6 Things Pastors Do to Kill Church Growth

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 …

Click here to learn how the 24toDouble model is helping 2,500 pastors transform their churches from the inside out.

10 Ways to Use Video to Grow Your Church

For a thorough explanation of how you can use video to cast vision, train volunteers, reach lost people in your community, and grow your church … watch the video above.

10 Ways to Use Video to Grow Your Church

  1. Become a Real Person to People. The more real you become to the people in your community, the more likely they will come see you at your church services.
  2. As Invitations to Your Services. You are preparing sermons and series to deliver to your church. But your community doesn’t know what’s coming. Why not use short videos to prepare your people and help invite others to the service?
  3. Follow Up with First Time Attenders. So you spend a lot of energy getting people to come to your church for the first time. And yet those first-timers don’t receive enough (or in some cases, any) follow up. Why not use a brief video the Tuesday following the service to acknowledge and appreciate first time attenders?
  4. As a Sermon Call to Action Follow Up. What action did you ask your people to take at the close of Sunday’s message? You can easily use video as a mid-week reminder of that call to action and to keep in touch with your people. If it was important enough to preach about on Sunday, it deserves some mid-week love. Use video to extend your influence outside of the Sunday sermon.
  5. For Volunteer Recruiting. Trying to drive people into volunteer positions in your church? If you’re preaching on Sunday about volunteering, and people indicate interest in a specific area of ministry, you or someone on your team (preferably someone responsible for that ministry area) can shoot a video telling the volunteer prospect what to do next.
  6. For Volunteer Training. Most churches do a miserable job of this. No matter the size. Using video is a great way to pass on best practices for a ministry area. It also helps you communicate WHY it matters.
  7. For Volunteer Appreciation. Use video to thank your volunteers. They are the heartbeat of your church’s ministries. Vision and thanks are the paychecks of volunteers. You can’t overdo vision or thanks when it comes to volunteers. It’s important to remember, when volunteers burn out, they don’t go back to the pew, they go away.
  8. To Promote Big Events. If you follow 24toDouble, you know one of the tenets is to do 4 big events a year. You can easily use video to promote the events. The great thing about video is, if done right, it is shareable. 
  9.  As a Support Piece to Your Stewardship Training. Here’s the tension: some of you feel as though you are pushing the boundaries if you preach on stewardship more than twice a year. But have you thought about using video to make it easier for people to give when they are ready?
  10. To Reinforce the Vision. You cannot reinforce the vision of your church often enough. Vision drips, according to Andy Stanley. You can make video to make that happen. 

If you don’t think you have the technical skills or the equipment to pull this off, here’s some good news.

I’ve created a resource call Church Video Blackbox. And it shows you, step-by-step, how to make video (like the one I shot above) without having a huge budget.

Questions from Real Pastors

In case you’re new to 24todouble, there is a very clear line distinguishing Jerry and myself, being that Jerry Lawson is the subject matter expert when it comes to church growth and church leadership, and I am the guy that knows how to get the word out to other people what about Jerry does.

I go out and I find people like Jerry that have a message to tell to church. And then partner with them, and with my team, to help get that message out. If you’ve been with us very long you know I’m passionate about pastors and about church growth. 

I love the fact that we had the opportunity to partner with almost 2,600 churches in 24toDouble.

Every month, our 24toDouble members (who are pastors and church leaders just like you!) get the opportunity to join Jerry Lawson and myself on a live Q&A call.

I thought that today I would link you up with the recording of a recent call

I do this because there were some fantastic questions about church growth, health, and ministry from the pastors who are looking to get answers to help them move their church’s mission forward.

Let me be honest about what this Q&A session is, in case I haven’t been clear.

These are real pastors of real churches. And what separates them from most is that they choose to invest in their leadership. 

They show up to these Q&A sessions because it is one more action they can take to move their ministry vision forward. 

And it’s a diverse group on the call.

The first pastor I interacted with describes his church as “conservative Baptist.” His struggles are with leadership roles, volunteering, and church programming.

Another pastor on the call is in St. Petersburg, Florida, is new to 24toDouble, and says his current congegation size is 63.

