Browsing: Growing Strategies

Growing Strategies church-attendance-strategy-input-1-002
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What are some potential indicators that your church may have back door issues?

Declining weekend worship attendance numbers; lots of new families registering in kids ministry but overall attendance staying flat; and number of giving units and/or per capita giving decreasing — just to name a few. But what’s the root cause of the issue? Here are a few I’ve seen throughout the years, along with some suggestions for addressing them.

Growing Strategies church-attendance-care-welcoming
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They were ready for us. They created an experience that drew us in, and all of our lives were changed forever in the days and years going forward. Their front door, the weekend experience, was welcoming, warm and just what this tired, spiritually disconnected family needed. However, if I take a step back, what they really did right is what I believe is the biggest barrier to the front doors of our churches.

Growing Strategies church-guests-connect-attendance
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Is it possible that in our attempts to connect with guests, we actually push people away by feeling corporate and transactional? Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for following up personally with as many people as possible. But the way we go about it sets the tone for our relationships with them. Simply asking for contact info and sending some one-way scripted messages (even on a phone call) is far from making a connection.

Growing Strategies church-attendance-small-groups
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“A big reason why we have small groups is to close the back door of the church.” Most church leaders would probably agree with this statement. After all, we know that if people are not connected in the church, they will eventually drift out of the church. So, we design our groups strategy to catch them as soon as possible. It is important that people in our church get connected in community, but we’re missing a critical evangelism opportunity if that’s our only plan for small groups.

Growing Strategies church-attendance-back-door-front-challenge-conversation
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Back in October, I was a guest on Carey Nieuwhof’s Leadership Podcast. During our conversation, we talked how to diagnose an attendance plateau or decline as a “front door” or a “back door” challenge. In this new series, we’ll dig a little deeper into different “front door” and “back door” challenges churches may be facing, and discuss how to move forward in healthy ways.

Growing Strategies leadership-podcast-church-complexity-reduce
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In this episode of The Leadership Unstuck Podcast, I talk to Joe Dobbins, Lead Pastor of Twin Rivers Worship Center in St. Louis, Missouri about reducing complexity within churches. Churches often get stuck because they are trying to do too much. That’s why it’s crucial to identify and stop programs that are not working. You’ll hear Joe’s story, and Ryan and I talk through a framework for reducing complexity in your own church.

Growing Strategies church-attendance-every-sunday
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It is no secret that people are attending church less frequently than ever before. Even faithful Christian families may only be there a couple weekends each month. The reason for this seems to be the same in every geographic region: Competition. Not competition with other churches but with other activities. Sunday used to be a protected day on our culture’s calendar. Now it is fair play for youth sports, lake days, work, and more.

Growing Strategies church-services-strategy
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When you love a strategy more then you love the mission you’ve got the right recipe for a declining church. When the strategy stops working it’s not time to give up on the mission, it’s time to employ a new strategy. The mission of the Church is not to get a bunch of people in a big room at one time for a great show. The mission of the church is to help people meet Jesus. Don’t get those two things confused.

Growing Strategies church-attendance-decline-2
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Whenever I walk into a church facing attendance decline, a common theme emerges. The leaders are concerned that people are attending services less frequently. They’ll explain that regulars used to show up every week, but now they’re attending only once or twice a month. Rather than panic about attendance patterns; let me offer these proactive next steps you could take to encourage people to show up more often.

Growing Strategies front-back-door-challenge
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I recently had the opportunity to be a guest on Carey Nieuwhof’s Leadership Podcast. During our conversation, we talked about some metrics to help a church determine whether or not it’s facing a “front door” or a “back door” challenge. I’ve had several people contact me after that conversation asking for more information. With that in mind, here’s a little more context and some practical next steps for you to consider.

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