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5 Commitments That Propel and Sustain a Thriving Small Group Ministry

Bible-study-groupEver wonder why some small group ministries seem to steadily move to new levels of success and health while others start with a bang and go out with a whimper?

Here are five commitments that make the difference:

1. Connecting everyone to a small group is a top objective every year. By “everyone,” I mean everyone. And it’s not just 50 percent or 80 percent of the weekend adult attendance. I’m talking about 150 percent of the weekend adult attendance number! In addition, the commitment is to a small group (i.e., not a class or a Bible study that meets in rows). And it’s not about off-campus versus on-campus. It’s all about connecting to a group that includes the essential ingredients of life change. (See also "Essential Ingredients of Life Change" and "Design Your Group for Life Change.")

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5 Reasons People Aren’t Volunteering at Your Church

Ron-EdmondsonDo you need more preschool workers to serve children? Do you need more greeters to greet? Do you need more ushers to … ush?

If so, you’re in familiar territory.

I’ve never met a church that said, “You know, when it comes to volunteers, we’re good. We’ve got plenty. In fact, there’s a waiting list for the nursery.”

Churches everywhere need to mobilize more volunteers to get ministry done. But before you start signing people up and filling slots, it might be helpful to take a look at why people are not volunteering.

Here are five reasons people might not be volunteering at your church:

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Ed Stetzer: Thoughts on the Amazing Life of Chuck Smith

Like many of you, I found out Thursday morning that Calvary Chapel founder and pastor Chuck Smith has died.

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Youth Ministry: Making Wise Choices

Gina-McClainIt was another average weekday. Shortly after arriving home from work, I’m routinely rifling through the pile of papers pulled from my second-grader’s backpack. Amid the assortment of math worksheets, writing assignments and doodles, I see one yellow slip of paper.

One glance, and dread envelopes me.

Another ticket; another note from the teacher; another reminder of my son’s innate gravitational pull toward horsing around. (Sigh.)

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Inside Iran: An Interview With an Iranian Pastor

Iranian-Christians-smallIran is all over the news. President Obama and President Hasan Rouhani talked just over a week ago—the first time the presidents of the two nations have spoken since 1979. This is being hailed as good news, and I tend to think that starting conversations is a good first step.

Yet even in that conversation, religious liberty became an issue. I am thankful President Obama brought up pastor Saeed Abedini to the Iranian president.

Iran is a complex place when it comes to the gospel, religious liberty and sharing Christ. Recently, I had a conversation while in Central Asia with some workers in that nation. It was a powerful and moving conversation, shared here with their permission.

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Pastors’ Wives Deserve Empathy, Respect Too

Joe-McKeever-smallThe letters and comments are pouring in from our recent article on the pastor’s wife.

I suppose it should not surprise me—weirdness is everywhere—but some people were angry that we called the pastor’s wife “the most vulnerable person in church.” One guy gave a long list of people, mostly the hurting seekers who arrive at church hoping to find a word of encouragement or a helping hand, who come before her.

There is no question that churches are filled with seeking, hurting, vulnerable people. Ranking them in order of desperation and need is pointless, since we are to be ministering to them all.

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