Tag Archive - church growth

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Top Posts of 2019 #1: “5 Keys to Growing your Church in 2019”

Thank you for going on this journey with me of counting down my most popular posts from 2019! It seems fitting that my last post of the year will be looking back to the first post of the year where I shared this list of helpful strategies to help your church grow in 2019. I hope it did.

I’ve never met a church leader that didn’t want things at their church to to change for the better. They want more people to say yes to following Jesus, they want people to become better friends with God, and they want their churches to think more about people outside of the church than those already in it.

The trouble is while most church leaders want this year to be better than the last, they don’t want to do anything different.

I’ve said this many times before, people (including you…and me) always want to change their circumstances, but they never want to change their lives. But everything gets better when we get better. Families get better when fathers and mothers get better. Students get better when educators get better. Organizations get better when leaders get better. And churches get better when church leaders get better. But better doesn’t happen by trying harder, it happens by trying different. It happens through change…but change is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s always easier and more comfortable to stay where you are than to change and move forward. But if you want to grow at some point you’ve got to stop doing what’s easy and start doing what’s right.

So, to that end, here are a couple ideas that will help you create change this year at your church…and maybe even in you.

Create Accessibility

One of the greatest changes you can make in your church to get different results is to make Jesus and His teachings more accessible to people who don’t know Him. Another way to think about this is to ask yourself or your team, “How accessible is everything at your church to people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and the Church?” How accessible is your website, signage, language, parking lot, building, kids and student ministries, worship services, and teaching to people who are unfamiliar with Jesus and His Church? Most churches simply make it too hard for people to meet and follow Jesus. They don’t do it on purpose, they’ve just forgotten what it is like to be unfamiliar with Jesus. And guess what will happen when you create more accessibility to Jesus? More people will meet Jesus…and isn’t that kinda the point?

Lean into Constraints

You probably have a list of reasons (or excuses) why you can’t grow. Barriers to the future or anchors to the past that are keeping you from getting to the future. Make a list of your top 5 constraints and figure a way through them or around them. You constraints may even be the thing that help you innovate and come up with a solution you would have never otherwise come up with on your own. To that point, one of the top 3 reasons the church I serve at went multisite 6 years ago is because the original location was nearing a point where it would be fully maximized. Today we’re reaching more people for Jesus than ever because we had a facility constraint that forced us into a new solution (multisite) that is helping us reach new people for Jesus than we ever would have or could have at that one original location. Your biggest constraints may just turn out to be your best friend.

Allow Hope to Die

Stop hoping things are going to change at your church. Hope doesn’t change or produce new results at your church. Action does. Specifically, new action. Hope is not a strategy. Too many church boards and church leaders are sitting around praying and hoping that Jesus would do something new and powerful in their church this year when He already did something new and powerful 2,000 years ago on the cross. He’s simply waiting for those same church boards and church leaders to have the same kind of courage He did and lead things forward.

Draft some new Players

If you want new results at your church, then it may be time to shake up the team a bit. New team members bring new experiences, expertise, ideas, and questions with them that aren’t currently on your team. You become who you hire and sometimes one or two new team members can help shift the entire locker room on a team.

Listen to Fresh Eyes

Sometimes you simply need fresh eyes, someone from the outside to help you see things differently. Sometimes you need an outside voice to say some things that you want to say but can’t. And sometimes you’re just stuck and need help. If that’s your church, then maybe the best step you can take to change things at your church is to engage the Unstuck Group. We help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action.

Taking new and different action will get you different results. And if you need a little help getting unstuck then connect with us at the Unstuck Group, we can help this next year be the best year of ministry you’ve ever experienced!


Posted in Leadership

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Why the Sky is NOT the Limit for Young Church Leaders

The sky is not the limit for your church leaders, it’s just not. And we do them a disservice to feed them lines and fill their heads with ideas that just aren’t true. It’s one thing to tell a young leader that you believe in them and encourage them, it’s another to just lie to them. Sometimes in our attempts to encourage young leaders we move past encouragement into falsehood. In doing so we set them up for disappointment and sometimes failure.

In Proverbs 13:12 the Bible teaches us that, “Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.” In other words, hope that doesn’t end in real results can destroy someone. So we need be careful what direction and expectations we set on young leaders, because if it doesn’t come to fruition we can ruin them.

We’d be better off to encourage them to understand that their limit is their limit and go have fun testing their limits. When young leaders find their limits and live within what Jesus has wired them up to do they’ll experience more peace and produce more fruit!

Truth is, the sky is not the limit for young leaders, there are real limiting factors that they are or will experience, here are just a few.

1. Gifting

The Scriptures are clear that not everyone gets the same gift (and leadership is clearly defined as a spiritual gift in the Bible that not everyone gets). There are different gifts, God seemingly loves diversity and has created a system that pushes us towards one another instead of away. For the Church to be its best we need to bring our best together and lean into each other’s areas of gifting and brilliance!

2. Capacity

The Scriptures are also clear that not everyone gets the same measure of gifts. Some have a greater capacity than others. It’s possible that two people may have a teaching gift, but one may have a great measure of that gift. You get how this works.

3. Approach

Now this is something that young leaders can actually control. They can control the approach they take. They can decide if they are going to have a great attitude or not, they can choose how much effort they are going to put forth, they can choose to submit to those in authority over them or not, and they can choose be teachable or not. They can choose their approach.

4. Opportunity

I’ve heard it said that luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation. You can call it providence and blame all of your opportunities or lack of opportunities on God or you can take personal ownership of your life and go make your own opportunities. Now I’m not a “demon behind every bush” kind of guy, but I don’t want to not give credit to God when it’s due either. Some opportunities are self-made while others are God given. Whichever come your way take advantage of them because not everyone gets the same opportunities.

5. Resources

Some young leaders simply have greater resources at their disposal. These resources give them a disproportional leg up over their peers. Some have access to greater preparation, development and coaching. Some have access to more finances which allow them greater margin. Still others have access to deeper personnel bench to deploy. Recourses are a limiting factor for growing leaders.


Posted in Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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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