go back and read my last post to find out ten more ideas to stay positive. If you ever need someone to vent to and share your frustrations, shoot me an email and I’d love to talk. We’re in this together, and I want us all to be in it for a very long time.