5 Reasons You are Not a Growing Church

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5.       Location

The physical location of a church, if you want to grow by inviting people to attend, is decisive.  If it is hard to find, hard to get to, too small in size, has insufficient parking, is difficult to enter or exit due to road traffic,

…then you are artificially limiting the size of your church.

Solution:  Much of solving location problems is logistical in nature.  Hire off-duty police to help people enter and exit your services.  Increase the number of your services.  Develop a capital campaign to help pay for increasing the size of your auditorium or parking.  If needed, simply move to a new location.  That may seem dramatic, but it’s often critical.  If you do, have the people you’re trying to reach in mind as you pick your new location – such as where they live and ease of access.  Going “multi-site” is also proving to be a helpful strategy for many churches facing location issues.

I know these five areas are incredibly simplistic, and almost any leader could rattle them off.  And I’ve not offered particularly fresh insights into their importance, or how to solve them.

But what I do hope has come through is the importance of ruthless self-evaluation in each of these five areas.  The kind that an outside consultant who isn’t trying to curry favor might give.  So no matter how familiar you may be with each area, go through each one and give it an honest assessment, such as:  “We need to do better,” “We are taking this for granted,” or “We’re hitting this one out of the park.”  It usually is one of those three.  Think in terms of “declining,” “flat” or “growing.”

Or think about a “mystery” worshiper who would have the courage and ability to say things like,

“The talk just wasn’t that good, and he wasn’t a very good speaker.”

“The service was boring and the music stunk; I never could get into it.”

“Somebody has been making a series of leadership miscalls over the years, and it’s pretty clear to an outside person who does have the gift of leadership.”

“People weren’t very friendly…or welcoming.”

“It’s too far to go, or too big of a pain to go.”

Now, before you get defensive and say that people shouldn’t think that way if they really know Jesus, remind yourself of who you are trying to reach.

Yep, people who don’t know Jesus.

So they are going to evaluate you accordingly.

But maybe that isn’t how you are thinking.

So make that #6.  And the solution is easy:

Think like a lost person.

James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is now available on Amazon.

Julius Streeter [03/29/2015 8:43 AM] Ultimately God grows the church. my sheep hear my voice and they follow me, seems thru the ages the true church is a small flock, a faithful remnant church. even thr parable of the sower and the seed ndicates the gospel seed always good but needs receptive soil to grow well

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9 Comments

  • Reply April 26, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    It’s been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. Perhaps a more accurate way of putting it would be that no organization will rise above the level of its leadership. If on a scale of 1-10, the current leadership is around a “4”, then it will be difficult for the church to grow beyond that level. Terry Wiles

  • Reply April 26, 2016

    Terry Wiles

    It is true. The leader has to grow. The biggest problem I encounter with churches in the 75 to 200-300 range is the lack of the Pastor training leaders and being willing to take his/her hands off the day to day management by empowering trained leaders.

    They seem to think it all has to flow through them.

    Number 1 and 4 are the most critical in my opinion.

    • Reply April 26, 2016

      Ruth Brigantti

      Wow so on point. My personal experience were the same. They wanted help but did not want to delegate task to add balance.

  • Reply April 26, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    So do you think seminary degrees should be mandatory for ministers? http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/mandatory-college-degree-for-all-pentecostal-ministers/

    • Reply April 26, 2016

      Terry Wiles

      The call of God should be mandatory. Get all the education you can and keep learning. A person of degrees does not imply qualification for leadership but having a better toolbox to enable him.

  • Reply April 26, 2016

    Varnel Watson

    Terry Wiles Agreed! How did you break the 200 range barrier in your church?

    • Reply April 26, 2016

      Terry Wiles

      Later. I am over my head in issues right now. Several plates are wobbling. Lol

  • Brian Crisp
    Reply July 1, 2016

    Brian Crisp

    Good article

  • Mary Ellen Nissley
    Reply July 1, 2016

    Mary Ellen Nissley

    Why are we trying to attract people who don’t know Jesus, to attend our churches?
    This makes us want to water down Christianity, to where it appeals to the soul in love with the world.

    We aren’t supposed to win the world by inviting them to church.
    We are supposed to win the world by taking the gospel to THEM, and then, once they are converted, bringing them into the radical atmosphere of 100%-sold-out Jesus followers.

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