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 (, 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 […]

Viewpoint: When ‘Boomer’ Pastors Retire

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 […]

Warnings for Church Leaders Who Use Social Media

Those of you who read my blog or listen to my podcasts know I am a strong proponent of social media. I have seen many good things take place on the various platforms available. I have seen the Gospel clearly shared and embraced on social media. But this social media is a two-edged sword. It […]

Viewpoint: Lead Your Church to Be Evangelistic

Each year it seems local churches are devoting less time, less funding and less emphasis to equipping, encouraging and sending people to share the good news of Christ, particularly within their immediate communities. I believe the lack of evangelism within the local church is reaching a crisis stage. Entire regions within North America are largely […]

Viewpoint: The Worship Style Millennials Want

My son, Jess Rainer, and I recently spoke in Texas on the topic of the Millennials, America’s largest generation of nearly 79 million persons. Because we co-authored a book entitled “The Millennials,” we have had the opportunity to speak on the subject on many occasions. We reminded this audience in Dallas of the birth dates […]

When People Criticize Church Leadership

For years I assumed that criticisms of pastors and other church staff members was just part of leadership. Indeed, no leader, to my knowledge, has ever been spared the verbal or written jabs of the critic. So my advice has been for the leader simply to move on — to focus more on the vast […]

Viewpoint: Henry Blackaby and Social Media

We received the information early Friday morning (Sept. 20) that well-known Christian author and speaker Henry Blackaby was missing. Because of his close relationship to LifeWay Christian Resources professionally and to many of us personally, we made the decision to change the blog schedule at and related social media so we could get the […]

Viewpoint: A pastor’s first 90 days

I remember well receiving a call from one of my sons. It was his first day on the job as a new pastor. It was also his first full-time ministry position. His words were amusing: “OK, Dad. I’m here. What do I do next?” A new pastor has a great opportunity to begin a ministry […]

Viewpoint: Autopsy of a deceased church — 11 things I learned

I was their church consultant in 2003. The church’s peak attendance was 750 in 1975. By the time I got there the attendance had fallen to an average of 83. The large sanctuary seemed to swallow the relatively small crowd on Sunday morning. The reality was that most of the members did not want me […]