Is a Foster Church Movement Emerging Among Baptists?

Fostering and adoption are typically words connected to families and individuals. But now the movements are connected to congregations as well. It is an exciting time. Let’s get my meanings clear so we can be on the same page. Here are three definitions I often use together: Revitalization is the process where a church seeks […]

What Will the Post-Coronavirus Church Look Like?

Church leaders and members are rightly giving much attention to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. In-person church services are being canceled. Small groups are meeting digitally, if at all. Church leaders are urging members to support the church financially through digital giving. Churches are preparing ways to minister to their communities in the midst of […]

Rural Ministry: Reasons rural, small-town churches are making a comeback

The obituaries of rural and small-town churches are premature. Indeed, we continue to see clear evidence of hope and promise for both the churches and the communities. While the need is still great in the cities and more urban populations, we cannot ignore God’s work and opportunities in less populous areas. What is taking place […]

Suicide, Depression and Pastors: One Way Church Members Can Help

The suicide death of a young pastor is being felt throughout the world. Andrew Stoecklein, lead pastor of Inland Hills Church in California, left behind his wife, Kayla, and three young sons. I am the father of three sons. I cannot look at a photo of the young family without getting tears in my eyes. […]

5 Dangers of Unaligned Small Groups

The first time I encountered this issue was in a church consultation nearly 20 years ago. I asked the pastor to tell me what was being taught in the church’s small groups. He seemed nonplussed in his response: “I have no idea.” I was taken aback. I tried a different approach. “Tell me,” I said, […]

8 Characteristics of the New Bivocational Pastor

They are appearing on the scene quietly. Not many pundits are noticing the emerging trend. They are a different kind of bivocational pastor. The traditional bivocational pastor, by common definition, serves churches that are unable to compensate a pastor with full-time pay. These pastors are incredible servants who fill a huge need among American congregations. […]

The Neglected Great Commission: Go Revitalize Churches

On a typical day, I receive 50 or more pleas about this issue. The pleas come in the form of emails, Tweets, Facebook posts and blog comments. All of them have a common theme. They are pleading for help and insights in their declining and frustrating churches. I am so grateful for the resurgence of […]

When Boomer Pastors Retire, What Next?

On Jan. 1, 2011, the first baby boomer turned 65. In fact, on that day, 10,000 of them turned 65. And that pace of aging will continue until 2030, when every boomer is 65 or older. The implications for churches are staggering. This generation is not of the mindset of previous aging generations. According to […]

Viewpoint: Should churches have stand-and-greet times?

I conducted a Twitter poll (not scientific, I assure you) asking first-time church guests what factors made them decide not to return. In listing the top 10 in order of frequency (http://thomrainer.com/2014/11/01/top-ten-ways-churches-drive-away-first-time-guests), I was surprised that the number one issue guests don’t like is a time to stand and greet one another. So what is […]

With Thanksgiving for the Local Church

The local church in America gets a bad rap. And in many ways, the negative news is warranted. You’ve seen the dire trends and statistics. You’ve read about the moral failures of many church leaders. We certainly don’t need to have our proverbial head in the sand about the dire state of our churches. But […]