Tag Archive - barrier

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Top Posts of 2018 #4 “5 Reasons Churches Don’t Grow”

It still holds true that 80% of churches in America are plateaued or declining. It doesn’t have to be that way! I wrote this back in August and it quickly shot up to one of the top posts of the year.

It’s impossible for your church to grow and everything stay the same. I know it would be nice if everything could stay the same as the church grows, but it can’t. And the secret underlying truth is as your church grows you will lose some things along the way. But that’s kind of the point. You simply can’t move from here (current reality) to there (preferred future) and everything stay the way it is. If it did, you’d never get “there,” you’d just stay where you are.

While there are a lot of reasons why churches stall, sputter, and stop growing but there are a few big reasons that lurk beneath the surface of the worship services, ministries and organizational structure of the church and live within the heart of the leader.

#1 Control

Things could be done exactly the way you want them to be done at your church, but you’d be the one doing them or directing them. It would be nice, and neat, and tidy. No mess. You wouldn’t have to worry about staff members or volunteers challenging your ideas as the pastor because everyone would be executing your ideas the way you want them done. Unfortunately, you’d also never attract or develop any leaders, you’d only be training people to perform tasks that you assign them. You’d be creating followers and as a result putting a lid on the growth of the church. Controlling leaders stifle fun, innovation, and ultimately production. Your team needs to be empowered and unleashed to be who Jesus has created them to be. That’s when they’ll have the most fun and you’ll get the greatest results. The sad, and very dangerous, thing is controlling church leaders actually stifle personal growth in others and the expansion of the Gospel

#2 Preference

As churches grow, leaders either give up their personal preferences or they personally prevent the church from growing. The best leaders I’ve been around ask what’s best for the organization, not what’s best for themselves, and they defer their preferences for the performance of the organization. Which means one day we’ll all be saying why can’t we sing those old Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, or Jesus Culture songs. We are either constantly designing ministry for ourselves or for people who have not yet said yes to following Jesus. So do you prefer to reach new people with the Gospel or to go to a church that is designed to fit your preferences?

#3 Lack of Leadership

This may just one guys’ opinion, but I really believe that the greatest crisis facing the modern-day church is a crisis of leadership. We don’t have a “Gospel problem,” or a “God problem,” it’s a Church problem and that starts with leadership. The modern-day Church simply doesn’t attract, develop, or keep leaders. Leaders by their very nature are change agents, and because the unstated goal of most churches is to preserve the past, church leaders often times find themselves fighting the family instead of fighting the enemy.

#4 The Ingrained Behavior to Keep instead of Reach

New things attract new people and new churches reach new people. When a church is starting up it’s all about risk (church planting by its very nature is risky). Over time however it’s easier (and less risky) to do ministry programs to keep church people happy than it is to continue to reach out to people who are outside of the church. You know, those ministry programs that keep the core long-time Christians and long-term attenders happy but have no impact on people outside the faith. While the greatest intention of churches may be to reach new people, their greatest behavior is to keep the ones they have happy.

#5 Pain Tolerance

As I mentioned the leadership secret that no one is telling you about is that there is no leadership without loss. It may not be popular, but it is absolutely, “take it to the bank true.” Most people mistakenly believe that gaining leadership is all about gaining more power, gaining a more influential position, and gaining more prestige and popularity. But leaders who lead at the highest levels know there is no going up, without giving up. And the higher you go in leadership, the more you have to be willing to lose. And this is the reason why many churches stop growing. Simply because those leading them don’t possess the pain tolerance or humility to endure the personal challenge of change, discomfort and loss.


Posted in Leadership

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How to Break a (Big) Church Growth Barrier

 

One of the most obvious signs of stuckness in churches is declining or plateauing attendance. All churches hit growth barriers—even the large ones. The question is not if growth stalls, but how to respond when it does. The good news? You aren’t alone.

