5 Significant Attitude Differences That Separate Growing and Declining Churches

So what’s the difference between a growing church and a declining church?

Well, there are many, but one of the biggest differences I see is the attitude of the leaders.

The leaders of growing churches almost always share a common attitude.

So do the leaders of declining churches.

And the attitude has a huge influence over the results each church sees.

Attitude may or may not be everything, but it’s close.

Here are five attitude differences I see again and again in growing churches and declining churches.

1. We Can vs. We Can’t

Perhaps the biggest difference I see between growing churches and declining churches is the attitude around what’s possible.

Growing churches believe they can.

Declining churches believe they can’t.

They’re both right.

One of my all time favorite quotes is Henry Ford’s “Whether you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” He’s correct.

Growing churches make a way when there’s no way, which seems to be what God specializes in if you read the Bible.

Growing churches make a way when there’s no way, which is something God specializes in.

When you sit around your leadership table, do you come up with 20 ways to make it happen, or 20 reasons why it won’t work? That tells you far more about your church than you probably want it to.

Growing churches believe they can. It’s that simple. And even if they’re wrong, at least they tried. The mission is important enough to take significant risk.

Growing churches believe they can. Declining churches believe they can’t. They’re both right.

2. Them vs. Us

Declining churches focus on themselves.

Growing churches focus on the people they’re trying to reach.

If your leadership table conversations are all about the needs and wants of your members, it’s a sign that your church is insider focused.

The mission of the church is to reach the world. Growing churches not only know that; they live it.

Besides, who likes to hang out with selfish people?

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Carey Nieuwhof
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.

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