Rainer on Leadership

Your online home for leadership lessons for both the church and the workplace.


  • Growing Healthy Churches Together: Tyndale House Publishers and Church Answers

    Aug 04 2020

    On today’s episode of Rainer on Leadership, Ron Beers joins us to discuss the new ministry partnership with Tyndale House Publishers and Church Answers. Ron Beers has worked at Tyndale House Publishers since 1987, serving as editorial director for books and Bibles, as well as editor-in-chief; he currently serves as senior vice president and group publisher. He has written or co-written more than 30 books. Ron was involved in the creation of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, and he has been...more

  • Four Warning Signs Stress is Beginning to Impair Your Leadership

    Jul 28 2020

    Stress free leadership does not exist. There are times when stress can become a problem. How do you know when stress is impacting you negatively? Today’s episode unpacks  four warning signs stress is beginning to impair your leadership.   The questions of others are viewed as attacks You take the mistakes of others as a personal letdown Withdrawal is more about escape than spiritual retreat You neglect key ministry problems Resources mentioned in today’s podcast: Church Future Indicator...more

  • Five Ways to Honor the Past While Not Losing the Future

    Jul 21 2020

    History is important. A key part of developing a strong vision for the future is having a good understanding of the past.  In today’s episode, Thom and Sam share five ways to honor your church’s past while not losing the future. Have a genuine love for the history of your church  Celebrate the parts of the past that support the vision Tell the story of past change efforts with a positive perspective Turn the legacy into a guide, not a hurdle Ask elderly heroes to publicly give support  Re...more

  • People are Addicted to Outrage: Four Ways to Walk a Better Path – An Interview with Ed Stetzer

    Jul 14 2020

    Ed Stetzer is a professor and dean at Wheaton College who also serves as Executive Director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center. Stetzer has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, has earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates, and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He joins us today to talk about why people are addicted to outrage and four ways to walk a better path.  Your book Christians in the Age of Out...more

  • How to Be an Encouraging Church Member

    Jul 07 2020

    Pastors and church staff have plenty of critics. The Church Answers team helps us understand how we can all choose to be an encouraging church member.  The story of Stephanie Jackson The heart of renewal in many churches Pray for the disposition of encouragement daily Create an intentionality Pray for those you encouraged Seek nothing in return Resources mentioned in today’s podcast: Church Answers Church Future Indicator Episode Sponsors The mission at Southeastern Baptist Theologica...more

  • Leading Remotely: An Interview with BELAY COO, Lisa Zeeveld

    Jun 30 2020

    How can church leaders lead their remote teams with trust? Belay COO, Lisa Zeeveld joins Thom and Sam to discuss how to lead well remotely.  How can church leaders lead their remote teams with trust – and why? What’s one thing you’d recommend church leaders do to make remote employees feel valued and ‘seen?’ How can remote church leaders learn to embrace conflict? What’s one thing that a remote leader often overlooks that you’ve learned is invaluable as a remote leader?  Is there such a thing a...more

  • Understanding the 64% Factor: What If Everyone Showed Up at Church at the Same Time?

    Jun 23 2020

    What would happen if everyone showed up at church at the same time? The Rainer on Leadership team will tackle this question and help us understand the 64% factor. Description: Understanding the meaning of the 64% factor Breaking the cycle of lower expectations Dealing with the oft-repeated statement, “The church is the people, not a building.” Being willing to make the changes to give everyone an opportunity to participate in gathered worship. Resources mentioned in today’s p...more

  • Listening and Praying Forward During a Time of Racial Reconciliation: An Interview with Pastor Tyrone Barnette

    Jun 16 2020

    Today’s special guest is Pastor Tyrone Barnette. Pastor Barnette shares with us how to listen and pray during a time of racial reconciliation. We are thankful for his ministry and wisdom during this important time of building unity.  Pastor Tyrone Barnette is the founder and senior pastor of Peace Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia. The church was founded in 1993 in Pastor Barnette’s home, and has grown greatly since then, to over 3,000 members with an average of about 1,200 people attending on ...more

  • The Five Most Common Ways Churches Are Adding Space for Social Distancing

    Jun 09 2020

    Churches are slowly beginning to reopen and are desiring to be responsible and safe. Listen in as we discuss the five most common ways churches are adding space for social distancing.  They already have space, but they are providing new seating patterns. They are adding overflow rooms. They are adding Sunday morning services. They are adding services other than Sunday morning. They are alternating attendees. Resources in today’s episode: Church Future Indicator Episode Sponsors The mi...more

  • Five Ways Your Church Facility Is a Tool for Ministry

    Jun 02 2020

    You may have heard it a time or two; the church is the people, not the building. But today, we are talking about the building and five ways your church facility is a tool for ministry.  It is still the primary place for the gathered church. You likely have a lot of unused space during the week. One room can make a huge difference. Many neighborhoods do not have a community center. You can have multiple services on multiple days. Resources mentioned in today’s podcast: “Unleashing the Ch...more

  • Why Church Leaders Have an Incredible Window of Opportunity

    May 26 2020

    At ChurchAnswers.com we have been walking with many church leaders who desire to open the window of opportunity presented as a result of the pandemic. Thom and Kevin Spratt discuss several reasons why church leaders have an incredible opportunity ahead of them.  Why Church Leaders Have an Incredible Window of Opportunity   Change has been a constant during the pandemic. Your church members have been exposed to a variety of churches. Church members likely have a new sense of what really mat...more

  • How to be a positive influence in the negative world of social media – An interview with New York Times bestselling author John Eldredge

    May 22 2020

    Social media is a helpful tool for ministry but also a black hole for negativity. New York Times bestselling author John Eldredge joins us today to share strategies for being a positive influence in the negative world of social media. Highlights: John Eldredge is a bestselling author, a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recover their own hearts in God’s love, and learn to live in God’s kingdom. John ...more

  • Old Tech and New Tech Solutions You Should Keep Doing as You Return to In-Person Services

