Seven Things I Lost Because of Church Growth

When I first walked into my church over 12 years ago, there were 87 people in attendance. Today, across two campuses, there are over 700 people on a typical weekend. I’ve seen so many incredible things happen in my church over the years, and I have gained so much. But there are also things I have lost, and as your church grows there will be things you will lose as well.

  1. Friends – None of us set out to lose friends, but you inevitably will. As the church changes, and more people start showing up, others will get uncomfortable. People who have been in your home, been to your kids’ birthday parties, been a part of your life for many years will leave the church. They want people to change, but never want the church to, which we all know is impossible. It’s sad, but you move on because you know you’re following God’s direction.
  2. Coworkers – As your church grows you will need to hire staff, and as your church grows some more you’ll need to fire some of them. The sad reality is that the people who got you there, aren’t necessarily the people who can get you to where you’re going. This hurts and sometimes people feel like they’ve been used, but the right person at the right time eventually becomes the wrong person somewhere down the road.
  3. My Seat – Definitely not as dramatic as the first two, but for all of us who aren’t speaking on Sunday mornings it’s not uncommon for us to eventually lose our favorite place to sit. Personally I prefer the back right corner, but for the past couple of years I’ve ended up on the front row.
  4. My Parking Space – More people showing up on Sundays means less options in the parking lot. If you’re a pastor or church leader, I highly encourage you to park the farthest away from the building. It’s an easy way to appreciate everyone else.
  5. My Preferences – As an Executive Pastor I get to help make many of the decisions in my church, but that doesn’t mean I can just choose what I like. For one, many of the ministries I used to manage are now managed by someone else, and for two, I have to make decisions on what’s best for the church, not what’s best for me.
  6. My Comfort Zone – I’m an introvert every day of the week, except Sunday mornings. On Sunday mornings I force myself to put on a smile and talk to people, especially people I don’t know. Sometimes I’m awkward, sometimes I come off the wrong way, but I’m trying my best to connect with people.
  7. My Opinions – I spent ten minutes trying to write a Facebook post the other day, before eventually just discarding the post. The things I say are seen by a lot of people, some who go to my church, and some that I’m hoping will come to my church. I can’t afford to say the wrong thing, or have my words misinterpreted. I have to keep my opinions to myself.

What have you lost? Or maybe, what have been unwilling to lose in order to grow your church? Give me your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

4 Options When Dealing with a Difficult Volunteer

If you’re leading a church in a small town, you’re mostly leading it through volunteers. Sure, you may have a few staff members that get paid, but the majority of ministry is done by people in your congregation who give of their time and talents. Most of them are incredible people who love the vision and mission of the church, but occasionally, you will get one or two who prove very difficult to manage. In this post I want to give you a few ideas on how to deal with them.

Now, when I’m talking about a difficult volunteer, I’m talking about the person who doesn’t want to show up on time. I’m talking about the door greeter who refuses to stop smoking while they’re serving.  I’m talking about the kids’ volunteer who obviously doesn’t like kids. I’m talking about the people who drive you crazy because you know they’re hurting the church.

If you have someone like that in your church, I want to give you permission to ask them not to volunteer anymore. I know it’s not what you want to do, but sometimes it’s what you have to do. If you don’t deal with it, others will take notice, and before long you’ll have a much bigger problem on your hands.

But asking them to stop serving is always the last resort. You do have some other options you should try first.

  1. You can coach/train them. Sometimes volunteers don’t even realize they’re doing something wrong because we never took the time to train them properly. Is it possible you can coach them into being a good volunteer?
  2. You can ask them to serve somewhere else. Other times volunteers just aren’t the right fit for the position. Move a grumpy greeter to the media team, and they may fit right in. This is why it’s always wise to check in with a new volunteer after a few weeks to make sure they’re enjoying their new role.
  3. You can ask them to take a break. Is it possible they’re burned out from serving and just need a break? Or perhaps, they’re going through something really difficult that is making it hard for them to serve with joy. Give them a few weeks or months off and see if they do better once they return.
  4. You can ask them to step down from serving. If you’ve tried the three steps above and they’re still not working out, it’s probably time to ask them to step down from serving.  You’ve done all you can, and you shouldn’t feel any guilt about it.

Have you ever had to deal with a difficult volunteer? How did you handle it? Leave a comment and let us know. If this is your first time reading the blog, thanks for stopping in. Make sure you subscribe to get tips on church growth, leadership, and more delivered to your inbox each week.

The #1 Reason You’re Not as Successful as You Should Be

I noticed something recently in myself that was keeping me from realizing my potential. And it wasn’t just in me. It was in almost everyone around me. In fact, the people who it wasn’t in, well let’s just say they have a way of accomplishing way more than probably you or me. The difference between those people who make a big impact, and those whose impact is limited, is the first group has learned how to follow through, and the others have not.

Just think about it. Doesn’t everything come down to follow through?

You have two people who are trying to lose weight, so they start a new diet and exercise routine. One of them ends up losing the weight, and one doesn’t. What was the difference? Follow through.

You have two people who graduated from the same high school, and have similar backgrounds. They both go to college. One goes on to become a doctor, but the other is working on the line in a factory. The difference? You guessed it, follow through.

So, what does this have to do with church? Actually, more than I realized.

I noticed that our team would have great ideas and intentions in our staff meetings, but we weren’t getting the results we hoped for. As we started to evaluate what went wrong, each time it came down to follow through.

For example, we didn’t have as many people show up to our Trunk-Or-Treat event because we didn’t do a good job of advertising it on social media.

We had volunteers who wouldn’t show up to serve because we weren’t sending weekly reminders.

We had people receive Jesus in their lives but would drop out of church shortly there after. The issue, we didn’t have a follow up process in place.

Over and over again, we traced our ineffectiveness not back to our ideas, but back to our lack of follow through.

The ideas are the easy part. It’s the implementation and evaluation of those ideas that determines their success.

So, if you feel like there are some areas of your life or ministry in which you’re failing, before you give up on the idea, make sure you’ve done the work of following through.

Are you seeing this in your life or ministry? Tell us about it in the comments below. Let’s motivate and learn from one another so that we can all be better. If this is your first time here, make sure to subscribe to the blog to get my latest video, plus tips on church growth, leadership and more delivered to your inbox each week.