7 Church Growth Barriers Every Church Needs to Know

4) Programs Over People Barrier to Church Growth

Programs over people can become a reality in a church of any size, but this tends to be a more common barrier in larger and megachurches. It’s not intentional; in fact, it comes from the natural pressure to bring excellence to programming.

Ministry program excellence is important, but we can’t let it crowd out love and care for individual people.

Program over people shows up in little things that are important things. Such as phone calls not being returned, it becomes difficult to volunteer, and the systems for next steps are complicated.

There is no perfect solution here. It’s impossible for very large churches to give large amounts of time to everyone. The most important thing we can do, however, is to give genuine individualized care to as many as we can. That helps ignite the culture so that this caring attitude has a way of continuing amongst the people.

5) Slipping From Relevance Barrier to Church Growth

Change is essential. The message of Jesus never changes but our methods, style and approach must always adapt to the needs of the current culture.

In more extreme cases, when entering an outdated church environment, it’s like walking into a time warp. It causes those who visit to question if the leadership understands how to navigate current culture.

There has never been a greater time or higher need for innovation in the church. From digital opportunities to new approaches in church planting.

Talk with people who don’t attend church and brainstorm new ideas. It might be technology, your worship service or your kid’s ministry, etc. What needs to be done to remain salt and light in your community?

6) Underdeveloped Leaders Barrier to Church Growth

Without more and better leaders, your church can’t continue to grow.

If your vision is big and bold, it requires more leaders to help realize that vision. These leaders need to be developed and empowered.

Your leaders need continued training, development and encouragement to keep rising to their potential as well as remain aligned with the vision of the church.

Here are a couple of posts that will help you develop your leaders:

  1. Develop Your Leaders
  2. Empower Your Leaders

7) Jesus Is Sidelined in All the Busyness.

At a theological level, it’s impossible for Jesus to be sidelined in any way.

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Colossians 1:15-18

And yet, it’s true that a church can become so busy with people, processes, programs, problems, etc. that Jesus is no longer the recognized head of the body and the established supremacy. When this happens, certainly unintentionally, we lose the Holy Spirit’s power that is needed for true spiritual change and subsequent growth.

Jesus must always be lifted up!

This article originally appeared here.

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Dan Reiland
Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.

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