    May 19 2020

    From making phone calls and writing letters to online giving and virtual discipleship, as we return to in-person services, there are many strategies your church should keep doing. Thom and Sam discuss many of these strategies and their benefits on today’s episode of Rainer on Leadership. Highlights: Keep making phone calls and writing letters. Keep building your church email list. Keep moving people towards online giving. Keep an option for groups via video calls. Resources mentioned in toda...more

  • How to Make Worship Services BETTER Right Now – An interview with Jordan Richmond

    May 15 2020

    Today we welcome Jordan Richmond, worship pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church. We discuss practical ways leaders can make worship services better right now. Jordan has been married to Heather for 14 years and they’ve led worship together for all of it. They have 4 children.  How to Make Worship Services BETTER Right Now Check-in with your people personally. Dig into technical areas where you need to improve Think intimate. Not big.  Go shorter. Not longer. Resources Church Future In...more

  • Repurposing Your Church During the Pandemic- An Interview with Mike Glenn

    May 12 2020

    What does it mean to repurpose your church? What would it look like to repurpose during this time of change within the church. Guest Pastor Mike Glenn visits with Thom and Sam to discuss this new opportunity for your church.  Let’s begin with definitions. What does it mean to repurpose a church? How has this issue become more obvious and important during the pandemic? How would you distinguish repurposing from revitalization? What are some practical steps churches can take right now? Res...more

  • Happy Mother’s Day with the Rainer Wives

    May 08 2020

    We are incredibly thankful for the mothers in all our lives and are excited to celebrate the mothers in our lives. This very special episode of Rainer on Leadership features the wisdom and grace of the Rainer wives. Resources mentioned in today’s podcast: Church Future Indicator Episode Sponsors The mission at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission. The school offers more t...more

  • Seven Ways to Be A Better Servant Leader for Your Church

    May 05 2020

    Today’s leadership lesson handles the common topic of servant leadership but with a different perspective. These seven ways to be a better servant leader for your church will hit home for many listeners. Take the initiative with hurting people. Offer genuine apologies. Do not speak ill of others publicly. Seek out real accountability. Give sacrificially to your church. Be the first to give up your personal preferences. Volunteer for menial tasks. Resources mentioned in today’s pod...more

  • Creating a Financial Plan for Your Church During the Outbreak

    May 01 2020

    Let’s talk finance and having a plan. Creating a financial plan for your church during this season raises many questions for pastors. Church leaders need to embrace this critical step as they lead during uncertain times. Do best-case, expected-case, and worst-case scenario planning Use any current-year cash surpluses first Consider receiving funding from the CARES Act Cut every unneeded budget line item to zero Avoid dipping into a line of credit if at all possible Expect and plan for a recessi...more

  • The Temporary Normal including a Post-Coronavirus Facility Reopening Checklist from Smart Church Solutions

    Apr 28 2020

    In this edition of Rainer on Leadership, Thom and Sam interview Tim Cool, founder and chief solutions officer of Smart Church Solutions. Tim shares his checklist for reopening your facilities in the post-coronavirus world. What do you see remaining the same when churches return to in-person services? What are some of the major changes you expect? Why should a church even worry about getting ready to return to its facilities? Tell us about the checklist you are providing? What else do church lea...more

  • Five Hard Things Churches Must Do Right Now

    Apr 24 2020

    This season of isolation and social distancing has forced churches around the country to make hard decisions without an idea of what the other side holds. Listen in as Thom and Sam discuss the questions and best practices pastors are talking about right now on Church Answers and the five hard things churches must do right now. Hit the reset button, not the pause button. Keep as many employed as possible. Experiment creatively Stop complaining… now and forever.  Comply with the government’s...more

  • Why Your Church Must Move to Both Digital AND Automated Giving Immediately (Interview with Jess Rainer)

    Apr 21 2020

    In a time when most churches are holding virtual services, Thom and Sam speak with Jess Rainer regarding best practices and benefits in moving to both digital and automated giving immediately. What are the definitions of automated giving and digital giving? Talk about how these methods of giving have been a blessing for your church. Help us to understand why these methods of giving are important not only for the pandemic. but for the future. How would you recommend a church leader encourage a s...more

  • What Churches Are Learning in the Digital World

    Apr 17 2020

    The current crisis has disrupted the normal practices of almost every church in America. From streaming services to digital giving, church leaders are learning quickly about the digital world and the creative ways technology is reaching people with the gospel. Digital giving is a lot more important than they realized. Senior adults adapt well to digital services for a season. Short-term classes and studies do well in the digital world. Personnel costs can be reduced in the digital world. Prayer...more

  • “Why Are Christians Reluctant to Talk about Earning Money?” An Interview with Art Rainer, promoting his new book, Find More Money

    Apr 14 2020

    There are those out there who need to focus on expenses and creating a budget. But there is another segment struggling to figure out how to create more income. Thom and Sam talk with Art Rainer about his new book, Find More Money, and why Christians are reluctant to talk about earning money? Why are Christians reluctant to talk about earning money? What do most Christian financial experts write and talk about? What are some reasons people need to find more money? What is a side gig? What are so...more

  • Keeping Your Spirits Up When Your World is Down

    Apr 10 2020

    Our listeners are waiting to return to in-person gatherings. But on this Good Friday, the Church Answers team wants to provide hope and encouragement by providing some helpful tips to keep your spirits up during this very difficult time in history. It’s understandable if you’re struggling right now. Be intentional about taking a break to do something you enjoy. Start your day with prayer, not news.  Connect to old friends with a call. Encouraging others will give you a lift. Resou...more

  • The Vision-Driven Leader: An Interview with Michael Hyatt

    Apr 07 2020

    Vision is more than a mission and much more than core values. Clarity birthed from a strong vision is imperative to the success of any leader. Today’s special guest, Michael Hyatt, founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Co. and author of The Vision-Driver Leader, shares his personal story of discovering his need for a strong vision and desire to equip leaders of today and tomorrow in this critical area. Highlights: I love hearing your story about your transition from a corporate CEO to a platfo...more

