Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions 5 Hard Truths About Healthy Church Growth

5 Hard Truths About Healthy Church Growth

Like any living organism, churches go through seasons. Sometimes that means a healthy church will stall out or even decline for a season.

That can be because of a leadership change, hitting a new growth barrier, the need for systems to catch up to where the church has grown, and sometimes, for no clear reason at all (some of this truly is mystery).

But healthy churches recover from that plateau or decline, adjust the sails and continue on with their mission.

You may be in decline for a season, but seasons have beginnings and endings.

If your church’s prolonged season of decline has no end, it’s not a season. You’re in decline.

This is the case for a lot of churches. If that’s the case, it’s best for a leader to name reality and admit that there are deeper issues that have to be addressed.

If you want some deeper insight into why churches don’t grow, my book Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow may help.

I also created a Lasting Impact Team Edition video series to help pastors and their teams walk through the issues that are keeping a lot of churches from healthy growth.

5. Healthy Leaders Produce Growing Healthy Churches

I’ve been leading in the local church for 20 years. We’ve had seasons where we’ve seen 30 percent growth year after year, and seasons where it’s been flatlined.

Over the last two decades, we’ve gone from a handful of people to over 1,200 today (plus more online), with a new location launching this month. Most of the people who come to our church for the first time self-identify as having no regular church attendance background.

When I look back at almost 23 years of leadership, I see a trend. When I wasn’t healthy, neither was our church.

Even in seasons where our church was growing, that growth wasn’t the healthiest (lots of turn over) when I wasn’t the healthiest.

Unhealthy leaders can’t lead healthy churches. Not over the long haul.

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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.