Sometimes you and I make life out to be more mysterious than it actually is.
You ask why you keep getting speeding tickets (why me God?!?) when the simple truth is you usually speed.
You ask why your friendships are so conflicted when the truth is you gossip.
You wonder why your kids don’t talk to you when the truth is you haven’t been around to build a relationship in the first place.
Often, problems whose origins seem mysterious to us are really not that mysterious to others. We just can’t see the truth.
The same is true for many of us who want our church to reach new people and are puzzled why that just isn’t happening.
Maybe it’s not as mysterious as we think.
A few things first and a motive check.
Every time church growth surfaces as a subject, some leaders get defensive. What’s wrong with small churches? Why are so many people obsessed with growth? And then people go hyperspiritual and start quoting scripture verses to justify why church growth is a bad thing.
I write posts like this because I love the mission of the church, and I truly believe Jesus is the hope of the world.
I have met with countless church leaders who want their church to grow for great reasons (because they love Jesus and believe people’s lives are changed by him) but are puzzled at why their churches aren’t growing. That’s why I write posts like this. (If you want more posts on growth, you can check out 8 Reasons Most Churches Never Make It Past the 200 Attendance Mark and 6 Keys to Breaking the 200, 400 and 800 Attendance Barriers).
And, yes, I have also met church leaders who want their church to grow for questionable reasons too. God knows the hearts of people, and just because some people might want a church to grow because because of ego does not mean all growth is bad.
And, in the end, healthy things grow. The mission of the church at its best throughout the centuries has been an outward mission focused on sharing the love Jesus has for the world with the world.
That’s why this matters to me (and to so many of you).
So with that in mind, here’s a list of 10 things that might be holding your church back from realizing the potential of its mission. We’re often the last to see what so many others see, and once we see it, we can deal with it. Progress often ensues.
Here are 10 very possible reasons your church isn’t growing:
1. You’re in conflict.
Ever been in someone’s home as a guest only to have your hosts start to argue with each other? It doesn’t happen that often, but the few times it’s happened when I’ve been around have made me want to run out the door.
Why would church be any different? If you’re constantly bickering and arguing, why would any new people stay? It’s not that Christians shouldn’t have conflict, but we should be the best in the world at handling it. The New Testament is a virtual manual of conflict resolution, but so many of us prefer gossip, nonconfrontation and dealing with anyone but the party involved.
Growing churches handle conflict biblically, humbly and healthily.
2. You’re more in love with the past than you are with the future.
This can be true of churches that are in love with tradition and churches that have had some amazing days recently. When leaders become more in love with the past than they are with the future, the end is near.
If your church is a museum to 1950 or even 2012, the likelihood of reaching the next generation diminishes with every passing day.