  • Leading The Church When You Doubt Yourself

    Apr 03 2020

    If you are a pastor you are going to have seasons of doubt during leadership. Disruption can cause added stress and make leaders question their decisions. So how do we answer this universal question? How do you lead when you doubt yourself? Highlights: All leaders have seasons of doubt Seek encouragement from friends and family Challenge yourself with something new Don’t make decisions out of fear Rely on prayer warriors in the church Resources mentioned in today’s podcast: Church...more

  • Leading Your Church When So Much Is Unknown

    Mar 31 2020

    Every article dealing with the Coronavirus is a rehash of what everyone knows; we are in turbulent times. For leaders it is crucial to lead well even when so much is unknown. Thom and Sam discuss some best practices and how to shepherd your people during times of uncertainty. Highlights: Fear is an overriding emotion, especially when a lot of unknowns exist.  Above all, pray to the Sovereign Creator.  Let your church’s legacy and past remind people of your resiliency.  Lead symbolically a...more

  • Understanding Church Disruption

    Mar 27 2020

    What do you think when you hear the word disrupted? When you’re thinking of that word it can be negative, but the reality is that the greatest movements in the church have occurred due to disruption. In today’s episode, Thom and Sam discuss many of the positive aspects of disruption within the church. Highlights: Disruption, properly understood, can be a good thing. Many churches are declining and dying because they have not been disrupted. An older example of disruption: multi-site A current e...more

  • Speaking and Preaching to a Virtual Audience

    Mar 24 2020

    The COVID-19 crisis has led churches to adopt a completely virtual format. These new platforms require pastors and leaders to evaluate and transform their normal styles of communicating with their audience. Thom and Sam give tips and best practices for speaking and preaching during this new era of gathering on today’s episode which was recorded from a Facebook Live event held last week. Highlights: Look at the camera Dress appropriately Don’t recreate your live experience Get the right equipmen...more

  • Preparing Your Family for a Ministry Transition

    Mar 20 2020

    You are thinking about making a ministry transition. Maybe you will be visiting the church soon or perhaps the church has already called you to this new opportunity. Hopefully, you have already begun to think about your family. Thom and Sam discuss best practices and things to consider when preparing your family for a ministry transition. Highlights: Your spouse has the trump card Shield your younger children as much as possible Include your older children as much as possible Keep ties to famil...more

  • Should You Publish a Book?

    Mar 17 2020

    When thinking about writing and publishing a book there are a lot of questions. What’s the reason for writing, what should the process look like, and what are my publishing options are just a few of the questions Thom, Sam, and Jess Rainer answer on today’s Rainer on Leadership episode.g others. Highlights: Why should you publish a book? What are the different options to publishing a book? Why is guided publishing such a good route to go? How do you get started publishing? Resources mentioned ...more

  • Why Joy is So Effective (and Underestimated) When Leading Others – Interview with Josh Teis

    Mar 13 2020

    In today’s episode we talk with Josh Teis, pastor of Southern Hills located in Las Vegas Josh Teis. Along with an incredible church, Josh has also initiated an incredible movement called Idea Network. Idea Network and Josh are very much defined by the joy they exude. Thom and Sam talk with Josh about why joy is so effective and underestimated when leading others. Highlights: How do you maintain high levels of joy while shepherding? How does joy show people the right direction? Why is laughter a...more

  • Which Methods of Personal Communication Work Best in the Church?

    Mar 10 2020

    It is a common question asked by church leaders, especially pastors. What are some of the ways in which I can communicate interpersonally within the church to individuals or small groups who need to hear specific messages? Thom and Sam will be discussing which methods of personal communication work best in the church. Highlights: Personal communication is with individuals or small groups.  In-person communication is the most intimate and memorable. Phone calls are important when both tone and c...more

  • Why Do Different Worship Services Seem to Have Different Levels of Energy?

    Mar 06 2020

    Churches with different types of worship services have probably felt the difference. Music, attendance, and personalities are big factors in creating energy within a worship service. In today’s episode, Thom and Sam evaluate several reasons why services may differ in levels of energy. Highlights: Yes, music is a factor. Total attendance is a factor. Seating can dramatically affect energy. Time of day is sometimes a factor. Probably the personalities of the people can be a major factor. Resourc...more

  • How Long Should Church Staff Members Stay after They Announce Their Resignations?

    Mar 03 2020

    There are many reasons a staff member may announce their resignation. There are an equal amount of questions as to how long the staff member should stay after they announce their resignation. Thom and Sam discuss this important question and share their thoughts about how to approach this situation. Highlights: It depends. Retirements are usually different than resignations. The reason for the departure is a big factor. Resources for the interim period are factors as well. Moral failure calls fo...more

  • How Church Leaders Deal with Gossip in the Church

    Feb 28 2020

    Gossip is an issue dealt with in scripture and a habit Christians are mandated not to take part in, but is unfortunately still a problem leaders deal with on a consistent basis. How do leaders deal with gossip in the church? Sam and Thom discuss common practices of church leaders who deal with gossip in the church and what we can learn from them. Highlights: Most leaders do nothing at all. Some leaders have a designated person or persons to deal directly with the gossiper. It is rare for the pa...more

  • Four Major Changes in Preaching the Past Decade

    Feb 25 2020

    You may feel like an expert on the topic of preaching, but we often don’t evaluate the changes taking place in the world of preaching. We will focus on four major changes to preaching within the past decade and the reason behind these changes. Highlights: More churches have multiple preachers/teachers. More churches expect preachers to preach in different venues or sites. Fewer churches expect preachers to preach two or more different sermons each week. More preachers are largely done preparing...more

  • Interview with Vance Pitman on the topic of his new book, Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live through You

