Vision1Every pastor wants their church to grow.

No pastor sits around desiring for his church to stay exactly where it is and never grow.

Now before we go further, I am criticizing small churches. I love small churches. As I have talked with small church pastors, they all want their church to grow though.

The mission of a church should be to reach people and disciple people which results in growth so we should be about growth. We should try to grow.

So why is it that some churches are not growing?

Great question, glad you asked. Here are a few things that I believe can hinder a church from growing.

1. Lack of a clear and concise vision

People can get behind a church with a clear vision.

I believe every pastor knows what their church’s mission is and likely has some form of  vision. The problem is that not all leaders are good communicators of vision.

If you cannot recite your vision in a few simple and concise thoughts, rethink it and reevaluate it.

Our church’s mission is to reach as many people as possible and develop them into becoming committed followers of Christ. 

If we took a test in our church, we would want them to know this above anything else.

We accomplish this vision by encouraging every single person at our church to be involved in these three things:

  • Worship (Weekly worship Attendance)
  • Groups
  • Outreach (in our church and our community)

Everything we do as a church should fall into those three categories to support our mission of reaching and developing people.

You hear us talk about this all of the time. Our pastoral staff states our mission and vision with the individuals that they lead. We want everyone to know this.

Churches with clear and concise visions usually grow faster. [Click to Tweet]

If you do not have a concise vision and mission, your church likely has reached a peak for growth.

2. Your church thinks like a small church

Here is the reality, churches do not grow far when thinking like a small church.

The bigger the organization or church gets, the bigger it must think.

If you organize and behave like a small organization, you will be a small organization. [Click to Tweet]

When our campus started, we had 200 people on launch Sunday.Now, our campus runs 400 people. Our process, organization, and structure has had to change if we intend to host 400 people on a weekend.

We are changing processes and structures now to prepare our church to reach 600 people soon.

The reality is that as your church grows, your processes must reflect bigger.

Churches that never evaluate and change their processes are churches who likely struggle to grow.

3. Lack of strategic programming

I have grown up in a programmatic church. We had programs for everything.

Programs are not bad, but programs that do not support your vision are bad. [Click to Tweet]

If you have a bunch of programs that you cannot explain how they fit into your concise vision and mission, then your church may lack strategic programming.

Every program that we get behind as a church must mobilize our people to worship, groups, or outreach to fulfill our mission of reaching and developing people.

The problem with programs is that we tend to over program our churches to where we pull people out of what really matters and into our programs.

If your people cannot be in worship, group, or outreach (serving) because they are tied to a program your church has offered, maybe you need to rethink your programs.

Evaluate your programs and if you cannot concisely explain how they support your mission, kill them!

4. People pleasing leaders

Look, I am guilty of being a people pleaser so this one makes me cringe.

The problem is that people pleasing has never resulted in church growth for me.

As a parent, I do not always do what my kids want me to do. I have to do what I believe is best for them. Sometimes they do not like it, but it may be better for them and for our family in the long run.

The same is true of the church. You are the leader, the shepherd, the one that God has ordained and placed you to lead His flock.

Sometimes the congregation may not understand your decision, but if it is best for them in the long run, you better do it regardless of if they like it or not at the time.

Leadership requires you to make difficult decisions at times.

5. Lack of volunteer engagement and empowerment

If the pastoral staff is doing all of the work, you may have peaked as church. Your staff can only take you so far.

The churches that are growing bigger and bigger tend to engage and empower volunteers. [Click to Tweet]

This is why we track volunteer numbers every month. We believe that this is a good indication of us moving forward as a church.

The best leaders at our church are sitting in the seats.

Find them, engage them, and empower them to lead.

Engaging and empowering volunteers will take you further as a church than your church staff will ever take you.

Join the Conversation

So, what did you think? Yes, these can sound harsh, messy, and downright ugly, but they are things that I have seen and experienced in church life.

Church growth is difficult and requires you rise above certain things to achieve it.

What would you add to the list?

Join the conversation by commenting below.

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