Pastor to Pastor Interview

Karl Vaters believes your church can be healthy regardless of its size. This 30-year ministry veteran pastors Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, Calif., and has emerged as a champion of the small church through his book The Grasshopper Myth and the blog Pivot hosted by Christianity Today.

But that rosy outlook on small-church life was years in the making. It was born from a near-burnout experience when his congregation “grew” from 400 to well below 100 in just nine months. That’s when Karl said out loud the words that shocked his staff and surprised himself: “We’ve got to stop thinking like a big church.”

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Guest Post by Stan Toler

Many churches refuse to consider potential pastors who are in their 50s and 60s, and I believe that’s a great mistake. Sixty is the new 40, and “senior” pastors have more to contribute now than ever.

Age discrimination is indeed a factor in the hiring of pastors and staff members. Thom Rainer has concluded that it is “pervasive” in the church and has been for some two decades.

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Nearly every day someone tweets something idiotic. Recently, apparently in the middle of the night, the President tweeted an indecipherable message that included the combination of letters “convefe.” He’s been mocked for it mercilessly.

A day or two later, comedian Kathy Griffin, well known for her comedic insults of celebrities, posed for photographs holding what appeared to be a bloody mask resembling Donald Trump. When the photos leaked, she was soundly denounced by the Trumps themselves, their supporters, and even by her own fans and friends. Denunciation of the action was justified, no doubt, but that quickly turned to insult, mockery, and a festival of public shaming.

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Pastor to Pastor Interview

Zach Szmara has been pastor at The Bridge Community Church in Logansport, Ind., since 2012. During that time, a tiny, dying, monocultural church in a declining community has been transformed into a growing, multicultural, multilingual congregation that is a cultural center of its city and the hub of the largest Protestant-church-based network of legal aid for undocumented aliens trying to normalize their immigration status.

Pastor Zach Szmra

But this story of remarkable success followed a hard landing after serving on the mission field that left Zach and his wife, Lyndy, emotionally broken, their marriage hanging by a thread.

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James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church and a prolific writer on church and culture. His latest book, Meet Generation Z, profiles the largest demographic cohort in North America today.

In a webinar hosted by Wesleyan Investment Foundation on April 25, White talked about the unique characteristics of this up-and-coming generation and what churches must do to reach them.

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Preaching has been the central element in most Protestant worship services for over 500 years. It’s the main thing pastors do, in terms of time consumption. Yet remarkably few pastors have a strong sense of identity as a preacher.

Pastor

Not every pastor approaches the task of preaching in the same way. There are at least four distinct approaches to the pulpit.

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