    Feb 21 2020

    Vance Pitman is one of our favorite leaders. We are excited to share our recent interview with Vance as he shares his journey and the story behind his powerful new book, “Unburdened: Stop Living for Jesus So Jesus Can Live through You.” Bio: Vance Pitman is the pastor of Hope Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, a church he planted in 2001. He speaks across America and around the world to inspire people to join in God’s eternal, redemptive mission of making disciples and multiplying the church amo...more

  • A New Way to Know Your Community

    Feb 18 2020

    To say we are excited about this new report is an understatement. Church Answers now offers an incredible demographic and psychographic report known as Know Your Community. A basic name for this incredible resource which will help you reach and love your community. Listen in as Thom and Sam discuss the report, how it was created, and why it is an important resource for your church and its future growth. Highlights: It’s hard to reach your community if you don’t know your community. ...more

  • How to Respond When Church Members Hold Key Leadership Positions But Don’t Attend Faithfully

    Feb 14 2020

    The issue at hand is sensitive, but we want to provide clarity on best practices. How do you respond to key leaders who don’t attend church faithfully? Listen in as Thom and Sam provide five options for how to address this area of concern. Highlights: Option 1: Do nothing (and watch things get worse). Option 2: Discover the reason behind the infrequent attendance. Option 3: Address the issue one-on-one with the person. Option 4: Reset the criteria for leadership in the policies or bylaws. Optio...more

  • Where Many Americans Find Meaning in Life and How It Affects Your Church

    Feb 11 2020

    Where do you find meaning in life? Family, career, your faith? Thom and Sam dive into current data from Pew Research to discover where many Americans find meaning in life and how it practically applies to your church.   Highlights: Family (40% in closed-ended questions, 69% in open-ended questions). Some churches compete with culture; other churches complement culture. Religious faith (20% and 20%). Churches should recognize the intensity of this issue for those who find meaning here. Careers (...more

  • Should Pastoral Candidates’ Identities Be Kept Confidential until They Are Formally Presented to the Church? Point/Counterpoint

    Feb 07 2020

    We think this episode is unique because of its specificity. Over the course of today’s episode of Rainer on Leadership, Thom and Sam debate the pros and cons of keeping pastoral candidates’ identities confidential until being formally presented.  Highlights: No. The congregation can’t make an informed decision if they are told at the last minute. Yes. The current church of the pastoral candidate will be stressed and in limbo until a decision is made. No. If the call is meant to be,...more

  • A Tool to Give You an Idea Where Your Church Is Headed in the Future

    Feb 04 2020

    Chuck Lawless from the Church Answers team joins us to talk about an exciting new tool created by Southeastern Seminary. The Church Future Indicator is a free tool everyone will want to get ahold of. The tool is helpful and gives great insight into where your church is headed. Highlights: A tool meant to be a motivator, not a discourager The need for churches to face reality The need for churches to have hope and solutions Hint #1: The Primacy of Prayer Hint #2: The Great Commission Is Still Gr...more

  • Three More Trends for Churches in 2020

    Jan 31 2020

    Thom and Sam continue their conversation from episode #610 examining major trends churches can anticipate and prepare for in the coming year. While some of these trends will seem familiar, others will be new with the hope all will be informative and helpful for church growth. Highlights: Evangelism will return to its rightful place of importance and priority.  Fewer pastors and church staff members will be compensated full-time wages.  Fewer churches will align exclusively with denominations. ...more

  • Four Trends for Churches in 2020

    Jan 28 2020

    We are one month into 2020 and there is much we can learn about anticipated trends and how churches can begin to connect the dots and prepare for the future. While some trends you will expect, others will be new and our hope is that these four trends will be informative. Highlights: Worship sizes will grow significantly smaller. There will be a significant increase in the number of worship services offered at times other than Sunday morning.  Church facilities will undergo dramatic transformati...more

  • The Most Significant Single Changes in Turnaround Churches: Five Examples

    Jan 24 2020

    Using research gleaned from the successes of turnaround churches, Thom and Sam reveal the five most significant single changes made by a turnaround church. Highlights: Concerted and intentional corporate prayer A pastor-led outward focus Necessary subtractions  A movement of focus A pastoral commitment to stay  Other highlights: Prayer is a key element in helping move your church from a negative tone to a positive tone. Expecting your church to turnaround without prayer is an improper expecta...more

  • Four Lessons Pastors of Struggling Churches Are Learning from Each Other

    Jan 21 2020

    If you can afford Netflix you can afford an online community where pastors can come together regularly at Church Answers Central. Today’s post comes from the blessing of pastors who have decided to focus on each other and four lessons they have learned from each other. Highlights: “I am not alone.” “I am not crazy.” “There are resources available.” “There is hope.” Resources mentioned in today’s podcast: Church Answers Church Consultation University Revitalize 2020 Church of the Year N...more

  • Conducting a Funeral for a Newborn or Still Born Baby

    Jan 17 2020

    Our hope and prayer is for you to never need this podcast but our goal is to help leaders and prepare them for a variety of difficult situations. Today’s episode is sobering but helpful in giving guidance when faced with an extreme tragedy for families. Highlights: It is nothing less than the loss of a child. Assurance and comfort are key for the parents and other loved ones. The service should be a God-honoring traditional funeral. The funeral should be the beginning point of ministry to the p...more

  • Four Signs of Bad Church Bylaws

    Jan 14 2020

    While the thought of church bylaws may not interest you at first, what you don’t know about the complicated nature of church governing may very well lead to trouble. In today’s episode, Thom and Sam unpack why church bylaws exist and four signs of bad church bylaws. Highlights: When the bylaws are too complex and wieldy When the bylaws are largely reactionary When the bylaws are more “stop signs” than guides When the bylaws are dated, particularly with important legal changes Other...more