Then I have Derek, who pastors a Pentecostal church in Chicago. And maybe his church’s story is similar to yours. He has about 100 people attending. 

He has to deal with the complaints from the 75-year olds about the music being too loud. 

Have a listen to this Q&A recording yourself.

And understand this. 

The monthly Q&A is just one of the benefits for church leaders and pastors who invest in their leadership. 

24toDouble is a whole church discipleship model that allows you to raise up the leadership you need to grow your church. 

10.5 Reasons You Need A Year End Review

Year End Review Page Here

For the complete talk, watch the video above.

1. To hear God’s voice …

A lot of you are diving deep into God’s Word as you prepare sermons. But what I am talking about hear is the macro-level hearing God’s voice for you personally … and your ministry.

At least once or twice a year, take a big chunk of time to sit down and truly hear God’s voice about the vision for your life, your ministry, and the organization of your church.

2. To break the cycle of confusion …

Taking time to hear God’s voice helps break the cycle of confusion. We often get stuck we haven’t taken the time to do the one thing to get unstuck—and that is to think.

3. To define what’s working …

Hearing God’s voice helps us to define what is working.  Rather than just compare your church or ministry to the one down the street, take time to write down what is working at your church. This will help you see how God is blessing your church.

4. To realize what’s broken (old wine skin) …

There are (and will be) some new ways of doing church and reaching people that will be very hard to fit into an old way of doing church. Think Facebook Live, Email, etc. In order to pave the way to effective new methods, it’s important to identify the current methods that just don’t work anymore.

5. To know the “One Thing” …

I like Gary Keller’s book The One Thing. The memorable line from that book is: “What’s the one thing that, such being done, makes everything else either easier, or unnecessary?”

Along those lines, I encourage you to ask yourself in your year-end review…

What is the one thing your church can do more of that will cause attendance, giving, and spiritual maturity to go up?

6. To align yourself with the Lord …

Rather than constantly strive to get God in line with what you’re doing, isn’t it better to get yourself back in line with what God is already doing?

A year-end review helps you examine reality. It helps you see what and where and how God is already working so you can partner up with him.

7. To fill the gap between the ministry you’re capable of and the one you’re experiencing …

For most of you, there is a gap between the ministry you’re currently leading, and the one you know God has called you to. And that’s normal, pastor. When you look forward to where God is calling you, there should be a gap. When you look back, you should be in awe.

Doing a year-end review helps you examine the gap and figure out what needs to be done to fill that gap. That way, he can expand your vision for the future.

8. To 10x vision – Only God …

Some of you may think that doubling your church is a lofty goal. And yes, this goal excites me too. In fact 24toDouble is all about helping churches double their growth in two years.

But what if you had a 10X vision for your ministry? In your year-end review, I have this challenge for you … ask the question “What if …”

Thinking 10X will change the way you think about how to go forward.

9. To get on a wall …

Remember the story of Nehemiah? Last year I met with a friend who is a Men’s Ministry Pastor for a large church in the area. As we talked he revealed that he was “on a wall.” I thought, “Am I on a wall?” I had to consider the full weight of what that meant.

So I went back to my house that day and I built a wall.

Here’s what I mean by the wall.

What has God called you to do? That’s your wall. Know what your wall is and climb up and get on it.

10. Rest for your soul – Matthew 11:29 
[29] Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Most of the pastors we have the opportunity to serve through 24toDouble are in lack of rest for their soul. They feel the constant pressure to measure up to the people, the churches, the big names in ministry around them.

You need rest for your soul, pastor. If you do nothing else in your year-end review, resolve to get rest for your soul.

10.5 Because Leaders….lead …

If your vision is short—if there’s no gap between where you are and where God is calling you—or if you’re not leading from a place of rest, then you’re not leading, Pastor.

Everything you hope to accomplish depends on your ability to lead.

Here are 24toDouble, we invest in pastors and church leaders just like you. That is the “wall” that we’ve been calling to get on.

So while you take your time to do your year-end review, let me encourage you to get some help


Growth Versus Spiritual Development

Should your church be about growth?

Or spiritual development?

I started to name this piece of content:
Outcome Vs. Input

I often find myself more concerned about the outcomes.

