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  • Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of under 250

Small Church Essentials: Field-Tested Principles for Leading a Healthy Congregation of under 250

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Format: Paperback
Your Price: $13.99

Product Description

Do you lead a small church? 

Big churches get all the love. Articles, books, conferences—they mostly feature leaders of large congregations. Yet big churches are a small part of the ecclesial landscape. In fact, more than 90 percent of churches have fewer than 200 people. That means small churches play a big part in what God is doing.

Small Church Essentials is for leaders of these smaller congregations. It encourages them to steward their role well, debunking myths about small churches while offering principles for leading a dynamic, healthy small church.

Based on the popular six-hour lecture that Karl Vaters delivers to church leaders across the country, Small Church Essentials will affirm small church leaders and show them how to identify what they do well, and how to do it even better. Readers will:

  • Be assured that leading a small congregation does not make them ministry failures
  • Come away inspired to lead with passion, regardless the size of their church
  • Have field-tested principles for leading a church in their context
  • Possess new metrics for biblically measuring vitality in small churches
  • Have a toolkit of resources to use in their everyday ministry

Karl Vaters has been a small church pastor for 30 years, is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches, and the Small Thinking that Divides Us (2013), and travels extensively to churches and conferences to speak about leading a small church well.

If you are pastoring a small church, this book will be a breath of fresh air. It will affirm your calling while giving you fresh tools to help you lead. It will help you:

  • Stop believing lies about small churches
  • Lead your church to fulfill the role only small churches can
  • Understand your congregation's strengths and weaknesses
  • Turn around a dying or unhealthy church
  • Identify good trends and bad in church and culture

About the Author

Karl Vaters
KARL VATERS has served in small-church ministry for over 40 years, so he speaks and writes from decades of hands-on pastoral experience. He is author of The Church Recovery Guide, 100 Days to a Healthier Church, Small Church Essentials, and The Grasshopper Myth. Karl also hosts a biweekly podcast, The Church Lobby: Conversations on Faith & Ministry. You can learn more about Karl at He and his wife, Shelley, have three children and two grandkids.


Praise for Small Church Essentials


Small churches seldom get the respect they deserve, or the resources they need. Karl Vaters put thirty years of effective ministry into this practical, winsome, and informed word of encouragement and challenge to the small church pastor. It is clear to me that a church does not have to be big to be great. But not many people can tell how to become great while being a small church. Karl does. He covers the aspects of leadership, ministries, and pastoral care in a way that will connect with and serve you well.


Ed Stetzer

Billy Graham Distinguished Chair, Wheaton College



Small Church Essentials was what I expected, i.e., a book filled with insight, ideas, and encouragement from someone who really understands the dynamics of a small church. I anticipate that this will be another hugely popular book by Karl.


Dave Jacobs

Small Church Pastor, Inc.



My first conversation with Karl about the power and potential of small churches blew my mind. Every conversation since has not only challenged me but inspired me and helped me to think outside the box. As a pastor and consultant, just the chapter on being a welcoming church and his G.I.F.T. Plan for a friendlier church is worth the price of the book. I highly recommend this to all pastors and church leaders.


Greg Atkinson

Author and founder of the First Impressions Conference



Karl Vaters gets it. He knows church size isn't necessarily an indicator of church health. Small churches can and do impact God's kingdom. In Small Church Essentials, Vaters provides insight and ideas for the pastoral majority—those leading smaller churches under 250 in attendance. 
Thom S. Rainer
President and CEO, LifeWay Christian Resources



Karl Vaters is a voice to and for small church pastors, and Small Church Essentials speaks their language. With keen insight and remarkable clarity, Karl both affirms and equips small church pastors. An absolute must read, whether you've been pastoring for months or decades.


Carl and Kalani Culley

Pastors of Lacamas Creek Church

Founders of Big Little Church Conference, Camas, WA



In today's "big equals better" world Karl Vaters's refreshing approach to small churches is an authentic game changer. With the deft skills of a surgeon and the heart of a shepherd Karl implores us to focus less on size and more on quality. Small Church Essentials will change your thinking about small churches. Even better, it will give you proven strategies, honed through decades of frontline pastoral ministry, to grow a healthy small church. I will be recommending this book to my clients and pastors of churches of all sizes.
John Finkelde
Founder, Grow a Healthy Church



Karl Vaters has once again given us practical advice and unique insights for the sake of the kingdom. His book is a must read for those who serve or worship in a small-church context.


Jim Powell

Lead Pastor at Richwoods Christian Church and Founding Direction of 95Network



Karl Vaters doesn't just love the small church—he loves the church and his desire to see God bless it comes through on every page. Small Church Essentials isn't a book you need to hunt through to find something you can use. Almost every page contains something that is immediately applicable. As a fellow small-church pastor desperately wanting to encourage and equip small church pastors, Karl has written a handbook I would recommend to not only the veteran small-church pastor but the young leader just starting out.

Chris Vitarelli

Pastor, author, creator of the Small Church BIG Deal Conference


Sitting down with this resource is like sitting down with an old friend, one you may not know you have, but desperately need. That's because when it comes to being a small-church pastor, Karl has lived it, denied it, dreamed it, tried it, succeeded at it, failed at it, tried it again, and written about it all. Karl has done his best to remove the stigma of being a small-church pastor, because it's OK to be one. There are a bunch of us in this world, and we need his transparency and his insight. So, grab a cup of coffee, a soda, or your beverage of choice and sit down across the table with Karl as he shares his experience while encouraging us all to fulfill our calling of building God's kingdom.

Scott and Deena Siddle
Small Church Pastors, LifeSpring Foursquare, Ridgecrest, CA

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Product Details

ISBN: 978-0-8024-1806-7
Publish Date: March 2018
Dimensions: 5.25 x 8
Format: Paperback