The Seven Traits
The breakout churches, almost without exception, had seven common characteristics. Though I list them numerically here, for sequential purposes, I am not assigning priority by the rankings.
1. The pastor had a “wake-up” call. He stopped denying that his church had a challenge. He became determined, in God’s power, to lead the church to growth and greater health. He would no longer be satisfied with mediocrity in God’s church.
2. The church, under the pastor’s new leadership, developed clarity in its purpose. Most of the churches were previously activity focused. They were busy with the “what” without addressing the “why.”
3. The pastor began assembling the right team for a new era of leadership. That team would include either paid staff or unpaid laypersons.
4. The pastor developed a spirit of tenacity. He knew that the turnaround would not take place overnight. He followed a prayerful plan for the long haul.
5. One of the early moves in these churches was to focus more ministries outwardly. The wake-up call noted above included an awareness that most of the ministries of the church were for the comfort and desires of the members. The leaders began to change that reality.
6. The pastor and other leaders in the breakout churches had deep biblical faithfulness. They saw their mission emanating from God and written in His Word. That faithfulness was the push that moved them forward even in the midst of challenging times and potential discouragement.
7. The pastor invested more time in the preaching ministry. He realized the centrality of the preached Word and gave it more time and emphasis than any point previously.