Some Churches Don’t Need to Change

I gave my life to Christ fifteen years ago in a traditional church in the middle of nowhere. My church experience before that day was limited to say the least. It could be better described as non-existent.

So, I really didn’t know the difference between traditional, contemporary, or modern church. I just knew that I was missing something in my life and that something was Jesus.

Really, at that time the only type of church that existed in my town was the traditional church. And that was fine by me.

They taught me spiritual disciplines, the importance of community, and how to sing the first, second, and fourth stanza of the hymns.

For that, I will be forever grateful.

I visited there recently on a Wednesday night to hear a friend preach. There were around twenty adults there, they didn’t turn all the lights on, and the worship team didn’t bother to show.

My friend did a great job, and I believe God was glorified.

Does this church need to change? Yes and no.

Yes, they need to get better at some of the things they’re already doing.

No, they don’t need to overhaul their entire ministry strategy.

Modern worship and bright lights would hinder this church more than help.

They’re perfectly aligned to reach the people in the community God has placed them in. They just need to improve upon that.

I feel like some of us believe our churches need to do a complete 180 in order to reach our community, when the truth is, we just need to get better at the things we already do.

If you preach, preach with passion and give the audience one thing they can apply to their life each week.

If you sing, sing praises to God and try to keep it in key.

If you serve kids, spend some time praying for those kids each week.

If you’re opening a door for someone, make sure to put a smile on your face and try to remember their name.

Most churches don’t need an overhaul. They just need to be inspired to care.

Did you grow up in church? Has that helped or hindered you in your ministry? Leave a comment and let us know. Also don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

5 Reasons Your Church is Stuck

Statistics have been pretty clear over the years that the percentage of Americans attending church is on the decline. In fact, around 90% of all churches in America are either not growing or declining. Whether these pastors want to admit it or not, they’re stuck.

There are a variety of reasons why this seems to be happening.

Some small town churches have suffered because the people in their communities are moving to bigger cities.

Some of it is because kids activities are now spilling over into Sundays.

Some people are traveling more.

And some people just don’t see the value in attending church anymore.

With all of these reasons, it would be easy to make excuses, and I have been guilty of making some myself.

But the truth is, Pastor, it has a lot more to do with you, and a lot less to do with what’s going on around you.

Here are 5 Reasons Your Church is Stuck.

  1. You Don’t Believe it’s Possible

Again, I have to plead guilty. When you’re doing ministry in a small town, it can be easy to make excuses, but as the saying goes, you can make progress or you can make excuses, but you can’t make both. The truth is if you don’t believe something can happen, you’ll prove it can’t. Many of us have convinced ourselves that growth isn’t possible.

  1. You Refuse to Change Your Structure

Structure is probably the number one reason most churches are stuck. If your church is still allowing everyone to vote on every decision, you’ll never grow past where you are now. Similarly, if you have a board that wants to micromanage instead of oversee the ministry, I hope you’re happy where you are. How you are structured determines how much you can grow.

  1. You’re Keeping People You Should Have Let Go

People who have positions, volunteer or paid, hold influence in your church. The smaller the church, the more influence they will hold. One of the biggest mistakes pastors make is leaving a person in a position they’re not qualified for. You can only extend grace for so long, and then you have to let them go. Otherwise they will poison your church.

  1. You’re Setting the Wrong Type of Goals

Or you’re not setting goals at all, which I think is the case for a lot of churches. The great thing about not having goals is you never fail. The bad thing is you also never win. Goals should be measurable and defined. Also, don’t just concentrate on outcomes like attendance and giving. It’s hard to control those things. Focus on things you can control that will result in the outcomes you’re hoping for.

  1. You Don’t Believe in Yourself

I think all of us lack confidence from time to time. Even the most confident pastors can struggle with anxiety and depression at times. But we should never doubt that Christ is with us and through Him we can do all things. Even those things that seem impossible.

Is your church stuck? If so, what do you think the problem is? Let us know in the comments, and if I can help in anyway please shoot me an email. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get updates on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

The Key to Unlocking Change

Want to know the fastest way to get fired as a pastor? You guessed it, try to change something. Sometimes anything, it could be as simple and silly as changing the carpet, the color of the walls, or how you take up the offering. Initiating change is dangerous, and there will be casualties. Let’s just hope you’re not one of them.

There are lot of pastors and leaders who like to teach on change, but I’ve found there are far fewer who’ve actually lived it.

Until you’ve taken a traditional church and changed everything about it, you don’t truly know the difficulties of change.

Until your life has been threatened by a church board member, you don’t truly know the seriousness of change.

Until you write a blog post that is the subject of an emergency board meeting…well, you get the point.

It’s different hearing it from someone who’s actually gone through it. I’ve gone through it, somehow managed to live to tell about it, and even got a job working at the church after it.

The three steps I’m going to tell you about initiating change I didn’t know about when my church went through it. If I had known about them, I have no doubt that the process would’ve gone smoother. It would’ve taken longer, but it would’ve gone smoother.

The key is to agree. Whoever is in control, whoever makes decisions, whoever has influence, you need them to agree with you in three areas.

  1. Agree on the Goals

If you’re pastoring a church, the main goal should be to see people give their lives to Jesus. That should be pretty easy to agree on, although you may have some people who would argue that the church primarily exists to teach and train those who are already saved. Many insider-focused churches will feel this way. I would disagree. I don’t believe Jesus came so we would know more about the Bible. I believe Jesus came to seek and save those who need a Savior.

  1. Agree on Reality

This can be much more difficult. People will often let their own personal feelings and bias determine reality. This is where you need facts and statistics because facts don’t lie. You may say something like, “You may feel like the church is doing well, but there wasn’t a single salvation last year and we can’t be ok with that.”

  1. Agree on Measurement

Once you agree on what the goals is and what the current reality is, you can now agree on what success looks like for your organization. So, you may say, “Our goal is to see twenty people give their lives to Christ next year.”

Now you have an agreed upon goal that you can measure, and you’ve all agreed that what you’re currently doing isn’t meeting the goal. So, you’ve basically all agreed that something has to change.

In light of our current reality and in light of our goals, we need to do x, y, z in order to meet these goals.

In order for our kids’ ministry to be a place where families want to bring their kids, we need to hire a kids’ pastor.

In order for our student ministry to grow by twenty percent, we need to increase the student ministry budget.

In order for us to better care for our church members who are sick and in the hospital, we need to develop a care team.

The key is to agree because, once you agree on your goals and your reality, you have no choice but to agree that change needs to take place.

What does your church need to agree on this year? Let us know by leaving a comment below, and if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.