Keep in mind, I’m also the behind-the-scenes guy of a program called 24toDouble.

We’ve put more than 2,500 churches through a process that helps them double their church size in two years.

When promoting that program on Facebook, we often get get blowback from pastors whose comments can be summed up like this…

“Hey, it’s not about the numbers. It’s about spiritual growth!”

Any my response to that—

Isn’t it really about … both?

As we talk about growth or spiritual development, the question that comes to my mind is—

Can you grow spiritually without impacting the people around you?

My contention is…

If your church is growing spiritually, it will grow numerically.

Three Bible verses that I’d like to speak into your heart today…

The first is 1 Corinthians 3:6:

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

In other words, God gives the increase. God is responsible for the outcome, pastor.

Then there’s Proverbs 21:31: 

The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.

The outcome pastor, belongs to the Lord.

Finally, I’d like to share 1 Corinthians 15:57-58:

Don’t focus on the outcome. Focus on the input.

Focus on the work.

Focus on preparing the horse for battle.

Focus on the planting and the watering.

Let God take care of the outcome.

If your church isn’t growing the way you wanted it to, the outcome belongs to the Lord.

If you’re not able to reach the person across the street from your church, the outcome belongs to the Lord.

Pastor, if you’re not able to reach the people in your own family, the outcome belongs to the Lord.

I encourage you today to focus on the input.

You can have an outcome—that you’re not responsible for—if you plant and water.

In the Parable of the Sower, the last thing Jesus says is that the seed that fell on fertile soil produced 30, 60, 100 times what was sown.

For the last 6 years, Jerry Lawson and I have helped more than 2,500 churches find the more fertile soil within their church.

We’ve then taught them how to plant and water the seed that was sown.

24toDouble just may be the input that your church needs to experience the outcome that God has intended for it.

Richard Chancy

Pastor, Are You Called to Dream?

The hospital you see behind me (in the video above) is the hospital in which I worked for about two years when I was in college.

When I worked there I literally did the nastiest jobs there were to do. I was an orderly.

Which means that when nobody else wanted to do the job … I did the job.

Now you may be wondering, why in the world would you do that, Richard?

Well, it was for one simple reason.

At the time, I was planning to go to medical school.

But it turns out you have to have REALLY good grades to get into medical school, a fact that I was less aware of at the time.

After two years of college, it was clear that I would have to exit that plan—and that job at the hospital.

A recent trip to that same hospital to visit a family member made me think …

Why had I even been on that path to begin with?

Then I realized that I had been on that path because of what I thought people would think about me.

I was chasing somebody else’s dream!

Pastor, are you still called to dream?

Or are you chasing somebody else’s dream?

If you’re not careful, you can adopt others’ dreams—especially those belonging to pastors that we consider “church famous.”

Have you stopped hearing God’s voice for what your dream is?

Here are key questions to consider—

Are you still dreaming?

Do you still have something that you’re pursuing?

Is God giving you a vision for where you are going?

A mentor of mine, John Woodall, says that there is a lifecycle to a dream…

That lifecycle basically has three steps.

Step #1 – The birth of the dream. Where you begin to get a vision for what God has called you to do, and an idea about how you can do that.

Step #2 – This is the painful part. It’s the death of the dream.

Step #3 – Is the supernatural resurrection of the dream.

I know for those reading this, that there a lot of you who are in Phase 2 of the dream.

If this is you, and you don’t know if you have the energy or the resources left to pursue the dream.

Here is my simple answer for you:

1. Get back to the fundamentals. Go back and begin to hear God’s voice again.

2. Block out some time on your calendar and make hearing from God a priority.

3. Sit down and hear God’s voice. And begin to dream again. Ask questions and listen carefully for God’s responses.

4. Write those responses down on paper.

As “professional Christians,” sometimes it’s easy to miss the little things that make the big things possible.

Sometimes I wonder … what if I’d kept chasing the medical dream?

What if I’d never stopped and decided to hear God’s voice, and go in the direction he called me?

Over the past six years, I’ve built this ministry around partnering with pastors to bring great teaching into churches.

