About a year ago I met Sam Rainer at a Discipleship Pastors retreat. He is a pastor, author, and President / Sr. Consultant with Church Answers. His books include "Obstacles in the Established Church" and "Church Revitalization Checklist."
I was intrigued by his focus on the leadership and management of established churches. So, I began listening in and then we started sponsoring the podcast he does with Josh King called EST.church.
He didn't ask me to do this, but if you're a leader in an established church (most of you are), click here to subscribe to EST.church. Here is a little background based on some questions I recently asked him:
Boyd: What did you see missing in the landscape that led you guys to start EST.church?
Sam: We started EST.church several years ago because most podcasts at the time were focused on church planting, larger churches, or theology. There was not much out there concerning practical church leadership in everyday churches. 92% of churches are 250 in attendance or less. We produce a 30 minute, weekly episode to help these churches.
Boyd: What makes your podcast approach so unique and relatable?
Sam: Josh and I produce the show as if two pastors sat down together for coffee and started talking about what was on their minds. This approach keeps the show fresh. You never know where the conversation may go!
Boyd: What episodes would give people a good feel for the show?
Sam: The two episodes in the last year with the most listens were "Being a Good Dad While Being a Good Pastor (#278)" and "When You Have a Mid-Life Crisis as a Pastor (#280)". Both would be good starting points for getting into the show.
Boyd: From your experience and conversations with established church pastors, what is keeping them up at night these days?
Sam: Unfortunately, most churches are in decline right now. Others are stagnant. The pastors we encounter are doing everything they can to reverse this trend. The biggest problem in churches today is a lack of evangelism among congregants. But I remain an eternal optimist. I believe a movement of healthy established churches is on the horizon. It's what keeps us producing the EST.church podcast.
Boyd: So, what is your recommendation for addressing this lack of evangelism?
Sam: The best general recommendation I can make for pastors is to live what you preach. Evangelistic churches have evangelistic pastors. If you want the people of your congregation to share their faith, then you must lead by example. Evangelism will never die in your church if you are doing it. God often uses the obedience of one person to make major changes, not just in local churches but in entire communities.
In our conversations and the EST.church podcast, Sam and Josh have made me aware that a new wind is blowing as their generation of millenial pastors are being called to lead established churches. Many if not most of these are stagnant or declining.
This calls for new thinking and leadership around evangelism. In 2021, I wrote this blog post on Marketing technolgy and the stages of evangelism to introduce our perspective as a church software company.
As digital natives, millenials are ready for technology to help them lead. As a company, Churchteams is dedicated to providing these tools. Join me for the newly designed Meet The Software Zoom webinar to get a fresh perspective.