Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of consulting with hundreds of churches on leadership development, strategic planning, church construction and church growth.
Most of the time, church leaders want to focus on what they should do to grow their church. In reality, the quickest way to get your church unstuck is to STOP doing a few things.
Here are six things pastors do to kill church growth:
1. Stop using positive reinforcement as a guide.
Everyone loves a pat on the back; I know I do. If, however, your church is stuck, you can’t use people’s affirmation of the work you’re doing as an indicator of success.
The truth is, your church is perfectly designed to be the size it is right now. That means, for church growth to happen, you’re going to have to make changes.
Resistance always accompanies change. Hopefully, you will continue to receive affirmation, but don’t count on it. Use resistance as your guide. If what you’re doing feels good, you’re probably not doing it right.
2. Stop reinventing the wheel.
Every pastor who has ever planted a church has probably had the thought that they were going to revolutionize the church. I think God gives that audacity to make them crazy enough to do it.
Whether you’re planting a church or you’re replanting one, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Yes, you’ll have leadership tactics that are unique to you and your church, but you also need a strategy. You can borrow that strategy from other churches that have already done what you’re trying to do. Every moment you spend re-inventing how to grow a church is another moment you’ll spend in the “early struggle” phase of growing a church.
The trick is to get out of that phase as quickly as possible.
3. Stop letting people do you favors.
For years, I led a parking team at my church. If I’m being honest, I can tell you for much of that time I was helping out because that’s where the church needed help. That’s not a terrible thing, but it did leave me with the feeling that I was doing my church a favor.
Now I lead a high school small group every Sunday. I’m volunteering four times as much, and the idea of doing “favors” hasn’t crossed my mind. The reason is because I’m in the right spot now.
If you don’t have a solid process for helping people discover and serve in their area of gifting and passion, you’ll always have a crowd of people who aren’t really committed to service. They’re just doing favors, and there is no real passion in that.
4. Stop operating without a quantifiable goal.
This could easily be the #1 thing that kills church growth. I’ve rarely worked with a church that had a solid, quantifiable goal that they were driven to reach. In his post “10 Enemies to Church Growth,” Pastor Meeks said, “Growth is always the goal of the New Testament Church.”
Your goal is the filter that every leadership decision must pass through. A solid goal you can articulate well might be the greatest leadership blessing you’ve ever experienced. You’ll wake up every day with purpose. You’ll be able to reply to every new ministry idea with a simple question…“Will this help us reach our goal?” If it does, great! If it doesn’t, the answer is a big ole “negative.” Just think about the number of conversations that would’ve killed over the years!
Having a measurable goal is the difference between success and failure on your journey to church growth.
5. Stop doing it all.
Most of the time, people do it all for one of two reasons. They either don’t leverage their God-given leadership skills to get people to help, or they simply don’t think anyone can do “it” like they can.
In either case, you’ve got to stop!
If you haven’t felt a little uncomfortable about asking for help this week, you’re doing too much. You aren’t called to do it all, and you’re robbing people of the opportunity to help when you do it all.
6. Stop doubting what God can do through you.
I’ve struggled with this myself. In fact, I’ve had a number of occasions where God has whispered “Moses” in my ear like a childhood taunt.
“Who do you think you are to__________?” You know what I’m talking about.
That little voice in your head that squashes a dream before it has its first breath.
Let me tell you who you really are…YOU ARE GOD’S PLAN FOR THE WORLD! God has a plan to reach every one of the people on this planet…and we’re it…and there is no backup plan.
Are you feeling the weight of that yet? Leading a dying church isn’t an option.
You can (and you must) grow the church. People’s lives hang in the balance, and the God of the universe has faith in you. I don’t know how many people worship in your church, but I absolutely know how many God wants there…MORE! For the church to be the CHURCH, it has to be more, serve more and GROW more.
If you’re a pastor with a declining congregation, keep reading …
There’s something special in the air when two great pastors with often differing opinions can come together in total agreement on the way to run their church.
It’s something that’s been gaining momentum over the last 8 years because it’s been working for churches of all denominations in regions all over the US.
It’s something that is restoring hope to pastors and bringing communities together in a way that hasn’t been seen in America since the 1960’s.
It’s something that’s available to you and it’s not going to cost your church money you don’t have.
If your church is declining, you’re not alone …
Of course you’re never really alone – God is always with you.
But sometimes, when you look out at your sanctuary and not many faces are looking back at you it’s easy to feel like you’re failing.
The sad thing is that this trend is becoming more and more common.
All across America the last 40 years has been marked by a steady decline in the amount of people regularly coming to church.
Pastors everywhere are struggling……
Which means you’ve got less resources…….
Which means you’re reaching even fewer people.
Grow Your Church Without Breaking the Bank …
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