5 Small-Thinking Church Myths You Need to Kill Today

5 Small-Thinking Church Myths You Need to Kill Today

Ever wonder what’s really holding you and your church back?

I think it’s often the myths you buy into that limit not only your potential, but tragically, the potential of your church.

Today, I launch a brand new podcast—The Canadian Church Leaders Podcast. It’s available for free on iTunes and GooglePlay.

On Episode 1, Jeff Brodie and I tackle what I call the top five Canadian church myths. All five myths are, generally speaking, widely held beliefs that on deeper reflection aren’t completely true. At least where Jeff and I serve at Connexus, we’ve been able to bust them. I’d love for you to give it a listen and even subscribe, even if you’re not Canadian. You may find it helpful because at a certain level, we’re all facing the same issues.

The reason myths are so dangerous is that myths, fully grown, become excuses.

The myths I outline below are ones we had to break through in our ministry at Connexus Church. The average church in Canada is about 75 people. Yesterday at Connexus, we saw over 1,200 people attend our campuses, plus several hundred more watching live online.

It’s not that we had a different start or any kind of ‘advantage.’ When I started ministry north of Toronto in the mid-’90s, one of the churches where I served had six people attending and an annual budget of $4000 (I tell more of that story in Preview Episode 2 here). To get to where God has brought us today definitely involved a whole lot of grace on God’s part. We also had to bust through many myths and tackle many obstacles people said were impossible.

Here are five myths we had to break through before they became excuses for a lack of progress. As we’ve said many times in this space, you can make excuses, or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.

You choose.

See if anything in this list ever shows up in the thinking around your table.

1. What Works There Won’t Work Here

You’ve heard it so many times. Maybe you’ve said it. “What works in the Bible-Belt/big-city/suburbs/fill-in-the-blank won’t work here.”

In my country, Canada, it plays out this way: What works in the U.S. won’t work in Canada.

Nine years ago when I launched Connexus Church (with many of the same people I’d worked with for over a decade in the area), we signed on as one of the first North Point Strategic Partners. People were both fascinated and critical, wondering how anything that originated in the Bible-belt of the U.S. could work in a postmodern, post-Christian Canada.

But surprisingly, it does work.

Whenever people ask me how much translates to north of the border, my answer is always the same: about 90 percent. We run Andy Stanley’s teaching via video and people love it. Imagine that…American video teaching working in Canada. (People also claim video teaching doesn’t work. So that’s two birds…one stone.) Sure, I also teach live. But attendance really doesn’t vary based on the communicator. And one of our physical locations is 100 percent video. Our online ministry is also 100 percent video.

Most of the model translates directly. So do the branding and marketing.

Occasionally, we won’t run a series because it’s explicitly American or cultural (we didn’t run Andy’s election messages or the Christian series because it addressed Bible-Belt issues). But for the most part, we run the model and our boots-on-the-ground team of staff and volunteers focus as much on the execution as the invention.

When it comes to what works where—it’s often your attitude that determines the outcome. One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Henry Ford, who said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Bang on.

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Carey Nieuwhof
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.