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8 Reasons Your Church Is Stuck

One of the free eBooks I released in 2011 focused specifically on the reasons churches get stuck. Shortly after I released this eBook, I highlighted the eight barriers to health that I routinely see in dead and declining ministries. The post must have caught your attention, because it became the #4 most popular article in 2011.

8 Reasons Your Church is Stuck

A couple of weeks ago, I released my newest eBook, The Leisure Suit Trap: 8 Reasons Your Church Is Stuck. As I’ve had the opportunity to interact and work with churches over the last several years, there are some common themes. These are the challenges that churches typically face when ministry starts to plateau or decline. Here are…

8 Reasons Your Church Is Stuck

  1. You lack a leadership empowerment plan. We have failed as leaders in the church if we do not embrace the unique gift-mix that God designed. And we won’t fully know the power and impact of the local church until people are empowered to be the people God wired them up to be.
  2. You are unclear about your vision and mission. There are lots of churches with vision statements, but I don’t think there are very many churches that really have a vision statement that clarifies who they are as an organization. A clear vision that is properly communicated will both rally and repel people.
  3. You blame outsiders and external factors. Victim-thinking will only lead to bitterness and competition. Leaders who blame outsiders and external factors actually are confessing their own failure to think creatively and inspire their team.
  4. Your structure inhibits growth. One of the attributes of a church in decline is a complex structure. The natural tendency of organizations is to add complexity to their structure and systems. The longer an organization exists, the more complex it typically gets.
  5. You worship your past success. Our past successes can be one of the greatest contributing factors to our future demise. When organizations stick to “the way we do it,” the safe approach of avoiding innovation and change becomes the riskiest approach.
  6. You focus on activities instead of outcomes. While many church leaders are full of vision and passion, they lack an effective strategy to accomplish their mission. That leads to a feeling of disorganization, and ultimately, they become stuck.
  7. You fail to equip God’s people. For whatever reason, smaller churches I work with have a tendency to rely on the pastors and paid staff to carry the ministry load rather than equipping lay people.
  8. Your ministries ignore people outside the church. When churches become inward-focused and start making decisions about ministry to keep people rather than reach people, they also start to die.

God wants you to have a healthy ministry that helps people experience life change through a relationship with Jesus. There are hurting people in your communities that need what your church can offer. Don’t settle for anything short of that.  

Thanks to my partnership with Church Community Builder, you may download the full eBook for free. When you do that, you’ll also be supporting a great cause. In exchange for their sponsorship of The Leisure Suit series, Church Community Builder has made a very generous donation to Engage Burkina.

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Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.