Are We Missing Out?
Your church does some good stuff. So does mine.
But what if we could be doing a lot more good? What if our current practice was like pushing a tractor to plow a field instead of driving it?
And what if the key to revolutionary improvement was remembering the oft-forgotten part of the Trinity?
Are we missing out on what the Holy Spirit wants to do in and through us?
Thought-provoking video from Francis Chan:
So what do you think? Is this our situation? …If so, how can we fix it?
5 Reasons Churches Don’t Grow (part 2)
*If you missed the first 2 reasons, you can find them here.
Here are 3 more growth inhibitors for your consideration:
- Placing outreach at the periphery, not the center
There’s a huge difference between cobbling together a few programs and making outreach the center of everything. If leadership communicates (whether actively or passively) that a church exists for something other than saving lost people, saving lost people becomes extra credit. And nobody puts the same effort into extra credit that they put into the exam.
- Lack of Prayer
In the end, it’s God who gives growth, right? …So why aren’t we praying for conviction and transformation more fervently? (And quick mentions in opening prayers don’t count.) Could it be God’s just waiting for a sincere invitation?
- No Vision
In the words of the Apostle Paul, “if the trumpet does not sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” Without a clear, compelling, shared picture of what could and should be, people won’t mobilize in a common direction.
Sure, vision can be tough to craft and tough to cast. It requires time away from what’s urgent. It sometimes takes tough conversations among leaders. But Paul was right—no vision means no victory.
So what would happen if we eliminated these 5 things from our churches? What would happen if we embraced helpful change, pursued radical Christlikeness, anchored our identity in outreach, relied on God through prayer, and set before our congregations an irresistible vision of lives changed for the glory of God?
I bet a church or two would grow.
Let’s do it.
5 Reasons Churches Don’t Grow (part 1)
Two realities for your consideration:
a) Most churches want to grow.
b) Most churches aren’t growing.
It’s no secret that growth proves elusive for many congregations. The question is, why? I think there are at least 5 reasons.
- A strong resistance to change
Hey—I get it. Change is uncomfortable for everybody. And sure, the moment we change the gospel we’ve sinned. But come on; growth is change. So a desire for growth and a resistance to change are competing forces. And when both are present, usually the latter wins.
And any church that’s not growing is foolish if they think they’re magically going to start growing without doing something (or several things) differently. Whether it’s dropping a beloved program (or six), doing outreach that makes them uncomfortable, making changes in their worship services, being more intentional about creating on-fire disciples, or a hundred other possibilities, something is going to have to change before their lack of growth changes.
We act like the guy that wants to lose weight and get in shape without significantly altering his lifestyle. Um, not going to happen. (Believe me, I know.)
- A Lazy Christlikeness
It’s kind of like this picture:
Sure; Christ calls us to be like Him—to love the marginalized, to serve the needy, to sacrificially and selflessly represent God to the world. But come on—can’t we just point to him and say, "Yeah—what He did. Ditto." Isn’t that a lot easier?
Sure it is. But it results in churches full of people who are much better at telling others what Jesus was like than they are at showing others what Jesus was like. Unfortunately, I’ve missed the mark on this one way too often.
Maybe we all need to remember that God says, “Be holy, because I am holy.” Not, “Talk about how holy I am.”
Tune in tomorrow for numbers 3, 4, and 5. Any thoughts on these two?