1. Growth Points 49: Five Steps toward Great Victory in Ministry

    April 1, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    Leading in ministry in any way—whether it be teaching a Sunday school class, leading a bus route, serving in missions, or pastoring—has many challenges, There are always ups and downs along the journey.

    But through it all—excitement, trials, or testing—God can give great spiritual victories. In fact, He did this for our church this Sunday as our church family gave with hearts of faith in a great way towards a new building on our campus.

    In this Growth Points video—recorded the day before our special offering—I share five steps that contribute toward great victories in ministry:

    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.

  2. Why I Preach about Finances

    March 27, 2014 by Paul Chappell


    As a new pastor, I had one very good reason to preach about finances—the church had no money!

    But I had an even more compelling reason not to preach about finances: I didn’t want to offend our few members!

    Pastors probably know the jokes and one-liners about preachers who only preach about money and churches who are always wanting more money better than anybody. No pastor in his right mind is eager to stir the discomfort of the church family and risk hard feelings.

    So, in my early years of ministry, I was hesitant to preach about tithing and giving. I preached passionately about seeking the Lord, being filled with the Spirit, growing in the Christian life, witnessing for Christ…but I hated to preach about giving.

    I’m long past that fear.

    Now, I consider it a sin of omission to not preach about giving. (more…)

  3. 20 Lessons from Megachurch Life

    March 21, 2014 by Paul Chappell


    This year marks my twentieth year to pastor what researchers call a megachurch—a church averaging over two thousand people in weekly attendance.

    Statistics on pastoral tenure in churches suggest that for a pastor to remain twenty-eight years in the ministry, let alone in one church, is unusual—especially when twenty of those years are overflowing with the needs of a large congregation.

    As I recently realized that this is my twentieth year to pastor a “megachurch,” I jotted down twenty lessons God has taught (and still is teaching me) through these years.

    So many of these lessons were learned through painful experience. Most of them I did not (and could not) learn in Bible college. Many of them would have been easier had older pastors shared them with me in advance.

    Each of these lessons end in the word anyway. Why? Because serving and leading people by faith is always an uphill, seemingly contradictory battle. Evidence and experience suggest it’s time to let up, to give in, or to wash out. But faith presses forward…anyway!

    So here they are—in no particular order—twenty lessons from megachurch life: (more…)

  4. Why Pastors Need Renewal

    March 14, 2014 by Paul Chappell


    The statistics for pastors aren’t good:

    • Fifty percent of pastors starting out will not last five years.
    • One out of every ten pastors will actually retire as a pastor in some form.
    • Over 1,700 pastors left the ministry every month last year.
    • Over 1,300 pastors were terminated by the local church each month, many without cause.
    • The average pastoral tenure is less than four years.
    • Pastors reach their most fruitful time around year six or seven.
    • Generally, the first twenty years of a pastor’s tenure is quite healthy, but it is very rare for a pastor to lead a church through a third decade and beyond with vitality and growth.
    • After two decades of change, a pastor gradually loses a sense of vision, while becoming adverse to risk and change.

    These statistics speak to the realities of stress, weariness, and emptiness that are part of serving people.

    But not every pastor falls by the wayside of statistics. So what is the difference between a pastor who becomes a statistic and a pastor who presses on through the struggles and completes his race still in the ministry? (more…)

  5. Growth Points 48: The Saviour Sensitive Church

    March 10, 2014 by Paul Chappell

    In a day when churches are bowing to the culture and the whims of this generation, we find—much like the “church of the Laodiceans” in Revelation 3—that Christ is outside the church rather than inside.

    Some years ago, an idea was pushed on pastors across America that we should market the church by finding out what kind of church people would like to have and then giving consumers their desire. It was called the “seeker-sensitive church.” The seeker-sensitive term isn’t used as much anymore, but the larger idea isn’t dead. People use different terms today, but their meaning is the same—it’s up to us to define and reinvent the church to please our generation.

    I’m a firm believer, however, that since Christ is the owner of the church and since He purchased it with His blood (Acts 20:28), it is my responsibility to please Him above people.

    In this growth points video, I share several principles for cultivating a Saviour-sensitive church in this generation:

    (If you cannot see this video in your RSS reader or email, you can watch it here.)

    Note: In the video, I mention the small book The Saviour-Sensitive Church. For more information or to order from Striving Together Publications, click here

    Make sure you get all future Growth Points videos by subscribing to the Spiritual Leadership Podcast.