About Thom S. Rainer

Thom S. Rainer is president of LifeWay Christian Resources. This column first appeared at ThomRainer.com.

Autopsy of a Burned Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

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Exhausted

Perhaps the autopsy metaphor is not the best choice. After all, the person is not deceased. But the pastor who is burned out feels like life is draining out. Unfortunately, I have spoken with too many pastors for whom burnout is a reality or a near reality. What lessons can we learn from those pastors […]


Autopsy of a Deceased Church: 11 Signs of Doom

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Autopsy of a Deceased Church

I was their church consultant in 2003. The church’s peak attendance was 750 in 1975. By the time I got there the attendance had fallen to an average of 83. The large sanctuary seemed to swallow the relatively small crowd on Sunday morning. The reality was that most of the members did not want me […]


The Aftermath of a Church Building Program: Six Keys to Success

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Clearview Church

I find great joy in hearing the stories of churches that had successful building programs. By “successful” I do not mean just the adequate funding and completion of the project. I mean that the church continues to have a momentum in ministry, outward focus, and internal unity. Unfortunately, a number of churches complete a building […]


Seven Reasons Why Church Worship Centers Will Get Smaller

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Small Church

A seismic shift is taking place in American church facilities, a shift that will become even more noticeable in the years to come. Church worship centers or sanctuaries will become smaller than they were the past 40 years. As church leaders decide to build, a large number of them will decide to build smaller than […]


Four Steps Forward for the Very Sick Church

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Sickness

In my previous post, I addressed the issue of very sick churches, noting that as many as 40 percent of the American congregations fall in that category. Several readers commented that they would like me to write about possible solutions to the problem. I love to be a dispenser of hope. But I refuse to […]


Seven Habits of Highly Effective Church Staff Meetings

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Staff Meetings

I confess. I used to hate meetings. In fact I was very vocal about meetings being a waste of time. In most meetings I attended, I daydreamed about a dozen other ways I could be spending my time more productively. Over time I would discover the problem was not the meeting per se, but the […]


7 Deadly Thoughts of Leaders

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Deadly Warning

By the time we hear of a leadership failure, any attempts at intervention to save the leader are usually futile. The damage has been done. The family or organization suffers as their leader has fallen or, at the very least, made a major mistake. Most great leadership failures, however, don’t begin with some stupid action. […]


7 Reasons Your Church Needs to Go On a Diet

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Fruit Smoothie Diet

Most churches—more than eight out of ten—are busy. Too busy. These churches need to slim down their plethora of programs, activities, and ministries. They need to go a busyness diet. Unfortunately, many church leaders equate activities with godliness or ministry fruitfulness. For certain, churches must have some clear plan of discipleship for their members. Sadly, some of the busiest […]


Seven Things in the Church That Will Not Change

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Pillars

I love following church trends. I have been researching and consulting with churches for over thirty years. It’s just what I do. Sometimes I am pretty good about projecting current trends toward a future reality. Of course, I’ve had my share of misses as well. Still, I thoroughly enjoy every facet about studying local churches. […]


Three Changing Trends in American Churches

By

Stats

I am a trend watcher, particularly among churches in America. I am not particularly insightful or smart; I simply listen and speak to many churches. In fact, through my travels, blog, and other social media, I hear from thousands of church leaders every week. The three trends I’ve recently noticed are not new. What is […]


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