On Thursday March 1 at 1 p.m. EST, we will be hosting a webinar called “Breaking Barriers: Reach 2,000 & Beyond.” Tony Morgan, Amy Anderson (Director of Consulting at The Unstuck Group), Chad Moore (lead pastor of Sun Valley Community Church) and Matthew Cork (lead pastor of Friends Church) are digging into four reasons large churches hit growth barriers, and how pastors can lead their churches forward.

In this webinar, we’ll dive into topics like:

  •      How to Recognize a Toxic Culture & Turn It Around
  •      Overcoming a Leadership Void in Your Staff and Volunteer Teams
  •      Multisite Model Missteps & How They Set You Back
  •      Complexity Creep & Why It’s Undermining Your Vision

We invite you to join us to discuss the unique challenges of leading a large church—and how to get unstuck in the process.

Follow this link to REGISTER NOW and join in on the conversation


Posted in Leadership

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Has your Church Hit a Growth Barrier?

Growth barriers often leave leaders feeling like they’ve exhausted their options and resources for growth and that they are stuck. But, here’s the good news about growth barriers: they can be broken down by changing your ministry routine.  Shifting the way you approach leadership, structure, and methods can provide a huge boost to your church’s growth.

For many years now, we’ve been hosting coaching networks. The Unstuck Team continues to put on these networks for many reasons, but the primary would be this: we want churches to get unstuck. We’ve seen these networks challenge and encourage leaders to break growth barriers by learning insights and strategies to take their church to the next level.  

In these networks, you’ll learn best practices from healthy, growing churches and begin applying them in your church environment from day one. The Unstuck Team will walk alongside you as you take your next steps in leadership by fighting for healthy growth and learning how to establish a healthy church structure.

Each church is unique in its strategies, methods and practices. This is why we believe in the power of coming together to discover ways to explore outside of our ministry routine to experience growth.

This fall, we’re hosting 3 leadership coaching networks. Each will consist of a 7-month, collaborative coaching experience that includes 3 gatherings in Atlanta, 2 exclusive webinars, and 2 one-on-one coaching calls. Here are the options:

The Unstuck Church: Reaching 1,000 Coaching Network

This network is designed to help you move from reaching hundreds to reaching 1,000 in attendance by clarifying what’s working and what’s wrong, defining an action plan for next steps, and establishing a staffing and ministry structure that supports growth and health.

The Unstuck Church: Growing Beyond 2,000 Coaching Network

This network will help you develop strategies to tackle the unique challenges of larger churches including leadership development, staffing, communications, discipleship and establishing healthy growth engines.

Multisite Leadership Coaching Network

This experience will set you up to more effectively lead a growing, multisite church. We will help you navigate Common Pitfalls in Multisite, Refining Your Model, Clarifying How You Structure and Operate, Best Practices for Launching a Campus, Managing the Tension (Central vs Campus), and more!

We have space for only 7 churches in each network — some of which are already gone, so make sure to follow this link secure your spot soon!


Posted in Leadership

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New Coaching Networks from the Unstuck Group

One thing is true of strong church leaders: they fight for healthy growth.

Are you willing to explore beyond your ministry routines to discover the strategies that will help you lead your church at a higher level?

This fall, we invite you to take your next steps with a community of like-minded church leaders. In our new Leadership Coaching Networks, you’ll learn best practices from healthy, growing churches and begin applying them in your church environment from day one.

In October, Tony Morgan and ministry consultants from The Unstuck Group will host 3 coaching networks designed to help you engage the strategies you will need to fight for healthy growth within your church:

The Unstuck Church: Reaching 1,000 Coaching Network

Clarify what’s working and what’s not to define the best action plan to support health. This network is designed to help you move from reaching hundreds to reaching 1,000 in attendance by clarifying what’s working and what’s wrong, defining an action plan for next steps, and establishing a staffing and ministry structure that supports growth and health.

