December 19, 2013 Tony Morgan

36 Trends I See In Healthy, Growing Churches

I’ve been in and around growing churches for more than fifteen years now. Here are some consistent trends I’ve noticed in churches that experience health and growth:

  1. Priority in pointing people to a relationship with Jesus
  2. Bible-centered teaching that addresses real life topics
  3. Empowering leadership cultures
  4. Big, clear vision for the future
  5. Intentional strategy to reach people outside the faith
  6. Artists released to leverage their creative gifts
  7. Focused discipleship strategy with clearly-defined next steps
  8. Staff-driven leadership with lay leader advice and accountability
  9. Welcoming, friendly environment for first-time guests
  10. Healthy systems around core next steps
  11. Unity
  12. Disciplines to plan for the future
  13. Willingness to change
  14. Simplicity rather than complexity in ministry programming
  15. Ability to capture and share stories of life change
  16. Disdain for mediocrity
  17. Path for new believers to take their first steps
  18. Distinctives from other churches
  19. Written and well-executed communications strategy
  20. Children’s environments and programming that attracts young families
  21. Routinely say “no” to initiatives that would divert focus
  22. Generosity is valued and modeled
  23. Balance doing ministry and maintaining healthy souls
  24. Volunteers empowered to lead and use their gifts
  25. Strong senior leadership teams
  26. Grace prevails allowing people to come as they are
  27. Appropriate conflict and biblical conflict resolution
  28. Culture that encourages people to invite their friends
  29. Clear next steps at the conclusion of every message
  30. An aversion to religion and religious people
  31. Intentional focus to encourage healthy marriages and relationships
  32. Missions and evangelism aren’t programs–it’s a lifestyle
  33. Metrics to measure impact
  34. Expect the ministry to reproduce itself through multi-site and/or church planting
  35. Boundaries are established to protect corporate and individual integrity
  36. Execute on their plans

There are certainly other trends, but these were the first that came to mind.

What I will add, though, is that there’s a lot written and discussed on how church should be done. Some of that is based on one person’s philosophy or one church’s experience. I tend to be biased to trends I’ve seen over many churches and many years. This list reflects that.

What’s your experience? What would you add to this list?

Photo Credit: Môsieur J. [version 9.1] via Compfight cc

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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