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Why Most Churches Will Never Grow

August 14, 20235 min read

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

Henry Ford.

Why Most Churches Won't Grow

I know many of us have different views on church growth. Where I think most of us agree is that God wants to see His kingdom expand.

Here is the harsh reality I am about to expose:

The Senior Leaders Mindset is often the first lid on the future of the church.

I have worked with leaders who represent more than 1,000 churches in just the past 3 years. (That's crazy to say out loud. To God be the glory) And I see this principle over and over again.

The leaders mindset about church growth oftens sets the pace for the churches apostolic impulse.

Before I talk about the four mindsets, let me clarify something. When I speak of mindset I am not just talking about desire. This goes beyond whether or not a leader wants to grow. I think most leaders want to see the kingdom expand and the church grow.

Mindset is partially about wanting to grow, but it is more about how leaders are PURSUING GROWTH.

I am a firm believer that PURSUIT is the proof of DESIRE. Meaning that when we truly desire a thing, it is proven in our pursuit.

As leaders, we desperately want to see people pursue their relationship with God and we are frustrated by those who want God without being wiling to pursue Him.

I sense the same frustration with some leaders. If we are going to carry this era of the church, we must assess our mindsets.

As I explore this though, I notice that most leaders I meet fall into one of four mindsets:

Mindset 1: "Only God Can Add to the Church"

While this is true, most leaders misuse the context of the scripture in Acts 2. 

Yes, the LORD ADDED, bit it was connected to how the EARLY CHURCH ADDED first. As they did their parts, the Lord added people to a church He could trust.

The BIG flaw with this thinking, is that it can be a HUGE excuse for not trying.

I honestly think this posture has become the crutch of those of us who have tried and failed so many times, we have lost confidence in our ability to make a difference.

Mindset 2: "I'm Just Going to Do What God Called Me to DO."

This is also technically correct. But again, it can be taken out of the right context. 

We should all stick to what God has asked of us, however, we cannot neglect the general call that all leaders share.

The advancement of the kingdom and the sharing of the gospel is the responsibility of every believer.

Here is another really hard truth…

The church should NOT be limited to your gifting. 

Your gifting matters a lot as a senior leader, but the church should not be limited to what you do well or what you enjoy doing.

This is why so many churches fall apart when the leader faces challenges (sickness, scandal, etc.)

Mindset 3: "Just Preach Jesus"

Again, this is right! We must preach the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the core of our faith and the foundation of the church. "Upon This Rock…" the church is built.

Here is the issue with this mindset. Many leaders who say this only preach Jesus to the people in their congregations. Or even worse, they are preaching to the empty chairs in the church. 

The mandate is for us to preach Jesus "Until ALL Have Heard." This means preaching to the people who have NOT heard the gospel.

Also, preaching is not the end of the journey. People need to be developed and discipled. They need community, they need to serve, they need to give and support causes. 

If all you give people is preaching, don't be surprised when all you get are church attenders.

Mindset 4: "Partners In The Gospel"

Leaders with this mindset have embraced that they MUST be the hands and feet of Jesus.

They see their role as partners with Jesus to impact the world and expand the kingdom of God.

I believe this to be the correct biblical posture of church leaders.

Church leaders MUST BE BIG PICTURE THINKERS. They cannot build Kingdom Culture based on their own personality or preferences.

Leaders with a Kingdom Partnership Mindset understand that only Jesus can transform a heart, but He will use our outreach events, discipleship programs, worship services, evangelism efforts and more to do it.

It's His Victory but its our Swords.

I know I probably ruffled some feathers with this, but the stakes are too high for us to dance around sensitivities.

I believe in the church as God's plan A and there is no plan B.

With Love,

A Simple Servant Named Henry

P.S. One of the hardest things I have had to do was to walk with a leader who is about to close the doors of their church. I see the regret and disappoint he carries because he waited to long to get help. That's a part of the burden I bring to this conversation.

I welcome your feedback and your wisdom whether you agree or disagree with me. I think it's important that we have the conversation so we can chart a course forward.

If you know a church leader who needs help, I just opened up some spaces for three senior leaders. I want to work with them to help get things back on track before it's too late. Just click here to start the conversation. I will only work with people who are serious about moving into mindset 4.

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Henry Tolbert

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