The Unstuck Church: Growing Beyond 2,000 Coaching Network

Discover how to address leadership development,discipleship and more through healthy growth engines. This network will help you develop strategies to tackle the unique challenges of larger churches including leadership development, staffing, communications, discipleship and establishing healthy growth engines.

Multisite Leadership Coaching Network

Learn the best strategies for leading and growing a multisite church. This experience will set you up to more effectively lead a growing, multisite church. We will help you navigate Common Pitfalls in Multisite, Refining Your Model, Clarifying How You Structure and Operate, Best Practices for Launching a Campus, Managing the Tension (Central vs Campus), and more!

We have space for just 7 churches in each network — and, we’re offering $1,000 off registration to the first 4 churches who register for each! Check out the details to decide if this is the right next step for you.


Posted in Leadership

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7 Things All Growing Churches Have in Common

Once a month at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) we gather all of our staff from all of our campuses to have some fun, celebrate wins, keep everybody on the same page and often times do some leadership development training. Last week Chad Moore, who serves as the Lead Pastor at Sun Valley shared 7 Things that All Growing Churches have in Common…I thought these may be helpful to you in your local church context…

  • Church is not a building that you come to it’s a movement that you choose to be a part of to help people meet know and follow Jesus.
  • You can’t come to church because you are the church.
  • To get the right answers about church you have to ask the right questions.
  • The book of acts is all about how the early church acted

1. Passionate and Proficient leaders

The starting point for any movement is highly competent leaders who are deeply committed leaders to the cause. Without highly competent leaders the church will prematurely hit a leadership capacity lid. Without deeply committed leaders the church will be stunted due to leadership turnover when things get too difficult.

2. Clearly Defined Vision and Goals

Jesus gave the early Church a clear vision to get this movement going in Acts 1:8, we don’t have to make up the mission (why we exist) of the church. But we do get to lean into the vision (where we are going next) of the church. Most churches just say things like, “We are just going to follow the Spirit.” Which sounds really spiritual but is usually code for, “We don’t know where we’re going or what we’re doing.” Most churches forget that planning is spiritual, Proverbs is in the Bible too and God has a plan…He’s not just winging it. Hope is not a strategy; if you don’t have a target you’ll hit it every time.

3. Culture that Supports the Vision and Strategy

Culture is the soft squishy stuff that most organizations have a difficult time clearly defining. Culture is how the people in the organization think, feel, what they value, and how they actually behave. Regardless of what’s written on the wall, it’s what’s happening down the hall. Of all the things that a leader does the most important is what the leader does to protect and fuel the culture.

4. A Strong Communicating Leader (cultural architect)

The early church had Peter and Paul (among others). Contrary to popular belief in church-world; teaching on the weekends is not the most important thing we’re doing. The most important thing we’re doing is building culture and we’re using the Bible to reinforce and build this movement called the church. The primary purpose of the pulpit is not teaching, it’s leading.

5. Generous, Consistent Giving

When I first started giving I was nervous to do it, now I’m nervous not to do it. 2 common barriers that hold back the movement of the church are leaders and money. It is the leaders responsibility to not just develop leaders but also develop generosity in the heart of the church to fuel the vision.

6. Passionate and Proficient Next Step Leaders

Growing churches must have people on the team who are great at helping people take their next step with Jesus. The ministry of Jesus can be broken down into 4 categories:

  • Come & See: The woman at the well (John 4)…”come and see a man who knew all about me, could He be the Messiah”
  • Follow Me: This is a line in the sand (John 6)…you’re either going to follow Jesus or you’re not
  • Be with Me: Up close and over time…this is Jesus and the disciples
  • Remain in Me: This person knows the Bible, can read it and apply it on his or her own and lead others (John 15)

Preaching can only do the first two. Next Steps are the next two. The first two are message and mission. The last two are relationship and responsibility.

7. Unapologetic Focus on Evangelism

At the end of the day the church is all about helping people meet Jesus. Growing churches make decisions based on whom they are trying to reach, not whom they are trying to keep.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation
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