August 19, 2014 Tony Morgan

The Bottom Line: Wishing More Churches Operated Like Businesses

Though my mission is to help churches get unstuck, I love the periodic opportunities I have to serve businesses…particularly when the owner is committed to Kingdom impact. Businesses are driven by the bottom line. They want to make money. They know that if they don’t make money, they will eventually go out of business.

Because they are so committed to the bottom line, I’ve found these characteristics are true of the businesses I’ve helped:

  • They track the bottom line. Everyone on the team knows whether or not their business is meeting their financial objectives.
  • If they aren’t making money, there’s a sense of urgency that change needs to happen.
  • When they do make money, they don’t settle. They’re always considering, “How can we reach more customers and grow the business?”
  • They are very focused. If something isn’t adding to the bottom line, they stop doing it.

Churches have a bottom line as well. Jesus defined it for us after his resurrection. He told his disciples:

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20, NLT)

I’ve had the opportunity to work firsthand with well over 100 churches in the last several years. I have the opportunity to interact with hundreds more through my writing, coaching, training, etc. And I can say, unashamedly, that I wish churches were as committed to their bottom line as businesses are to theirs.

Unfortunately, I’ve found these characteristics are true of way too many churches:

  • They don’t track their bottom line. Most people on the team don’t know whether or not the church is meeting its discipleship objectives.
  • If they aren’t growing, making disciples and baptizing new believers, many churches don’t have a sense of urgency that change needs to happen.
  • If there’s a sense that what they’re doing is working, churches tend to settle. They build ministries and programming around the people who are already at the church rather than considering, “How can we reach more people and grow the Kingdom?”
  • They are rarely focused. If something isn’t adding to the bottom line, it doesn’t matter. They keep doing it.

Churches have the world’s greatest mission, with eternity at stake. Shouldn’t we be doing anything possible to see lives changed forever?

That’s why I wish more churches operated like businesses. I wish they were more committed to their bottom line.

Photo Credit: Philippe Put via Compfight cc

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. 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.
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