Small Congregations: Having a Healthy Mindset

Small Congregations: Having a Healthy Mindset

Small Congregations: Having a Healthy Mindset

These resources are recommended by Center for Congregations workshop presenter Karl Vaters, founder of Vaters facilitated this workshop in April 2017. For more resources, contact the Center at 866-307-2381 or check out the Congregational Resource Guide at


Keady, Jeff and Jonny Craig. 200 Churches. Podcast audio. Accessed March 20, 2017.
This weekly podcast is for churches with attendance “around 200, give or take 200.” Hosts Jeff Keady and Jonny Craig from Orange City, Iowa, take on all kinds of small church topics, with great guests and a sense of humor.

Powell, Jim. Dirt Matters: The Foundation for a Healthy, Vibrant, and Effective Congregation. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press, 2013.
Trying to keep a church healthy, or turn an unhealthy one into a healthy one, is a daunting task in the best of situations. It’s even harder if the culture of the church – the dirt in which it’s planted – is toxic. Using illustrations from his days on a farm and his decades in pastoral ministry, Jim Powell helps pastors assess the health of their church’s ‘dirt’, then gives practical step to help it get and stay healthy.

Small Church Pastor Facebook group (monitored by Dave Jacobs). Accessed March 20, 2017.
This is a great place for conversation, encouragement and resources for pastors of smaller congregations from a variety of denominational backgrounds. The site is monitored closely so that it doesn’t devolve into theological arguments or debates, just encouragement and help.

Vaters, Karl. “” Accessed March 20, 2017.
This is the internet home of Karl Vaters. On this website, you can subscribe to Karl’s blog (posted three times a week), buy The Grasshopper Myth at better prices than Amazon, follow Karl’s Small Church conference schedule and more.

Vaters, Karl. Small Church Essentials. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, March 2018.
Small Church Essentials is a book about small churches, for small churches, by a small church pastor of more than 30 years. In it, Karl Vaters describes many of the differences between small churches and big churches, then he organizes and presents some of the more foundational and universal small church tools and principles. By recognizing these differences and utilizing the right tools for their size, small church pastors will be better able to lead congregations into more effective ministry.

Vaters, Karl. The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking that Divides Us. Fountain Valley, CA: New Small Church, 2012.
According to the author, “This is the book I wish someone else had written for me when I started out in ministry. I’d have also gone back to it for help during the times I’ve struggled in ministry.” The Grasshopper Myth challenges some of the presuppositions many have held about congregation growth, size and success. It offers real-life examples of the struggles that are unique to small congregations and their leaders, and it offers practical suggestions from many sources, including Karl’s 30+ years of pastoral ministry. It includes a 12-page discussion guide, making it perfect for book clubs, church staffs/boards, classrooms and more.