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About Karl Vaters
Hi, I’m Karl and I’m a small church pastor.
I love helping small churches thrive by writing books, speaking at conferences and creating other resources at KarlVaters.com. Lately, this has included S.P.A.R.K. Online (Small-Church Pastors Adapt & Recover Kit), which is updated regularly with new resources to help small churches deal with issues related to the COVID-19 crisis and aftermath.
My heart is to help pastors of small churches (up to 90 percent of us) find the resources to lead well, and to capitalize on the unique advantages that come with pastoring a small church – something virtually every pastor will spend at least some of their ministry years doing. I also believe that big and small churches can and should work together more often, to the benefit and blessing of everyone.
I've been in pastoral ministry for over 40 years. Currently, I'm the teaching pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a healthy small church in Orange County, California, where I've served since 1992 with my wife, Shelley.
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Titles By Karl Vaters
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
A 100-Day Plan That’s Practical, Realistic, and Actually Works
You see the problems in your church, and you truly believe it could be better. Not perfect, but healthier. If you want more for your church but aren’t quite sure how to get there, 100 Days to a Healthier Church was written for you. It teaches you how to:
- Identify your church’s current level of health using the "Church Health Continuum"
- Make big changes through small nudges rather than giant leaps
- Grow your strengths and tackle your weaknesses one at a time
After years of trial and error, pastor and author Karl Vaters developed a tested and proven 15-week process that’s manageable, adaptable, and effective. It won’t fix everything overnight, but it will help you figure out what to do next. Great for individual pastors, perfect for church leadership teams!
What if that’s not a bad thing? What if smallness is an advantage God wants us to use, not a problem to fix?
(This title is also available in high-quality paperback, exclusively at NewSmallChurch.com)
In The Grasshopper Myth, Karl Vaters takes on some of the unbiblical beliefs we’ve held about church growth, church size and God’s will for the last several decades. Then he offers a game plan for a New Small Church.
The title comes from the story in Numbers 13. When the Hebrews were at the edge of the Promised Land, ten of the twelve spies come back with this report: "All the people we saw there are of great size. …We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." – Numbers 13:32-33
The grasshopper myth is the false impression that our Small Church ministry is less than what God says it is because we compare ourselves with others.
The solution is for Small Churches to see themselves the way God sees them. A church of innovation, not stagnation. A church that leads instead of following. A church that thinks small, but never engages in small thinking.
If big churches are the cruise ships on the church ocean, small churches can be the speedboats. They can move faster, maneuver more deftly, squeeze into tighter spaces and have a ton of fun doing it. They just have to see themselves that way.
People are talking about The Grasshopper Myth:
“… so necessary, so solid and so real. This book has been researched, it has been lived and it expresses a heart touched by God. Every pastor should read The Grasshopper Myth and be encouraged.” – Dr. Jim Masteller, CEO of CIFT (Center for Individual & Family Therapy)
“One of the best books I’ve read in several years. This book spoke to me clearly as a small church pastor. It was also very liberating. Too often we live under a cloud of self doubt and self-inflicted pressure to constantly have to do more and get bigger. Karl has used Biblical truth to debunk these culturally caused ideas and set me free to be the pastor God has called me to be. I highly recommend this book to every small church pastor.” – Brian Fitch, Lead Pastor, Florence Church of the Nazarene, Florence Oregon
“An outstanding job on a topic that needs to be addressed. This book will prove to be an encouragement to many. This is a call to use smallness as an advantage rather than an excuse. This book could change how you view yourself and your church.” – Frank Wooden, Lead Pastor. San Diego Hope Church, Multi-site church planter
If you read this book (make that when you read it, cuz if you’ve come this far you’re hooked, right?) you’ll find your presuppositions challenged, your heart encouraged and your life and ministry transformed.
Let’s rediscover a New Small Church.
Karl Vaters has been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years, and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, a healthy, innovative small church in Fountain Valley California, for the past 20 years.
Karl Vaters blogs at NewSmallChurch.com.
What’s Next for Your Church?
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, church leaders are facing challenges they’ve never encountered. As you scramble to adapt to this fast-changing situation, you must also begin thinking through the months ahead to consider: how will my church recover?
The Church Recovery Guide outlines the practical steps you can take to help your church not only survive but also thrive in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis. Pastor Karl Vaters offers insights from his extensive experience in church ministry to help you think through:
- Reconnecting with your congregation
- Dealing with the financial repercussions
- Encouraging and supporting your staff
- Clearly communicating a fresh vision for the future
- Reworking your church’s technology and online strategy
- Ministering to people feeling isolated and fearful
The Church Recovery Guide will provide the direction you need to help your church bounce back to full health and chart a path forward to even greater vitality.
El mito de la saltamontes considera muchas de las opiniones antibíblicas que tenemos sobre el crecimiento de la iglesia, el tamaño de las iglesias, y el éxito en el ministerio. Y ofrece excelentes alternativas. En realidad, es el descubrimiento de nueva esperanza y pasión para la iglesia pequeña, y una innovadora chispa del Espíritu Santo.
Si lee este libro (digamos, cuando lo lea, porque ¿verdad que ya está interesado en leerlo?) será desafiado en lo que supone, su corazón será animado, y su vida y ministerio serán transformados. Todo esto me pasó a mí. Por eso escribí esto para usted.
Iglesia Cornerstone, Fountain Valley, California