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10 possible reasons why your church is not growing

10 possible reasons why your church is not growing

Carey Nieuwhof details 10 reasons you church might not be growing:

Every time church growth surfaces as a subject, some leaders defensive. What’s wrong with small churches? Why are so many people obsessed with growth? And then people go hyper-spiritual 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 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).

Here is number 1 (see the rest at the blog):

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, non-confrontation and dealing with anyone but the party involved.

Growing churches handle conflict biblically, humbling (sic) and healthily



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Adam Wood

re: What I see in the Episcopal Church

(from my limited view in one particular parish and diocese)

>1. You’re in Conflict


>2. You’re more in love with the past than you are with the future.


>3. You’re not that awesome to be around

This varies. But most “All Are Welcome” church types have no idea how unwelcoming they seem to outsiders (who are, by the way, the only people qualified to have an opinion about how welcoming something is).

>4. You’re focused on yourself

-More talk about the Episcopal Church than about Jesus and the Gospel

-More talk about how people need “this wonderful community” than about how people need grace and salvation

-An unhealthy amount of insider baseball

>5. You think culture is the enemy

Unlike in conservative denominations, this is almost never expressed explicitly. And it probably isn’t thought of consciously by most people.

However, I would argue that people who trace the 20th Century’s decline in religiosity and denominational affiliation to “cultural forces” rather than to specific failures of the Church are veering into this territory.

>6. You’re afraid to risk what is for the sake of what might be

YES – Except I would replace “what is” with “what we perceive to be, whether that has any basis in reality or not.”

>7. You can’t make a decision


>8. You talk more than you act.

That’s pretty much the same as #7, and yes.

>9. You don’t think there’s anything wrong with your church

Or you diagnose problems in a way that absolves the organization of any guilt and deflects responsibility, so that you can “work on” things without making any actual changes to anything remotely meaningful.

>10. You’re more focused on growth than you are on God

Well, hey – at least there’s one thing on this list we’re not doing.

But I would add my own #10:

Ignoring or punishing anyone who brings any of this stuff up.

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