  • Four Occasions When Your Church May Need a Transitional Pastor

    Jan 10 2020

    Has a long-term pastor in your church retired? Is your church in crisis or conflict? Has the community surrounding you changed significantly? Sometimes churches are in need of a transitional pastor. Thom and Sam discuss what this specific role looks like, how it is different from a traditional interim pastor, and four occasions when your church may need a transitional pastor. Highlights: When a long-term pastor retires When the church is in crisis or conflict When the community has changed sign...more

  • Lessons Learned from Churches That Almost Died but Didn’t (Part 2)

    Jan 07 2020

    But wait! There’s more. Part two of Thom and Sam’s discussion on success stories from churches on the verge of dying but recovered and are now thriving. Highlights: First 3 lessons covered episode #603 You have to make hard decisions now. It is still about the Great Commission. Membership still matters. Reality is tough to face. Other highlights: Hard decisions should be made around the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. We get so busy putting out fires and going to meetings, we ...more

  • Lessons Learned from Churches That Almost Died but Didn’t (Part 1)

    Jan 03 2020

    We talk about some really great news today. Thom and Sam discuss lessons learned from churches on the cusp of death who recovered and are now thriving. Highlights: There is always hope for churches. A community desires a healthy church. Prayer is foundational and essential. Other highlights: Even when you don’t think it can happen, God can work. If God can save any person, God can save any church. A key element of leadership is inspiring hope in those you are leading. A healthy church is goo...more

  • Six Things I Pray I Won’t Do as a Senior Adult in My Church

    Dec 31 2019

    For Thom, it’s a present reality, for Sam it’s a prayer for the future. Listen as Thom and Sam discuss the attitudes each pray to avoid as senior adults in the church. Highlights: Have an entitled attitude because of my giving to the church Say “I’ve done my time” Focus more on recreation than serving Complain Be more concerned about my preferences than the needs of others Lose my zeal for evangelism Other highlights: As a senior adult with discretionary income, give joyfu...more

  • Five Healthy Practices When Members of Another Church Visit Your Church

    Dec 27 2019

    There are good reasons and bad reasons to move from church to church. As leaders, it is important to understand healthy practices for when members of another church visit your church. Highlights: Listen to them. Refuse to listen to them bash another pastor or church. If necessary, suggest they reconcile with the pastor, staff, or members of their church. In some cases, contact the pastor of their church. Pray for all parties involved Other Highlights: Leaders don’t usually know why someone i...more

  • Update on Church Welcoming Ministries: What’s Missing?

    Dec 24 2019

    The welcoming ministry at your church is incredibly vital to the growth of your church. Thom and Sam celebrate the progress being made and discuss how churches can continue to strengthen this ministry. Highlights: Celebrating the progress! The forgotten role of outside greeters Bring the tents back! Signage, signage, signage Still needed: sanctuary/worship service greeters Other highlights: Church greeters are not just for the inside of the building. Welcome tents serve as a visual point of r...more

  • Four Occasions When a Pastor Should Draw a Line in the Sand

    Dec 20 2019

    Nations on the verge of war use it. A group of children on the playground may even physically draw it. Regardless of who evokes it, the metaphor of a line in the sand is strong. Thom and Sam discuss the four occasions when a pastor should draw a line in the sand. Highlights: When there is a threat to core and foundational biblical issues. When the pastor’s family is being attacked. When there is a toxic person wreaking havoc. When the church refuses to reach beyond its walls. Other ...more

  • Understanding the Differences between Church Adoption, Church Fostering, and Church Revitalization

    Dec 17 2019

    What is the difference between church adoption, church fostering, and church revitalization? Thom and Sam have a helpful and interesting discussion on new trends taking place in North American congregations. Highlights: Church adoption: a church comes into the family. Church fostering: a church is brought into the family for the short term. Church revitalization: a church regains health internally. Other highlights: The term of adoption has been helpful and provided context for the new relati...more

  • One Key Reason Many Churches Are Fighting Attendance Declines (Update)

    Dec 13 2019

    We hear more and more about attendance frequency becoming a pain point for many churches. After over a decade of having this conversation, Thom and Sam discuss the one key reason many churches are still fighting attendance declines. Highlights: Revisiting the Concept of Attendance Frequency The Priority/Expectations Factor The Weekend Worker Demographic The Focus on Us Instead of Them Groups, groups, groups Other highlights: For the church to exist it must gather. One of three people ...more

  • Seven of the Most Fiercely Defended Traditions in the Church

    Dec 10 2019

    Thom and Sam spend today’s episode discussing seven fiercely defended traditions in the church, why these particular traditions are so sensitive to many, and how you can help leaders be agents of positive change within your congregations. Highlights: Worship Style Role of pastor Worship Time Specific rooms in the church facility Order of Worship One site only Business and committee structure of the church Other highlights: What is the biblical role of the pastor? What is the “hired man&...more

  • The Berry Bucket and How It Often Causes Church Conflict

    Dec 06 2019

    What in the world is a Berry Bucket? If you don’t think this is a relevant topic for your church join Thom and Sam as they discuss the Berry Bucket and how it is often the source of church conflict. Highlights: Understanding the Concept of the Berry Bucket Why Years Two and Three Are the Most Common Berry Bucket Conflict Years The Communication Issues with the Berry Bucket Surviving the Berry Bucket Other highlights: How is the Berry Bucket created? How are existing church members thr...more

  • What Church Leaders Must Know for 2020 – An Interview with Dave Travis of Generis

    Dec 03 2019

    Wouldn’t you like to know what the future holds for your church? Special guest Dave Travis from Generis joins Thom and Sam as they jump in their time machine and discuss issues and trends church leaders must know for 2020. Highlights: What are some demographic issues facing churches in 2020? Does church attendance matter? What is meant by “more compact facilities”? What is the future of smaller churches? What is the trend in video-based churches versus live preaching? Other highlig...more

