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Karl Vaters has been in small church ministry for over 35 years, including 27 years at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, CA, where he is currently the teaching pastor. He is author of 100 Days to a Healthier Church and Small Church Essential. He also founded S.P.A.R.K. Online mostra'n més (Small-Church Pastors Adapt Recover Kit), a free clearinghouse of resources for churches. Find it at KARLVASTERS.COM/SPARK. Visit his blog and find additional resources at KarlVaters.com. mostra'n menys

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Practical, helpful and encouraging. The main point of this book is worth the price for every small church pastor: it's not just okay that your church is small. It may be a good thing.
 
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emabbott | Dec 8, 2021 |
In addition to pastoring for over thirty years, Karl Vaters has also been encouraging, equipping, and empowering healthy local churches and innovative small church leaders for over the past decade through coaching, consulting, conferences, and writing blogs and books. Karl writes on church culture, small church ecclesiology, communal praxis, and missiology for Christianity Today, and has just released a step-by-step guide for pastors and leadership teams as his third published book. Karl’s latest work, 100 Days to a Healthier Church on Moody Publishers, joins an already impressive shelf with previously released and resourceful books such as The Grasshopper Myth and Small Church Essentials (Moody Publishers). Many churches and individuals have been impacted by Karl’s writings, influence, and experiences.

Karl’s new book is less something that you sit down to read over a few days, and any attempt to treat it like such a book will be a struggle for the reader. I was given this book for a review by Moody Publishers, and I sat down and read it over a few days. While there was still information to be learned and garnered, it’s better to treat this book the way it was written, as a step-by-step guide. This book serves as an intentional guide for pastors and church leadership teams, taking them on a one-hundred-day adventure and journey to envision a revitalized future, in which a church community might find a new depth of shared understanding and mission for their specific context. There is nothing about this book that is meant to be a formulaic silver bullet. This book is a set of tools to interpret your context with your team and it is not a call to copy-and-paste someone else’s ideas. Rather, it helps you discover what God has currently and uniquely equipped your church to do while learning how the Kingdom of God is breaking into your neighborhood, and planning how your church might develop a communally contextualized response to partner with God’s initiatives. This book is adaptable to many different church contexts and sizes, but it is obvious that the commitment to this journey of discovery must be high with your team, and all stages and steps must be taken intentionally by a whole team, or your outcome will be limited and compromised. Vaters believes “a healthy church is intentional about everything.”[1] I don’t disagree. Discipleship doesn’t happen by mistake, and neither does our individual or communal relational-growth with God. The journey outlined in this book is a rhythm and pattern that helps develop a healthy sense of intentionality, and awareness across a church leadership team and community.

Let me emphasize again that this book is not about church growth. Early on, the book clearly states that “bigger isn’t the goal. Better is the goal.”[2] Read that line again before you buy this book with the hope that it is going to help you break some imaginary boundary or threshold. Those who have encountered Karl Vaters’ early work will know his ministry has largely been with small and local churches, helping them to simply become effective in their unique mission, owning their size and mission, not about gaining numerical growth. This book follows that trend but offers Karl’s unique approach to developing health in a church context. You will find 100 Days to a Healthier Church is a resource that is about gaining momentum around understanding and mission as a church community. Karl teaches “health carries its own momentum-the momentum of hope.”[3] Followed intently and intentionally, I believe that this book from Karl Vaters and Moody Press will help your church community and leadership team achieve and develop four important and essential strengths.

“Your first strength is that you’ve learned more about Jesus and His church. You now have a clearer understanding that it’s not your job to create a mission for the church. It’s your calling to rediscover Christ’s mission for His church and your part in it…Your second strength…you know a lot more about your church, its weaknesses, its strengths, and its possibilities than you did 100 days ago….your third strength is that you have a team..Your fourth strength is a clearer sense of your church’s calling.”[4]

In addition to Karl’s four strengths that he pushes for in this book, I might even add a fifth strength that you will discover in this process. The possible fifth strength is that you and your team will have relational equity that has been developed through the investment of time, sweat, and tears – a work that has birthed a set of shared vocabulary and tools that will be foundational as you revitalize and reimagine your church’s health and mission.

All of our churches could be strengthened at some point. The truth is, “as long as we live in this broken world, even the healthiest church will have room for improvement.”[5] This book offers just one approach that we might develop as part of a yearly rhythm to train new leaders, envision new missional expressions, or develop a sense of ownership in a shared mission and/or in an understanding of mission in your specific church context. I’ve used and recommended Karl Vaters’ previous books with friends, leadership teams, and as recommended resources. I don’t doubt that this book will also become an established recommendation on my shelf. I received a copy of this e-book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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[1] Karl Vaters, 100 Days to a Healthier Church: A Step-by-step Guide for Pastors and Leadership Teams (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020), 12.

[2] Karl Vaters, 100 Days to a Healthier Church: A Step-by-step Guide for Pastors and Leadership Teams (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020), 22.

[3] Karl Vaters, 100 Days to a Healthier Church: A Step-by-step Guide for Pastors and Leadership Teams (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020), 260.

[4] Karl Vaters, 100 Days to a Healthier Church: A Step-by-step Guide for Pastors and Leadership Teams (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020), 256-257.

[5] Karl Vaters, 100 Days to a Healthier Church: A Step-by-step Guide for Pastors and Leadership Teams (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2020), 19.
… (més)
 
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ijeffmclain | Aug 2, 2020 |
The low price of oil has dampened the Canadian economy. According to a London Free Press article, our GDP during the first three months of this year (2015) contracted by 0.6%, when it was expected to increase by 0.3%. Leah Schnurr of Reuters writes, "It was ... the first time Canada's economy has failed to expand since the second quarter of 2011, which saw zero growth."

This analysis reflects the view of our society at large: if you're not growing (i.e. if the numbers are not increasing), then something is horribly wrong. Many church leaders operate from this usually unspoken assumption. When the numbers we submit on our Annual Church Life Report don't edge up, we get nervous and wonder what could be wrong.

Karl Vaters challenges this view head on in The Grasshopper Myth. The small churches of the world (which he defines as churches of 25-350 people) have a critical role to play in God's redemptive plan. They have a strategic advantage in their ability to try new things, to reinvent themselves, and to train people to serve who might not get a chance in a more excellence-driven large church.

It's time for small church pastors and leaders to stop feeling insecure in the level of their metrics and to develop a great small church. Vaters encourages pastors to proudly own the size of their church by taking a photo and displaying it on his Nametag Wall.

This is a motivational book with ministry insight. If you know a small church pastor who feels defeated, this book is medicine for the soul.

We do need to move further. Now that the case has been persuasively made for the legitimacy of the small church, I would love to see more literature focuses on how to maximize the strengths of the small church. Perhaps a sequel is in order.
… (més)
 
Marcat
StephenBarkley | Jun 12, 2015 |

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Obres
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