In the church world we have a measurement problem. Not necessarily with finances or attendance, but with the one thing we’re tasked with doing: making disciples.This raises a fairly important question: What does spiritual progress look like, and how can we help people recognize movement in their own journey? Here are six indicators that someone is growing spiritually…
Browsing: Growing Strategies
It’s so much easier to read the headlines — to watch the show and allow the stereotypes to create monsters out of the people coming behind us — than it is to listen. If we refuse to engage on a personal level with the people we go before, our churches will never succeed in reaching Millennials.
You might be spreading yourself too thin… I’m always fascinated when I hear about research that brings more clarity to how God has created our brains. Recently I listened to a podcast interview with Robin Dunbar about our relational capacity. I can’t help but think about how we could be applying these findings to ministry strategy.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“Our customer is the problem. That’s why we’re not making any money.”
Sounds like a surefire way to run a business, doesn’t it? Organizations like that don’t keep their doors open for long. Yet it’s the very mindset holding many church leaders back.