  • Understanding Resistance to Change in Churches

    Nov 29 2019

    In today’s episode, Thom and Sam discuss an incredibly common topic and major pain point for many churches: change and why resistance to change exists. Highlights: The hunger for stability in a rapidly changing culture. Church members confusing desires with doctrine. The issues surrounding slow pace of change in most churches. The large gap between leadership pace and congregational pace. Other highlights: Sometimes church members confuse desire with doctrine. There is nothing wrong w...more

  • Why the Local Church Is the Key Instrument of the Great Commission

    Nov 26 2019

    Today Thom and Sam discuss the purpose of the local church as a key instrument of the Great Commission. Discipleship is the primary tool the church uses to fulfill the Great Commission. The conversation today covers the importance of making disciples and characteristics of discipleship. The difference between decisions and disciples The biblical path of the early Church Accountability is difficult outside of the local church Fighting perceptions about the local church Other highlights: ...more

  • Five Considerations When You Follow a Long-Term Pastor

    Nov 22 2019

    Are you following a long-term pastor? Did a long-tenured pastor return to your church as a member? Thom and Sam discuss five considerations when following a long-tenured pastor. This is a great episode about leading well and honoring those who have come before you. Honor your predecessor. No disparaging comments. For a season, let your predecessor know about major changes. Consider taking your predecessor up on any offer to stay away for a while. If appropriate, ask your predecessor to preach...more

  • Five Ways to Address the Oversized Sanctuary

    Nov 19 2019

    Church practices change with cultural norms. The norm in the church used to be everyone gathering at one time in one place. Today, Thom and Sam discuss changing church practices and five ways to address an oversized sanctuary.  5 Ways to Address the Oversized Sanctuary: Understand the “why” behind the trends. Use curtains or ropes. Close off the balcony. Remodel the facility. Focus on a larger fellowship area. Other highlights: A common renovation in churches today include expandi...more

  • Five Ways Your Church Budget May Be Broken

    Nov 15 2019

    Many churches are in the midst of their annual budgeting. Thom and Sam discuss five ways your church budget might be broken. Included in this episode are topics like processes, facility costs, personnel costs, and resourcing outward-focused ministry. The budgeting process is old and stale. The church has not seriously examined its facility costs. The church has not seriously examined its personnel costs. Expenditures are almost all inwardly-focused. There is little thought given to Jerusalem. ...more

  • Five Major Reasons Your Church May Be Stuck

    Nov 12 2019

    From church idols to church busyness, Thom and Sam discuss the major reasons why your church might be stuck. Sometimes the reason a church is stuck is that there is a fear of change, other times because of a bully. Listen in as Thom and Sam talk about the issues and potential solutions. Reasons a church might be stuck: There is an idolatry of the past. Critics and bullies are holding the church hostage. The pastor has been burned in the past and fears leading change. The church likes evangelism...more

  • Five Problems with Too Many “Main Things” in a Church

    Nov 08 2019

    Today Thom and Sam discuss five problems of having too many “main things.” As the frequency of church attenders decreases you will depend on fewer people more frequently. Leaders will burn out those most committed to the church. Church members cannot focus on more than one or two priorities. There is a challenge with infrequent attenders A leader cannot emphasize multiple main things well. One or more of the main things will fade. Members will grow weary. Other highlights: People today are b...more

  • Four Things Your Church Should Know about Fostering a Church

    Nov 05 2019

    In today’s episode, Thom interviews Sam about four things your church should know about fostering another church. There are neighboring churches in your community struggling and need your church’s love. Listen in as the discussion covers leadership tips and boundaries for fostering churches. The motive has to be pure. Most fostering will not become adoptions. The leadership factor still remains key. Fostering beyond 18 to 24 months can create dependence. Other highlights: The goal of fosterin...more

  • Four Often Neglected Practices of Most Leaders

    Nov 01 2019

    Today Thom and Sam welcome Joel Wayne, lead pastor for Chapel Pointe in Hudsonville, Michigan, and author of Steer: Eight Practices to Drive Leadership. In this episode, Joel discusses four neglected practices of leaders trying to shape culture. Key learning is to address splinters before they become infectious.  Four Often Neglected Practices of Most Leaders Shaping (Shifting) Culture Maintaining Motivation Establishing Default Settings Pulling Splinters Other highlights: In order to shape a...more

  • Six Seismic Shifts in Church Health

    Oct 29 2019

    Thom and Sam are joined by Dr. Chuck Lawless from Southeastern Seminary. Today’s discussion is on six shifts in church health and revitalization. The six shifts: The local church emphasis in church revitalization The institutional emphasis in church revitalization The micro-movement The return to resource-led revitalization  The neighborhood church movement The facility adjustment issue  Other highlights: We are finally catching up on providing resources and training for church revita...more

  • Four Reasons Why Many Welcoming Churches Have Become Less Welcoming

    Oct 25 2019

    Does your welcoming ministry feel stale and stagnant? In today’s episode, Thom and Sam discuss four reasons why churches become less welcoming. Every ministry can get in a rut or routine. Listen in on how you can become a more welcoming church. Leaders in your welcoming ministry are not getting constant reminders. New members of your welcoming ministry have not been trained. Pastors are failing to check for themselves. Pastors take it off their priority list. Other highlights: A welcoming chu...more

  • Six Ways Churches Are Dealing with Parking Shortages

    Oct 22 2019

    In this episode, Thom and Sam discuss a key barrier to church growth, parking. If you are leading a healthy and growing church parking will be an issue. Listen in as the discussion focuses on six ways churches are dealing with parking shortages. The six questions from today’s podcast: Ask key church leaders to park in remote places. Some churches use shuttle parking, at least for a season. More churches are starting a non-Sunday morning service to deal with space constraints like parking shorta...more

  • Five Common Ways Church Leaders Respond to Overload Anxiety

    Oct 18 2019

    Today’s episode is an important topic in the life of the church leader. Anxiety could come from a number of sources including staff, congregational members, elders, or other church expectations. Thom and Sam give some tips on how to find help and stay healthy. Here are the five common responses to overload: They go to a favorite place to pray They set a goal to accomplish one thing They take a few days off They exercise They join a community of like-minded leaders Other highlights: A good pas...more

