Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 5 Surprising Characteristics of Churches That Are Actually Reaching the Next Generation

5 Surprising Characteristics of Churches That Are Actually Reaching the Next Generation

3. Progress over Facilities

Several of the churches I’ve visited this year are multisite. And they don’t have massive facilities from which to launch new locations.

Next Level Church in New Hampshire is reaching almost 3,000 people over six locations. Their largest facility is a 14,000-square-foot campus that’s a converted auto repair shop. They’ve done a fantastic job remodelling it, but they’ve done it on a dime and it only seats 400 people. They’re reaching almost 3,000 people out of that space across six locations.

It’s not the 10 million-dollar facility you’d think you need to have to reach 3,000 people, but that’s not what Joshua Gagnon, their lead pastor, is focused on. (By the way, I was recently a guest on Josh’s leadership podcast. Perhaps my favourite interview I’ve given. Raw and so real.)

Josh’s passionate, can-do, no-excuses attitude is in part what’s led them to become one of the 10 fastest growing churches in America.

Ditto for National Community Church in D.C. They’re doing a superb job reaching young adults with very small permanent facilities. And they’re adding an eighth location without first building out the space they already have.


4. Risk over Certainty

All of the churches I know that are doing a great job with young adults take risks. Big risks.

They’re either at odds with their denomination (I’ve seen a few of these) or are launching locations where no one else would dare plant a church.

They’re figuring out how to accommodate parking and even children’s ministry after they’ve made the decision to open or move. They just want to see the kingdom advance.

And the young adults they’re reaching seem fine with the uncertainty. They just want more space and more locations to invite their friends to.

Lesson? If you’ve got growth and momentum but you’re waiting for certainty before you determine what’s next, you might be waiting too long.

Just act.

5. Mission over Money

The question for many churches is this: Does mission follow money, or does money follow mission?

Great question.

The churches I know that are doing a great job with young adults would say ‘money follows mission.’

Do the mission well, and money shows up.

In fact, if you lead with the mission first, everything else shows up: people, money and the resources you need.

Too many churches wait for the day when they have the money to realize their mission.

Realize your mission, and you’ll have the money you need.

What Do You See?

What do you see in churches that are reaching the next generation?

If you want more, listen to my interview with Geoff Surratt on his forthcoming book on churches that reach millennials. His findings (while in beta) are fascinating.  

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.