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Small Town Big Church Podcast

The Small Town Big Church Podcast is all about encouraging, equipping, and challenging pastors and church leaders in small, rural towns. This podcast exists to help church leaders embrace the truth that God desires to do BIG things in small places!
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Feb 28, 2022

In this final episode of the Small Town Big Church Podcast, I share my parting challenge to small town and rural church leaders.  I remind you of your strategic and vital calling to serve in relatively small places.  I challenge you to believe God for BIG things in small places.  I implore you to embrace change and not resist it as the church heads into a new and exciting future.  And finally, I sign off by thanking the many people who have had a part in this journey over the past eight years.

Feb 21, 2022

After years of being in and around pastoral ministry, after creating content for, connecting with, and coaching thousands of pastors around the country, I believe I have a really good pulse on the challenges facing pastors today.  In this episode I’m going to list three of the biggest problems I see pastors needing to contend with and then offer up the ways I’m trying to be a part of the solution.

Feb 14, 2022

In this episode I share a few lessons on life and leadership that we can glean from the changing seasons of nature.  I also share a huge announcement about the future of the Small Town Big Church podcast and my journey in life.

  • If you live in an area where you experience all 4 seasons in a year, this will make a lot of sense to you.
  • We recognize changing seasons when it comes to climate, but we’re often slow to recognize changing seasons of life.

 

  • Here a few lessons about seasons:
    • Seasons change and you have no control over them.
    • I need to know what season I’m in.
    • It’s smart to respond appropriately as the seasons change.
    • It’s not helpful to compare myself to people who are experiencing a different season.

 

  • Questions to consider:
    • What season am I in?
      • In life?
      • In ministry?
      • In family?
    • Am I responding appropriately to the season I’m in?

 

  • I want to end the show today by sharing an update and a big announcement regarding a changing season in my own life.
    • The season of the Small Town Big Church Podcast/platform is coming to a close.
    • Why?
      • As my journey continues on I have better clarity on how I can BEST be serving pastors in this season of my life.
      • There are many other great resources for the small town/rural church that did not exist a few years ago.  I feel good about that.
      • I am simplifying/focusing in order to be able to do more by doing less!
    • Where do we go from here?
      • I will have two more shows after this one.
      • I’m not going away, just moving to some new platforms and I’m inviting you to join me there.
Feb 8, 2022

In this episode I interview Pastor Danny Davis about his newest book, In Him You Are.  We talk about the importance of pastors having a clear understanding of their identity in Christ from which to do ministry.  You can learn more about Danny’s book at davisinafrica.com 

Feb 3, 2022

Pastor, how often do you preach?  Or maybe a better question is how often do you get a break from preaching?  Is it possible you’re preaching too often and too much?  If you pastor a small or rural church, there’s a good chance the answer to that question is, “YES!”  In this podcast episode I make a case for why it’s a good thing for you to get regular breaks from your preaching and offer up some ideas for getting those breaks.

 

  • If you’re preaching more than 42 weeks in a year, I would argue you’re preaching too much.

 

Before I tell you why I think you should preach less, first let me address those pastors who are already pushing back and resisting the concept.

 

What are some reasons pastors preach too much?

 

  • Immaturity/inexperience in preaching (you don’t know what you don’t know)
  • Pride/insecurity
  • Messiah complex (my people need me)
  • Lack of team to fill the pulpit (ultimately a leadership issue)
  • Lack of resources to invest in good pulpit supply

 

 

 

  • Here are some reasons I think it’s good for you to preach less often:
    • Regular breaks keeps you rested and fresh
    • Regular breaks allows you to have weeks where you can focus on other big ministry projects without having to write a sermon.
    • It’s good for your church to hear from different perspectives on a regular basis
    • It allows you time to focus on the bigger preaching calendar

 

  • Ideas to help you catch regular breaks in your preaching:
    • Video series
    • Guest speaker (from inside or outside the church)
    • Special events – do something fun and different on a Sunday morning that doesn’t include a sermon
Jan 26, 2022

Most pastors report feeling overwhelmed and stressed out much of the time.  They often find themselves running from one meeting to the next or reacting to multiple interruptions and distractions most days rather than making progress on the work they really need to be doing.  In this episode I share several practical resources for pastors who need to get a better handle on their schedules.