  • Six Questions to Consider If a Staff Member Becomes a Candidate to Be Pastor

    Oct 15 2019

    Thom and Sam discuss the possible scenarios in which a staff member can transition into a lead pastor role. The discussion considers several perspectives including the internal candidate, external candidate, and potential impact on the church. The six questions from today’s podcast: Will the staff member have a highly visible role in the interim? Should staff members resign if they don’t become the pastor? Does such a move allow for a better transition? Is a known better than an unknown? ...more

  • How to Build a Worship Ministry When You Have Nothing and Nobody

    Oct 11 2019

    Eric Roberts joins the podcast today to discuss how to build a worship ministry. Eric has created over 300 free videos to help churches raise up skilled worship leaders. Training through Eric’s ministry, worshiptheking.com, includes training on guitars, drums, sound, and much more. Highlights: You don’t have to be a level 10 worship leader, all you need to know are the basics. Large and small churches both have the challenge of finding skilled musicians. You can build a worship band from the pe...more

  • Five Church Membership Models

    Oct 08 2019

    Every church has varying membership requirements. In today’s podcast Thom and Sam discuss membership classes and the strengths and weaknesses of church expectations. Some highlights from today’s episode – Church membership is the lived out metaphor of being a part of the body in 1 Corinthians 12. Follow up is critical and often the missing component of assimilation. The membership class is the starting line and follow up is the next immediate step. If people come to a class to...more

  • Five Key Reasons Many Churches Struggle to Reach Their Communities

    Oct 04 2019

    The local church is responsible for engaging the community. Many churches today are declining because they are too inward focused. In today’s episode Thom and Sam discuss the basics of engaging the community and neighborhoods around the church. A few episode highlights – The call to pastor a church is the call to pastor a community. Established churches can become busy with programs and get distracted from serving the community. If you are going to reach the community there needs to be an...more

  • A Case Study of an Established Church Adopting a Struggling Church

    Oct 01 2019

    Today’s episode features new co-host Sam Rainer, Lead Pastor of West Bradenton Baptist Church in Bradenton, FL and President of Church Answers. The discussion today is about neighborhood church adoption. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Adoption is more theologically accurate than merger or acquisition. Relationships and ministry should be priority when adopting another church.. Remember, the principle of “eating an elephant” may need to take place when two church...more

  • Goodbye Jonathan, Part 2

    Sep 27 2019

    This is Jonathan Howe’s last episode on the podcast. For those who may have missed it, he was recently named the Vice President for Communications at the SBC Executive Committee. So today, we are saying goodbye to “The Voice.” Episode Sponsors The mission at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ by equipping students to serve the church and fulfill the Great Commission. The school offers more than 40 different degree programs, including the new Master of ...more

  • Goodbye Jonathan, Part 1

    Sep 24 2019

    This is Jonathan Howe’s last week on the podcast. For those who may have missed it, he was recently named the Vice President for Communications at the SBC Executive Committee. So this week, we are saying goodbye to “The Voice.” Resources mentioned in today’s podcast Church Answers Episode Sponsors Vanderbloemen has been serving churches for nine years, but did you know that Vanderbloemen also serves Christian schools, nonprofits, and Christian businesses? So if youR...more

  • The Six Most Simple Adjustments to Become a Welcoming Church

    Sep 20 2019

    Your church can become more welcoming regardless of how welcoming you may think it already is. Today we cover six simple adjustments that cost little to nothing that will have exponentially great results. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Your church’s website is its front door to guests. The content and design need to be focused on them, not on the members. A dirty or unkept children’s area will turn guests away from your church. It doesn’t take a lot of wor...more

  • Getting under the Hood of Church Giving to Increase Generosity in Your Congregation

    Sep 17 2019

    Increasing generosity is not just about asking for more money more often. It’s about building the spiritual discipline of giving. Today, we welcome Jim Sheppard and Steve Caton to the podcast to discuss this and how metrics can help you in your church. About Jim Sheppard Jim Sheppard is CEO & Principal of Generis, a consulting firm passionate about helping Churches inspire and cultivate generosity through giving development, coaching and strategy. About Steve Caton Steve Caton, Chief G...more

  • How Churches Should Respond to Seven Major Changes

    Sep 13 2019

    We recently highlights seven changes are facing today. In this episode, we discuss how to combat these changes. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Cultural Christianity is all but gone in America. Multi-service became multi-venue which became multi-site. Work habits are changing. Churches need to consider responding to those changes with alternate worship times. Denominational health reflects the health of member churches. The seven changes we discuss are: The Death of Cultur...more

  • Seven Ways to Hurt Your Pastor

    Sep 10 2019

    We hear from hundreds and hundreds of pastors every week. Many of them are hurting. Today, we cover seven most common ways church members hurt their pastors. Some highlights from today’s episode include: If you’re criticizing the pastor via the pastor’s spouse or kids, that’s absolutely cowardly. It’s rare for pastors to be overpaid. Many are simply underpaid. The constant criticism many pastors face is basically death by a thousand cuts. You shouldn’t compar...more

  • Leading Millennials in Your Church

    Sep 06 2019

    Troy Pollock from Pushpay joins us today to discuss church technology and how you can better reach Millennials in your church. About Troy Pollock: Troy is part of the executive leadership team at Pushpay and serves as Chief Ambassador. As the first U.S. employee, he has helped shape the company to be one of the fastest growing SaaS companies today. Most notably, Troy pioneered the Customer Success Department from humble beginnings to an award winning team that partners with churches and non-prof...more

  • Seven Things Pastors Would Like Church Members to Know about Their Children

    Sep 03 2019

    Children of pastors often feel like they live in glass house. Today, we take a look at an older post from ThomRainer.com on their thoughts about being seen as a pastor’s kid. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Pastors’ children will get a lot of negative feedback. They need to be encouraged greatly. We need to keep in mind that pastors’ kids are just that—kids. Don’t put pastors’ kids in a separate category from other kids in the church. Consultant...more

