Today and tomorrow I will be taking a look back at 2013 and the top posts from the year here at ThomRainer.com. It has been an incredible year here on the blog, and I owe that to you, the readers. Without further ado, here is the first half of the top 13 in ’13. (Read part two here.)
13. Ten Commandments for Guest-Friendly Church Members — March 30
I travel a lot and spend a lot of time in different churches. I have had a church consulting firm that did “guest” visits as part of our services. Sadly, many times I do not feel welcome as a guest when I visit churches.
12. Seven Reasons Why Church Worship Centers Will Get Smaller — December 9
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 most of their predecessors have in previous years.
I was serving a church in St. Petersburg, Florida, when it hit me hard. One of my young children had playfully fallen on the floor in the foyer after a worship service. A deacon in the church came up to me and spoke forcefully: “You need to tell your kid to get up. Pastors’ children aren’t supposed to act that way.”
10. Five Things Church Members Want in a Church Bulletin — April 8
There are differences of opinion and a variety of ideas about what should be in the church bulletin, so I conducted an informal survey among church members. I asked one simple and open-ended question: “What do you want in a church bulletin?” The respondents could give as many answers as they liked. There was much agreement on the first four items. Beyond the top four was considerably fragmented opinions.
Stated simply, the number one reason for the decline in church attendance is that members attend with less frequency than they did just a few years ago. Allow me to explain. If the frequency of attendance changes, then attendance will respond accordingly. For example, if 200 members attend every week the average attendance is, obviously, 200. But if one-half of those members miss only one out of four weeks, the attendance drops to 175.
8. Seven of the Greatest Stressors on Pastors — December 16
Most pastors love their calling. Most pastors could not imagine doing anything else. Most pastors have joy in their ministries. I want to be clear that I don’t view pastors as a depressed, melancholy, and forlorn lot. Most pastors would not come close to fitting that description. But every pastor has points of stress. Indeed everyone has points of stress, including leaders of churches, organizations, and families. Pastors are not immune from stressors in life and ministry.
7. Ten Things Church Members Desire in a Pastor — January 14
I recently asked a few hundred laypersons to write down what they desired of a pastor. Their responses were open-ended, and there was no limitation on the number of items they could list. Though my approach was not scientific, these laypersons did represent over sixty churches.