Believe it or not, pastors can actually kill church growth even when they want it desperately. Over the last 10 years, I’ve had the privilege of consulting with hundreds of churches on leadership development, strategic planning, church construction and church growth.
Most of the time, church leaders want to focus on what they should do to grow their church. In reality, the quickest way to get your church unstuck is to STOP doing a few things.
Here are six things pastors do to kill church growth:
1. Stop using positive reinforcement as a guide or you’ll kill church growth.
Everyone loves a pat on the back; I know I do. If, however, your church is stuck, you can’t use people’s affirmation of the work you’re doing as an indicator of success.
The truth is, your church is perfectly designed to be the size it is right now. That means, for church growth to happen, you’re going to have to make changes.
Resistance always accompanies change. Hopefully, you will continue to receive affirmation, but don’t count on it. Use resistance as your guide. If what you’re doing feels good, you’re probably not doing it right.
2. Stop reinventing the wheel or you’ll kill church growth.
Every pastor who has ever planted a church has probably had the thought that they were going to revolutionize the church. I think God gives that audacity to make them crazy enough to do it.
Whether you’re planting a church or you’re replanting one, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Yes, you’ll have leadership tactics that are unique to you and your church, but you also need a strategy. You can borrow that strategy from other churches that have already done what you’re trying to do. Every moment you spend re-inventing how to grow a church is another moment you’ll spend in the “early struggle” phase of growing a church.
The trick is to get out of that phase as quickly as possible.
3. Stop letting people do you favors or you’ll kill church growth.
For years, I led a parking team at my church. If I’m being honest, I can tell you for much of that time I was helping out because that’s where the church needed help. That’s not a terrible thing, but it did leave me with the feeling that I was doing my church a favor.
Now I lead a high school small group every Sunday. I’m volunteering four times as much, and the idea of doing “favors” hasn’t crossed my mind. The reason is because I’m in the right spot now.
If you don’t have a solid process for helping people discover and serve in their area of gifting and passion, you’ll always have a crowd of people who aren’t really committed to service. They’re just doing favors, and there is no real passion in that.