 

  • Talk about pastors “finding the time” to get things done.
  • We don’t find the time.  We manage our time.
  • We’ve all been given the same 24 hours a day.  Some people are simply better managers than others.
  • Recommendations:
    • Use a calendar
    • Use a commitment tracking system (close the open loops in your life)
    • Budget your time (time blocking)
    • Eliminate distractions (shut off notifications to certain apps, do not disturb mode, airplane mode, etc.)
    • Utilize a scheduling tool. (I recommend Calendly.)

 

  • Resources:
    • Redeeming Your Time – Jordan Raynor
    • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
    • Calendly
Jan 17, 2022

If there has ever been a time when leadership is needed in the rural church…it is NOW!  We are living in transformational times and so much is changing right in front of us. Yet sadly, at the same time, the Church in rural America is facing a crisis of leadership.  In this podcast I identify the source of this leadership crisis and offer a few practical solutions to it. 

 

  • Problems:
    • Bad church structure
    • Unbiblical expectations of church people
    • Pastors are “unable” or unwilling to LEAD

 

  • Solution:
    • It’s simply time to overhaul the system!
      • For some pastors that may mean “fighting” right where they’re at.
      • For other pastors that will mean you need to leave and start something new and healthy.
      • For many pastors this will mean boldly stepping into new ways of “doing church.”
    • But hear me clearly, settling for the status quo is not a good option.  The churches and leaders that fight to maintain “the way it’s always been” in this season will not survive.

 

  • Questions:
    • Are you the LEADER God has called you to be?
    • What action step do I need to take in my pastoral leadership right now?

 

If you need help changing your bylaws or navigating some other change in your leadership journey, please don’t hesitate to reach out.  I’m here for you.

Jan 10, 2022

Do you feel like you are stuck in one or more areas of your life or ministry?  In this episode I share what I believe might be one of the biggest things that is keeping you there.  



  • What if you knew you couldn’t mess up God’s plans for your life this year?
Jan 3, 2022

In this episode I share an inspirational challenge as we begin a new year.  Have you ever had a time when you encountered a message that came from multiple sources, but you were able to hear the voice of God speaking consistently through it?  Well, recently that has been the case for me and I want to share this message with you in hopes that it might encourage you as well.



  • What if you knew you couldn’t mess up God’s plans for your life this year?




  • Quote from Jordan Raynor in Redeeming Your Time:
    • “But in His great grace, our heavenly Father has given us a tremendous amount of freedom to choose exactly how we will contribute to that mission.  And guess what?  As long as you are obeying his commands, you can’t make a wrong decision.”

 

  • Scripture I’ve read recently:

 

Psalm 1:  Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!
    They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
    Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
    but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

  •  

 

  • I’ve also recently been challenged by John Michael Clark (The Family Captain) (Episode #308) with the reality that God put Adam in the garden with the mandate to:
    • “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
    • God is our Father who is pleased to see his children filling the earth, subduing it, and ruling over it for His glory.
  • Recently I had a powerful coaching call with someone in which we discovered an awesome breakthrough:  If I am delighting myself in the Lord, I can trust the desires of my heart.
  • What if you knew you couldn’t mess up God’s plans for your life this year?
  • What would you attempt to do for His glory and the good of others?
Dec 28, 2021

In this episode I have a conversation with Roy Yanke of PIR (Pastors in Residence) Ministries about the current status of pastoral health in the Church.  We talk about the need for pastors to implement life giving rhythms into their daily schedules.  We also talk about how a pastor can determine if they are simply in need of a break or need to transition out of pastoral ministry altogether. 