  • Seven Things We Should Celebrate Regularly in Our Churches

    Aug 30 2019

    What you celebrate, you become. And today we discuss ways churches can celebrate how God is working in them and through them. Some highlights from today’s episode include: We need to celebrate salvations in our churches because it will engender more evangelism by our members. Churches should celebrate the gospel impact being made in their communities. Other churches are not your competitors. They are cooperating in your church’s mission to reach its community. When we celebrate answ...more

  • Seven Major Ways Pastors Discern It’s Time to Leave Their Church

    Aug 27 2019

    One of the most frequently asked questions we get asked relates to when it’s time to take a pastorate or leave one. Today we cover seven ways to sense it’s time to leave. Some highlights from today’s episode include: One indicator that it’s time to move to a new pastorate is when you have a stronger and clearer vision for the new church than your current one. There’s always the risk of leaving a pastorate for greener grass when you really shouldn’t. Your fami...more

  • Six Reasons Longevity Is Critical for Change Leadership

    Aug 23 2019

    Change in a church does not happen overnight. Leading a group of people to change takes time. Today we look at six reasons why longevity is so critical to change. Some highlights from today’s episode include: It often takes around five years to become the pastor in the hearts of church members. Those who you think are your biggest supporters early in a pastorate too often turn into some of your biggest critics later on. The longer you pastor a church, the more people will become aligned w...more

  • Six Reasons Pastors Must Become Change Leaders

    Aug 20 2019

    Determining the correct pace of change is often the most important aspect of leading change—because change is needed in nearly every church situation. Today, we discuss why change is essential and how to do it well. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Many pastors are hesitant to make change because they know the wrong pace of change could cost them their job. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The pain that have with the change we introduce in this life pales in co...more

  • Six Reasons Why the Minimization of Numerical Metrics Is Dangerous

    Aug 16 2019

    Metrics have a bad reputation in some churches. In others, they’re too much of the focus. Today, we discus why you should take a balanced approach to metrics. Some highlights from today’s episode include: There is a danger in churches becoming numerically obsessed. There is also a danger in churches neglecting numbers. What gets measured gets accomplished. Church health and church growth are not in opposition to one another, but they are not always congruent. Churches shouldn’...more

  • Six Reasons Why “People Are Saying . . .” Is the Most Frustrating Comment for Church Leaders

    Aug 13 2019

    When a pastor hears the phrase “People are saying . . . “, it brings a great deal of anxiety. But should it? Today, we discuss the reasons for the anxiety and how to deal with it. Some highlights from today’s episode include: We should address grievances directly with one another in the church—not through gossip. Critical views are typically held by only a few in a church, but their size often gets magnified when they are anonymous. Criticism is often magnified beyond its real...more

  • Five Updates on Pastoral Attire

    Aug 09 2019

    Pastoral attire seems to be a hot issue in almost every church. Today, we discuss the response to another recent podcast on the subject and provide a few updates. Some highlights from today’s episode include: There are a plethora of impassioned perspectives and opinions on the subject of pastoral attire. Society is trending more casual when it comes to attire, and so are churches. Even though more pastors are wearing jeans, many of them are still wearing blazers. There is still a disconne...more

  • Five Reasons Some Churches Celebrate Debt Retirement

    Aug 06 2019

    Debt can drag down a church’s finances and keep it from being able to minister as it would like to. So when a church retires its debt, it’s typically a cause for celebration. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Debt retirement celebrations should be more of a celebration of God’s provision than debt retirement. When debt is eliminated in a church, funds available for ministry increase dramatically. Having more money for ministry in a church means having more mo...more

  • Should Pastors Announce Their Upcoming Vacation?

    Aug 02 2019

    Pastoral vacations can lead to some disagreements between church members—mainly on whether or not the church should know it’s coming. Today we discuss both sides of the issue. Some highlights from today’s episode include: When church members know that a pastor is out of town and won’t be preaching, attendance usually drops. When a pastor is on vacation, leaders and members should step up to help with pastoral care needs within the church. Announcing you will be on vacation som...more

  • Six Ways a Church Failed the Guest Friendliness Test

    Jul 30 2019

    Every church thinks they’re a guest friendly church. But as we discuss today, guest friendliness is not something at which every church excels. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Church signs need info on them, but there are really just three essentials: church name, worship times, website address. If your church has a digital sign, you have to consider the length of the rotation of information. Don’t think that “everyone knows ______” at your church bec...more

  • Six Reasons a Healthy Culture Is Imperative for Inviting Others to Church

    Jul 26 2019

    Church culture is important to the outreach of a church, and subsequently, how much members will invite others. Today we discuss how inviting can create and improve the church culture. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Church culture is important because it is to be a reflection of the gospel in a local church. If you provide invitation cards to church members, they are more likely to invite others to church than if they don’t have something to hand to others. Having a h...more

  • Six Ways Toxic Members Deter Invitations to Church

    Jul 23 2019

    When toxic members are present in a church, resources are spent on overcoming the fallout of toxic members. As a result, members are less likely to invite others to church. Today, we explain six reasons why. Some highlights from today’s episode include: Personal invitations to church are a great beginning point to get your church moving toward an outward focus. New members and guests are often seen as threats to church bullies and toxic members because they can potentially upset the balan...more

  • Why the Pendulum on Church Metrics May Be Swinging Too Far

    Jul 19 2019

    There is a pendulum swing in church leadership circles as it relates to the viewpoint of church metrics. Numbers and tracking numbers aren’t inherently bad, but they can be abused. Today, we discuss this swing and the negative sentiments often associated with it. Some highlights from today’s episode include: If numbers are all you care about at your church, you may end up compromising on principles to get the numbers up. What you measure in a church becomes important to the church. ...more