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Churches That Don’t Grow

June 1, 2012

God brings life and growth to everything, including churches.  But there is plenty we can do to encourage growth, or inhibit it. Perry Noble, pastor of one of the fastest growing churches in the country, currently has an excellent blog post on church growth. I thought I would take a stab at the topic myself.  Here’s my brief take on churches that don’t grow.

1. No Mission and Vision

The Lord himself gave us the mission, “make disciples.” But it is incredible how many places miss this or mess it up. Along with the mission we need a vision for how we’re serving the mission in our community and our generation. If a parish is unclear about mission and vision it will not grow.

2. Internal Focus

Many places are all about the people in the pews. Pastors pander to and always try to please them and ignore the rest of the world including the community around them. If you work in a parish you will never please everyone. And while you waste all your time trying, your church won’t grow.

3. Wasting Time on Broken Systems

How many parishes have spent years investing money and endless effort trying to save their school or revive some lifeless club or promote a once popular program no one is interested in anymore?  When something is done, move on. If you don’t prune what’s dead, your church will not grow.

4. Lack of Health

If there are too many people in your pews who are only consumers, expecting to be served, if the majority of your congregation isn’t giving (or isn’t giving much), if nobody is serving but the staff, if nobody sings, your community isn’t healthy.  And an unhealthy church cannot grow.

5. Self-serving Leadership

If the pastor or pastoral leader is disinterested or otherwise engaged, if they’re just using the place as a prop for their own agenda or career, the church will not grow. Everything rises or falls on leadership.

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  1. Amen! Just a parent sets the mission and vision for the family, and company leaders set it for their organizations, the pastor MUST set it for the church. I love the mission and vision you have presented. I belief that the mission/ visions most critical job is to steer the church’s resources of time, talent, and treasure, and to be a litmus test for all that is being done or thinking about being done, to bring it’s people to Christ. Again, keep up the great work my respected friends of Nativity.
    Lou Santoni

  2. Over the past 10 years of our ministry we have had people come and go. We have a core of members that have been with the ministry since the beginning. I guess I was feeling a little discouraged and asked the question why aren’t we growing. After reading the 5 possible reasons, I noticed that #4 stuck out to me. This is what the problem is at our ministry. My husband and I serve serve serve. The people that are supposed to sing don’t show up on time to sing. Giving is low. I will pray that we become a healthy ministry.
    Thank you

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