In a recent edition of his “Church and Culture” blog, pastor James Emery White suggested 20 possible reasons a church might be plateaued or in decline. He writes:
“Healthy churches, their veins coursing with the power of the Holy Spirit, are meant to grow! Maybe not all at the same pace, amount or regimen; but grow they will. Which leads to a simple question: You don’t have to ask yourself how to grow your church. You have to ask yourself what is keeping your church from growing.
Read through the list; if your church isn’t growing, I believe there is a reason. Maybe one of these is why:
• You aren’t praying for growth.
• Your location is counter-productive.
• You have unresolved divisions, tensions and discord within the staff and/or congregation.
• Your lead communicator does not have the spiritual gift of communication.
• You are methodologically, stylistically and strategically out of date.
• Your leader(ship) does not have the spiritual gift of leadership.
• You are watering down the message of the gospel.
• Your church structure stifles leadership, innovation and front-line decision-making.
• You have not taught, challenged or led the church to provide adequate financial resources.
• Your atmosphere is one of condemnation, exclusion, awkwardness or rejection instead of understanding, sensitivity, acceptance and grace.
• You are not attempting to connect with the next generation.
• Your mentality is oriented toward the already convinced and those in-house, not turned outward toward the skeptic and the unchurched.
• You do not pay attention to, sufficiently fund or appropriately staff your children’s ministry.
• Your front-door services and events are designed in such a way that people intuitively do not invite their unchurched friends to attend.
• You haven’t effectively strategized as to how to break through your next growth barrier, which tends to exist at around 70, 200, 500, 800, 1,200 and 1,800.
• Your mindset is that you have to do everything, be at the center of every Yay-God! story, and micro-manage—so your leadership becomes a bottle-neck.
• You are an 8 on a scale of 1-10, but instead of hiring 9s and 10s, your insecurity leads you to hire 6s and 7s.
• Your shoe is telling your foot how big it gets; meaning land, parking and seats.
• You do not make it easy to connect with others and get plugged in to ministry.
• Your vision has not exceeded your reality. (Click here to read the full article.)