Thom Rainer / Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also a former pastor, seminary dean, and leader of a church and denominational consulting firm. Rainer is the author or co-author of 24 books, including his new release, “Autopsy of a Deceased Church + 12 Ways to Keep Yours Alive.”
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7 Reasons churches are too busy

If local churches were humans, most of them would experience burnout. Many congregations are too busy to be effective. Many feature a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated activities. As a consequence, there is no clear plan or process of discipleship in these congregations. Members are often confused about what they should ...
August 27, 2015   Thom Rainer

8 Reasons some full-time pastors and staff should go bivocational

Some of you reading this post may need to get a new job. Or, at least you may need to get an additional job. Without a doubt, many churches will always need full-time vocational pastors and staff members. I am not suggesting all of you, or even the majority of you, ...
August 13, 2015   Thom Rainer

10 Troubling statements from church leaders and members

If you want your church to move toward a slow yet certain death, make certain your church leadership and membership affirms most of these 10 statements. They are troubling statements. Indeed, they are proclamations that virtually assure your church’s decline and probable demise. All too common What is troubling is ...
July 30, 2015   Thom Rainer

5 Reasons Millennials don't want to pastor established churches

Not all Millennials are averse to serving as pastors or leadership roles in established churches. However, many of them are. Our churches are approaching a tipping point where many are unable to attract Millennial members or leaders. This situation will likely soon be a crisis, which is why pastors and ...
July 16, 2015   Thom Rainer

Top 10 attitudes of healthy, long-term pastors

In my last blog in this space, I shared the leading habits of pastors who enjoy long-term tenure and mostly joyous ministries at the same church. Another key insight I learned from these pastors is how they think. My previous article dealt mostly with their actions. This post refers to ...
June 30, 2015   Thom Rainer

Ten traits of pastors who have healthy, long-term tenures

Imagine what might take place if pastors consistently stayed at churches for 10 or more years. Imagine that their tenure was largely healthy. Imagine what would happen in our congregations through increased stability. Presently, the median tenure of the average pastor at a church is around four years. Simply stated, ...
June 18, 2015   Thom Rainer

8 Things pastors do when their churches are in a slump

The meaning of “slump” is more evident in sports. For example, when a baseball player enters a summer slump, we surmise that he is not hitting as well as he was earlier in the spring. However, for churches, there is no clear-cut definition. Indeed, some leaders wonder if it is ...
June 04, 2015   Thom Rainer

5 Incredible steps to closing the back door in your congregation

If you want to close the back door in your church, read these five incredible steps. By “closing the back door,” I am referring to assimilating newcomers and keeping those who have become a part of the church involved. The sad reality is that many churches have less than one-half ...
May 21, 2015   Thom Rainer

7 Traits of pastors who lead breakout churches

If you want to experience an “aha” moment about revitalizing churches, this research may be the near the top. Most of you have heard the dire information and statistics about congregations in North America. Indeed, I have been among the purveyors of this kind of negative news. For sure, the ...
May 07, 2015   Thom Rainer

7 Ways to lead unleadable people

After less than four years in his church, the pastor’s frustration bubbled over in a brief, but pointed e-mail. “I am so frustrated, I am ready to leave this church and the pastorate altogether,” he said. “The church members are unleadable.” Although I didn’t think I could find “unleadable” in ...
April 23, 2015   Thom Rainer

Seven reasons why most church outreach programs fail

In my last blog in this space, I addressed the seven habits of outwardly focused churches. This time, I want to look at a related topic: why most church outreach programs fail. One of my passions in life is to help churches move from becoming inwardly focused to outwardly focused. ...
April 09, 2015   Thom Rainer

Seven habits of outwardly-focused churches

It was not a dramatic moment in time, but subtle—almost subtle to be noticed. The trend became evident first in mainline churches, with evangelicals following a few years later. The slow erosion became glaringly apparent after several years. The change of which I speak is the movement away from outwardly-focused ...
March 26, 2015   Thom Rainer

Millennials and the demise of print

As the president of an organization that has huge investments in both print and digital assets, I watch the trends related to the two closely. Current discussions focus on a few basic issues. Digital communication is pervasive and growing. Any metric will affirm that reality. Print as a form of ...
March 12, 2015   Thom Rainer

Six keys to success after building

I find great joy in hearing the stories of churches that had successful building programs. By “successful” I do not mean just the church adequately funded and completed the project. I’m talking about what happens afterwards. I mean that the church continues to have a momentum in ministry, outward focus, ...
February 26, 2015   Thom Rainer

Ten fears of church leaders

I have not hidden my love for pastors and other church leaders. I have said and written on many occasions that they often have a very difficult work. I recently told a large gathering of seminary students to consider seriously their calling, because no one should enter the ministry unless ...
February 12, 2015   Thom Rainer

Seven habits of highly effective preachers

I sometimes listen to preachers with amazement, if not awe. So many of them are incredibly effective in communicating God’s Word, so much more effective than I ever was or will be. I certainly understand that assessing effectiveness is a very subjective assignment. However, put simply, a number of preachers ...
January 29, 2015   Thom Rainer

Ten areas where pastors need training for the 21st century

Any pastor or other church staff member should be prepared in biblical truths, as well as theology. Indeed, you shouldn’t forsake any of the classical disciplines. Nor any of the practical disciplines, such as missions, evangelism, or church planting. Still, American culture has shifted dramatically in a relatively short period ...
January 15, 2015   Thom Rainer

Ten dangers of denial in a declining church

When it comes to churches, the word “declining” can have different connotations. We often think of numerical decline, but the meaning is much broader. It can mean declining influence in the community, decline in effective preaching, or decline in evangelistic impact. The list could continue. Still, most of the time ...
December 30, 2014   Thom Rainer

Eight implications of aging boomer pastors and church staff

On January 1, 2011, the first baby boomers turned 65. On that day, 10,000 boomers reached that milestone. In fact, 10,000 boomers are turning 65 every day, and will continue to do so for a total of 19 consecutive years. The implications are staggering for our nation, our economy, and ...
December 18, 2014   Thom Rainer

Eleven of the most common mistakes churches make

On my travels this year I visited a pastor in Arkansas who reads my blogs faithfully. He expressed gratitude for all the free content, but followed up with a kind plea: could I write some posts that summarize some of the issues I have covered in multiple articles? When I ...
December 04, 2014   Thom Rainer

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