Tag Archive - resist

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Why Some Churches Win But Most Lose

Not every church is winning. In fact Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources has stated in his research that: “Eight out of ten of the approximately 400,000 churches in the United States are declining or have plateaued.”

There are a lot of reasons why 80% of churches in America aren’t winning and there’s no “silver bullet” fix. But there are a couple of things that winning churches consistently do that losing churches don’t.

1. They make Decisions based on Who they are trying to Reach Instead of Who they are trying to Keep

The primary filter for winning churches is “What can we do (short of sin) to reach people who are far from Jesus?” You may think that all these churches care about is evangelism and helping people meet Jesus (Is that so bad?), and that leads to the church being a mile wide and an inch deep. But surprisingly these churches are usually very sensitive to helping people who have recently said yes to following Jesus take their next steps in their spiritual journey with Him. If a church isn’t reaching new people then it’s already dying, it just hasn’t shown up yet.

2. They Embrace Change

Winning churches embrace change. They change their staff and organizational structure. They change their worship style. They change their strategies. They change what ministries they offer. They are incessantly tinkering to try and improve what they do to reach new people with the Gospel. They take big risks because they have a big God and they trust Him for big results. They are not afraid to try new things. They’re not afraid to fail.

3. They don’t just Shepherd People well they Lead People

While the staff at winning churches care deeply about people, they don’t view themselves as simply caretakers and they don’t view their role as simply taking care of people. They view themselves as leaders and feel a responsibility to lead people where Jesus wants them to go even if that means it’s going to be uncomfortable. After all, when was following Jesus ever comfortable?

4. They Help People take Steps not get into a Class

Most winning churches I’ve been around aren’t as interested in biblically educating people as they are challenging people to become obedient to the biblical knowledge they already have. They view discipleship as obedience not information. Winning churches have a clear plan to move people from guests to fully involved and people that say yes to Jesus to following Jesus. Their goal isn’t to simply get people into a class.


Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation, Staffing

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10 Ways to Change the “We’ve Always done it That Way” Mindset

One of the most difficult things to navigate in a church is change. In fact if you lead long enough in a church you’ll eventually hear someone say, “But we’ve always done it that way.” That way was someone’s good idea and it may have been the best way at one point. But often times that way becomes a barrier to the best way.

In a church it’s particularly difficult to change methods because every change you make is a criticism of the past. So here are 10 approaches you can take when you’re trying to change the, “We’ve always done it that way,” mindset.

1. Challenge the Statement

Really? Have we really always done it that way? Always is a long time.

2. Listen & Learn

Take time to listen and understand why it is the way it is. Remember it was someone’s good idea at some point. You may learn something.

3. Define Reality

Help people see how that practice has led you where you are, and will keep you where you are unless you change the practice.

4. Cast Vision

Paint a picture of a preferred future and the ground that could be taken if you stop doing it the way you’ve always done it.

5. Celebrate the Past

Highlight and celebrate the good stuff from the past and the fruit that has come from the old practice.

6. Get new People

Everything is new to new people; they don’t know how it’s always been done. Introducing new volunteers to the team and training them on the new way to do things creates a new way of doing things.

7. Model the Desired Behavior

Instead of just telling people what to do, model what you want them to do. It’s always easier to say, “join me,” and lead with moral authority.

8. Build Trust

Change happens at the speed of trust and trust is built through relationship. Take time to build trust by building relationship.

9. Constant Evaluation

Instead of telling, start asking. Build a culture of constant evaluation and improvement. Build a, “we never arrive mentality.”

10. Prove the Practice

Get an early win. Prove that the shift to a new practice is actually better. Get a win and show it in the results.

Sometimes the best way to implement change it to intentionally bring an outside voice to the conversation. You may want to consider having the Unstuck Group help. Take a look at how we can help you move towards a preferred future at your church!

*A special thanks to the Ministry Development Team at Sun Valley Community Church & the conversation that led to this post!


Posted in Leadership