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 consulting firm. Rainer is the author or co-author of 24 books, including his most recent release, “I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian.” His 2013 book, “I Am a Church Member,” recently passed the one million mark in sales.
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5 reasons church announcements cause problems

If your church has never experienced problems with church announcements, there is no need for you to read the rest of this post. However, if your church is like the 95 percent of congregations that do struggle with announcements, please continue reading. To be clear, I am speaking of verbal ...
May 19, 2016   Thom Rainer

6 reasons your church's offerings may be struggling

Even though no longer serving in the pastorate, I still communicate regularly with numerous pastors. A leading concern expressed to me in recent times regards finances. I have heard such statements as: “I don’t understand why our offerings are down. Attendance is not down.” "It’s a bit scary. If we ...
May 05, 2016   Thom Rainer

10 Commandments for pastors regarding politics and social media

There are few topics that evoke as much emotion as politics. The intensity of emotions is particularly evident during presidential election years. This year, as both parties continue a high-stakes, drawn-out battle to decide their nominee, the heat is rising. Pastors and church staff are not oblivious to these political ...
April 21, 2016   Thom Rainer

The 10 Commandments for church parking lots

This story is many years old, but its impact still lives with me today. One Sunday morning, I was walking outside the worship center and greeting people as they came into the church I served as pastor. I saw a car moving slowly in the parking lot. The driver obviously ...
April 07, 2016   Thom Rainer

7 reasons monthly church business meetings are dying

It is almost an unspoken phenomenon in church life. Three decades ago, over nine of 10 churches with a congregational government had a monthly business meeting. Several non-congregational churches had monthly business meetings as well. Today, less than one-third of American Protestant churches have these monthly meetings. That is an ...
March 22, 2016   Thom Rainer

7 reasons your church should have a ministry to widows

This verse in Scripture cannot be more compelling or clearer: “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Scholars have produced massive volumes on the biblical mandate to ...
March 10, 2016   Thom Rainer

The leading common factor of effective church leaders

Just one thing. Is it possible to find one common factor in the lives and ministries of the most effective church leaders? I think so. Hear me well—effective church leaders have many recurring and common traits. I am not suggesting this factor is the only one. However, it does seem ...
February 25, 2016   Thom Rainer

Six early warning signs of church dropouts

If everyone who had dropped out of our congregations in the past decade returned, the typical church would triple in worship attendance. Read that previous sentence carefully. One of the most significant reasons for stagnating and declining attendance is church dropouts. The most challenging problem is that church dropouts rarely ...
February 11, 2016   Thom Rainer

7 traits of churches with increasing per-member giving

One of the key metrics of financial giving in a church is per-member donations. The important question for congregations to consider is—what is the average giving by each member (or attendee)? Since overall weekly giving is often masked by fluctuations in attendance and membership, the most effective measure is to ...
January 28, 2016   Thom Rainer

Two major, under-the-radar changes in American churches

I never would have predicted these changes would take place so rapidly. Indeed, I am surprised to be writing about them today as major changes. Still, they are a growing reality. These two major changes have a similar theme: decentralization. The first is a decentralization of facilities. The second is ...
January 14, 2016   Thom Rainer

Trends in American churches in 2016

I have been writing on trends in churches for two decades. I certainly don’t have a perfect record, but overall it’s pretty good. My methodology is simple: I observe emerging issues in some churches and extrapolate them into major trends. I am taking this approach with a higher level of ...
December 29, 2015   Thom Rainer

Nine stupid things I did as a pastor

If you want to read the tale of a pastor who really did some dumb things, keep reading. I served as pastor of four churches. It was only by the grace of God and the graciousness of the congregations that I was called and allowed to stay at those churches. ...
December 17, 2015   Thom Rainer

7 reasons some members don't want their church to grow

It is highly unusual to hear church members say that they don’t desire their churches to be obedient to the Great Commission. Indeed, it is common for the members of a pastor search committee to tell a prospective pastor that they are looking for a leader who will guide the ...
December 03, 2015   Thom Rainer

9 ways to deal with church bullies

Second of two parts In my last post in this space, I dealt with the traits of church bullies. In this blog, I will move from descriptive to prescriptive. How do we deal with church bullies? What can we do to prevent such bullying? Here are nine of my suggestions ...
November 19, 2015   Thom Rainer

Nine traits of church bullies

First of two parts Church bullies are common in many congregations. Wreaking havoc, stirring up trouble and creating dissension, bullies typically must have an “enemy.” They aren’t happy unless they are fighting a battle. Typically, they tend to maneuver to get an official leadership position in the church, such as ...
November 05, 2015   Thom Rainer

7 distinguishing habits of highly effective pastors

Determining the effectiveness of a pastor is a highly subjective exercise. While certain metrics may prove helpful, they do not tell the whole story. In that context, I reviewed my 40 years of serving churches in a variety of capacities. Then, in noting the very effective pastors I knew quite ...
October 22, 2015   Thom Rainer

Three most important questions to ask when starting small groups

As I’ve written in the past, the best way to grow your small groups (or Sunday school) ministry is to start new classes. That in itself requires a great amount of leadership, communication and vision. You have to recruit volunteers, train leaders, establish on-ramps and move new people into new groups ...
October 08, 2015   Thom Rainer

7 things to consider if your spouse is not supportive of your ministry

In recent months, I had two conversations where persons serving on a church staff were struggling with their spouses’ lack of support. One was a pastor whose wife felt worn out from the constant stream of criticisms directed at her husband and her family. She was pushing her husband to ...
September 24, 2015   Thom Rainer

Is it time to rethink the church business meeting?

It is unwise to assume all churches do things the same way. I certainly know that the readership of this blog includes leaders from tens of thousands of different churches. Even within the same denomination, there are countless different approaches to church practices. Such is certainly the case with church ...
September 10, 2015   Thom Rainer

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

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