Ten Frequently Asked Questions I Get From Church Leaders

In the course of a week, I get a number of questions from church leaders. Many of them still remember me from my days of church consulting. Others have read books I’ve written, particularly those that addressed issues in the local church. Still others recognize my position as the president of the largest Christian resource company in the world.

The questions come to me on this blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, and by email. I try my best to get to all of them, but I find myself falling short too often. As a possible remedy to the problem of time constraints, I will attempt to answer as many questions as possible as I write on this blog.

Here are my top ten questions for now. Feel free to let me know which of them you would like addressed. Also, feel free to add to the list or just to make comments.

  1. How do I lead a traditional church? I prefer to call such churches “established churches.” This question is the most frequent, and one of great concern since the vast majority of churches fit this description.
  2. What do I do if I’m interested in moving our church to multi-venue? That is a very frequent question as more and more churches move to this model.
  3. How do I establish a discipleship process in my church? Can you recommend any resources? I just got one email and three tweets on this matter today.
  4. What is a good assimilation process? What resources do you recommend? Often I have to ask follow-up questions here because many leaders use assimilation and discipleship interchangeably.
  5. How do I respond to an unfriendly church start? I’ve been surprised at the number of questions I’ve gotten on this issue lately. Someone in the church starts a new church and takes members from the church without the blessing or permission of that church.
  6. How do I get a position in a church? This one would move to number one if I counted the requests to recommend someone to a church.
  7. How do I implement the simple church process in my church? I am grateful that Simple Church by Eric Geiger and me was so well received. Now many leaders want specific implementation instructions.
  8. How do I balance expectations of members versus what I can really accomplish? Pastors and staff struggle with the growing expectations of their roles.
  9. When should I add a service or new venue? These inquirers want to know if the move is triggered by growth and capacity or by other factors.
  10. What does our church need to do to attract Millennials? This question often comes after a church leader has read Millennials by Jess Rainer and me.

Which of these questions would you like me to explore more deeply? What other questions would you add to my list? What is your perspective on the questions already asked of me?


  1. Steve Drake says

    I agree with Randy that all these questions are or will be of interest to most pastors at some point in their ministry. I’d like to explore each of them.

  2. Thom Rainer says

    Good input. I’ll wait a day to see what other comments say. I’ll then probably take two of them for my blog on Saturday. Thanks for your help. Others: feel free to contribute.

  3. says

    #4 caught my attention the most but like Randy said initially, this would be an excellent series. As far as assimilation I’m thinking more in line with creating a process that helps guests become members and how to get my church to realize the importance of follow-up/relationships outside of a handshake on Sunday morning!

  4. says

    I agree with the others that have stated they would like to see all the questions addressed. I would like to hear more on #1, focusing on leading those churches that have plateaued or are declining.

  5. Lee Cooper says

    I agree that we all will face most of these questions at some point or another in our ministries. I do see a general theme in many of the mentioned questions that could possibly be answered by a new question.
    “How do we reach a post-christian culture by using the pre-christian examples found in the NT?”

  6. Gary Sanders says

    I would like to hear more on number 1. As Todd said focusing on the churches that have plateaued. Or a one church member put it, how do we get out of the rut?

  7. Thom Rainer says

    Since I’ve addressed many of these issues in earlier blogs, I will write on #5, unfriendly church starts, in my blog on Saturday. Thanks for your great input!

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