And because of that, we’ve been able to impact about 3,000 churches (in 21 countries) in a significant way.

As a result, I now shudder to think what would’ve happened had I chosen to chase somebody else’s dream, instead of the dream that God gave me.

Richard Chancy

P.S. One particular aspect of this ministry has helped churches learn how to grow beyond their current vision. Check out how 24toDouble helps churches just like yours achieve growth, health, and sustainability.

9 Lessons Learned Coaching 2,198 Churches on Growth

So you want to grow your church?

You’re certainly not alone.

In fact, to date I have worked with nearly 2,200 churches and pastors on the subject of church growth.

And there are 9 distinct lessons that I’ve learned that are true of pastors who have succeeding in growing their churches.

For a complete rundown, watch the video above.

Below is a “quick hits” list in case you want to post them somewhere prominent for quick reference.

1. Aware of the Ministry Gap
This references the gap between the ministry you were called to, and the ministry you are currently experiencing. Pastors who are successful at growing their churches are aware of this gap.

Now, obviously, there will (and should) always be a gap between ministry vision, or what God has called you to, and what your ministry has accomplished.

The gap I’m referencing is the one where you really aren’t sure if you were called into ministry. It is a critical element to creating change in your church to knowing that a) the gap exists and b) that the gap can only be bridged by your hearing God’s voice and moving forward.

If you are reading this today, I am confident that God is not done with you yet in ministry!

If God put the ministry desire inside of you, then God is not done yet, and He is getting ready to do something!

2. Strong Leaders Leverage Calls to Action.
Too many pastors take the stage every weekend with no idea of what actions they want their audience to take. It’s one of the biggest challenges I see inside of churches today. Pastors will prepare and deliver incredible messages than end with no clear step of what to do next.

The confused mind always says no. And if your people are not taking action, it may be because the action you want them to take has not been clearly defined.

3. They Realize There is No Shortage
And when I say that strong leaders who are growing their churches realize there is no shortage.

Yes, I am referring to money or funding. I am also referring to volunteers. And people who are willing to go out and invite their friends to church.

There is no shortage except for the one that you allow to be created.

Everything you need to reach people far from God, but right outside the doors of your church, is currently located inside your church.

He’s waiting for you to partner with him to reach people far from God. And he’s equipped you with everything you need now to do that.

4. They Understand the Why Inside Their Call
For what purpose and time has God placed you in ministry? Who has you called you to reach? Where? And why are you the one to do it? Being in touch with the why, or the reason, for ministry can get you through the hard days.

5. Pastors of Growing Churches Say “No” to Good Ideas
They do this so that they can say “yes” to great ideas. Understanding your why is a critical element of this. You will have good ministry ideas thrown at you all day long. The key is knowing when to pass on those good ideas so that you are available to be fully committed to the ministry that God has called you to.

If you’re frustrated with your results? Are you saying “yes” to too many things?

6. They leverage influence wisely.
John Maxwell said, “Leadership is influence–nothing more and nothing less.”

Pastor, every day, you are either making deposits into, or withdrawals from, influence with people at your church.

Remember that the ministry you’re called to is not for you.

7. They Don’t Reinvent Wheels (that Don’t Need to be Reinvented)
Everything doesn’t have to be reinvented. The key is finding systems that work. Small tweaks (and a lot of prayer) will help you accomplish your vision for ministry.

8. They Put Ministry In the Hands of People that were Created for It
Pastor, if you hear nothing else, hear this:

Your doing everything is stealing somebody else’s ability to do ministry.

A healthy church grows from the inside out, from putting volunteers in the right places.

And when people get burned out at church, they don’t go back to pew, they go away. So putting the right people in the right spots (the spots they were created for) is key to powering ministry the way it was meant to be.

9. Pastors that are Successful–They Reach Out
The church down the street is not your competitor. They’re your brothers and sisters in Christ. Reaching out means two things. You reach out for help, and then reach out to help.

Invest in yourself, and then invest in the people around you.

(P.S. One way that you can invest in yourself, and ultimately, the people around you, is to take a look at how you can leverage the resources at mychurchtraining.com to do grow your church, and your leadership.)