Dec 20, 2021

In my coaching work with church leaders, I often see pastors struggling with narratives they aren’t even aware are taking place in their minds.  These “voices” can come from internal and external, spoken and unspoken expectations.  They can come from years of church tradition.  They can come from a demanding parent or other voice from the past.  In this episode, I want to challenge pastors with this powerful question, “Who said so?”

 

When we can identify where a voice is coming from, we have much more clarity and power to ascertain whether that voice is one we need to listen to or not.  

 

Whose voice should I be leaning into?

  • God
  • Self
  • Family (Spouse)
  • Trusted advisors
Dec 13, 2021

In this show I’m going to label a few common areas in which churches place unbiblical and unrealistic expectations upon their pastors and I will share how you can overcome them.



  1. Time

 

Many churches think that because they have a “full-time” pastor it literally means they have a full-time pastor.

 

  1. Workload

 

The pastor is expected to do pretty much everything in the church.

 

  1. Money

 

It’s not uncommon for churches to have an expectation of what a pastor should view as an acceptable standard of living.

 

  1. Family roles

 

It’s not just the pastor we have hired, but we also get access to their spouse and sometimes their kids as well.

 

  1. Activities/interests outside of church

 

The pastor needs to be careful about how they spend their time outside of their church role.  



How do you overcome this?

  • Learn to see your church as just ONE of your clients, and not your employer.
  • Be willing to have an honest conversation with the leadership in which you set healthy boundaries for yourself and your family.
  • Be willing to LEAVE a toxic environment and move into a much healthier place!

 

Nov 22, 2021

Recently I have had a number of pastors reach out to me asking questions about church discipline.  In this episode I share a few of my thoughts on the subject as well as a word of caution based on a painful experience of my own that came out of a church discipline situation.



  • It's biblical, even though we don't see many churches do it today.
  • The goal is restoration…not punishment.
  • Everything must be done in love.
  • Deal with the problem at the smallest level.
    • “Private repentance for private sin; public repentance for public sin.”
  • Membership question:  Who are we responsible for?
  • Social media considerations.  Be careful.
  • There is a purpose and a point in church discipline!
    • People can experience love, accountability, correction, restoration, and forgiveness through Christ’s family.
Nov 16, 2021

5 Reasons to Consider Video Venue for Your Rural Church:

  1. It WORKS!
  2. It allows your church to hear from an endless supply of gifted communicators.
    1. It provides an avenue for you to get a consistent break from preaching.
    2. It opens the door for many different creative ways of communicating God’s Word.

    Examples:

    • Christmas series we filmed in the Black Hills
    • Redemption series
    1. It opens the door for many new strategies for planting new churches, campuses, or micro-sites.
Nov 9, 2021

In this episode I interview Rick Magee of Kids Outdoor Zone.  KOZ is a ministry that provides men of your church with training and curriculum to mentor boys using outdoor adventure.

Oct 25, 2021

I recently was involved in a training on the fire department in which we were cutting a large hole in the roof of a commercial building.  We were discussing the need to have our crew and others keep an eye on our surroundings as the person running the saw can get too focused on their task that they can become unaware of a growing danger/threat to their safety.

 

The same is true in our lives.  We can become so focused on the day-to-day details that we overlook growing issues that are more obvious to others.

 

This is why we need to be intentional about checking our blind spots.  

 

  • I need to recognize that I HAVE blind spots in my life.
  • I need to be intentional about checking them on a regular basis.  (“Your best thinking got you to where you are today.”)

 

When we come back from the break I’ll share angles from which we can check our blind spots.

Oct 18, 2021

In this episode I have a conversation with Dee Ann Schnautz about the vital role of that pastor’s wives play in the ministry and the need for them to pursue spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.  Dee Ann has been a rural pastor’s wife for over 38 years and has a tremendous understanding of the joys and challenges of serving in that capacity.

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