Tag Archive - connection

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Why Most Churches are Successful Failures

Successful failure is when you successfully execute a plan that doesn’t work. You’ve planed your work and worked your plan. You’ve completed the task on time and on budget. You successfully executed the plan. The only problem is the plan didn’t work. The outcome was just wrong.

Many churches all across America are successful failures. They’re putting a lot of time and effort into doing church they way they do church only to see little to no fruit. Most churches are building something that nobody wants to be a part of. And the proof is in the fact that 80% of the nearly 400,000 churches in America are plateaued or declining.

People don’t want a class they want community

Most churches still offer classes as the primary way for people to get connected to their church. Most guests still attend a church for the first time at a weekend worship service and then they’re invited to attend a class. No matter how’s it’s branded it’s usually some form of membership or orientation class where they are provided content. Then they’re invited to another class (usually in the form of some kind of bible study) where they can get more content. People are looking for connection and community not classes or content. If people were really looking for another class to be a part of then Community Colleges across America would be overrun with a deluge of applicants.

People don’t want to be lectured they want to be changed

There are few settings outside of academia where people receive information in a lecture format anymore. People aren’t looking for another lecture. They’re looking for something real, tangible, and powerful. Does your God really have the power to change my most meaningful relationships? Can I experience real peace in life? Can my life really be different than it is today? Is there something truly spiritual about Christianity or is it just another self-help book to make my life “better?”

People don’t want to feel guilty they want to feel inspired

People are tired of coming to church and feeling guilty, shamed, preached at, spoken down to, and judged. Who would want to be a part of something like that? People want to be inspired. They want to know that there is hope. And while the Church has the most hope to offer the World, the average person in the world typically doesn’t associate “hope” and “church.” The Gospel is the most inspiring message in the history of the planet and somehow we’ve made it very unattractive.

People don’t want to be a part of something built for insiders

Let’s face it, most churches are designed by and for people who are already a part of the church. And by churches I mean the physical buildings and programs. Yes I know the church is not a building that you come to but a movement you’re a part of…but for the purpose of this conversation we’re talking about what outsiders view as the church – which are the buildings and programs. Most churches don’t match the architecture of other public space that people go to. And who wants to be a part of something where you feel like an outsider the moment you walk through the door because you don’t know the lingo, the songs (who sings songs other than happy birthday any ways), or the customs.

Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I love the Church, I’m a part of the Church, and I’m even on staff at a church. But I don’t think most churches are experiencing much success (success = life change), they’re actually failing. And what’s worse is that most churches are successful failures.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation

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Choosing the Right Small Group Model for your Church

When it comes to Small Group most churches jump from model to model. They get all fired up about the latest book they’ve read or conference they’ve gone to and change models so quickly that they end up confusing people. They don’t allow any one model to take root and produce fruit.

There are pros and cons to all of the models below, but the goal of all of this group stuff is to simply make disciples. If that’s happening, then choose the best model that fits the unique personality of your church.

A couple of weeks ago I shared a post that came out of a conversation I had with the consulting team at the Unstuck Group. We were talking about helping churches get unstuck when it comes to the disciple-making ministry at their church. In particular we were discussing Small Groups. In the conversation Chris Surratt who runs SmallGroup.com and serves as a Ministry Consultant with the Unstuck Group identified 6 different kinds of group models I wanted to share with you.

#1 Free Market Groups

In free market groups the old adage “birds of a feather, flock together” rules. Groups are built based on affinity. In this kind of group, the content isn’t as important as the relationship. Groups typically pick their own content. There are hiking groups, fishing groups, scrap-booking groups, surfing groups, you name the hobby and there can be a group built around it.

#2 Closed Groups

Closed groups are simply that, closed. They form and commit to meet together for 18-24 months and go through a particular curriculum together. They don’t add anyone new to that group once the group begin, hence the term “closed.” At the end of that time commitment they either re-up or intentionally break apart to start new groups.

#3 Sermon Based Groups

Sermon based groups reinforce the sermon that is preached each weekend at church. There is no curriculum needed, only discussion questions provided to the group leaders for further study of Gods’ Word and discussion about the sermon. Anybody can participate if they heard the sermon that weekend or listened online.

#4 Host Groups

Host groups are often campaign oriented. Similar to a “40 Days of…” campaign. The content is completely provided in a kit and all you have to do is host the group in your home, play the video for everyone to watch and facilitate a prescribed conversation. Often times in this kind of group the host doesn’t even need to be a Christian, they just need to host the group.

#5 Hub Groups

Hub groups are similar to free market groups except they’re built around key stage of life “hubs.” Ministries such as men’s, women’s, parents, singles, and marriage ministries would all fall into this category.

#6 On Campus Groups

On campus groups are groups that meet on the church campus on a weekly basis. The most common example of this is Sunday School Classes. On campus groups have a tendency to be more lecture format and content heavy in nature.

*What other kinds of groups have you seen or been a part of? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about your experiences!


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation