Three Major Reasons Why Churches Are Not Growing

Aug 6, 2018

Here’s the dirty little secret about church leaders - nearly every single one of them want their church to grow.  

This isn’t just something I THINK is true - I’ve had the privilege of traveling all over the world and meeting church leaders from nearly every theological and philosophical ideaology - and that whole “Great Commission” idea Jesus came up with seems to still be resounding in the hearts of leaders whose hearts are connected to His.  

So, if this is what so many church leaders want - why isn’t it happening.  

Why are the overwhelming majority of churches in America (somewhere between 80-90%) either plateaued or declining?  

There are various reasons - but I want to focus on three...

#1 - Church Growth Shaming

In the 1990’s (when I was just stepping into church world) and in the early 2000’s there was actually a popular profession in church world called, “Church Growth Consultant.”  These were men or women churches would hire to come in and bring a fresh, outside perspective on the church and help them to put a strategic plan in place in order to reach more people. 

However, at some point in mid 2000’s the “missional movement” took over.  (“Missional meant, “Our church isn’t actually reaching anyone, but we need a cool name to call ourselves so we don’t feel bad about not making Jesus’ last command our first priority!”)  

(OK - I might have made that definition up!)  

Because of this movement (as well as a few other factors), pastors of churches that wanted to grow were nearly shamed into silence.  They were called “selfish,” or even accused of being “in it for the money.”  

And, rather than take merciless beatings from random strangers on the new phenomenon called social media that was emerging at the time - so many pastors simply chose to keep their desire to reach more people to themselves so that “bibleboy182” with 42 followers on Twitter would not say mean things about them.  

Let me be very clear to pastors and church leaders - it’s NOT evil or sinful for you to want to see more people have a life changing encounter with Jesus and then walk with Him for the rest of their lives.  (In fact, I would argue it’s a bit twisted to be a leader in a world changing organization, the church, and not want to participate in that change as well.)  

If you are a church leader and want your church to grow - OWN IT!  It starts with YOU!  (And…if you can’t own it—then “shut it” when it comes to leaders who actually DO want to grow their church—don’t project your insecurity (and disobedience) onto them!  

#2 - Imitation 

I am a BIG believer in learning as much as possible from as many people as possible.  

However, while I experience motivation because of what others are doing - I do my best to not slip into “imitation mode” (this is where I believe if I do exactly what another church did - I will get the exact same results they got as well.)  

If you are a church leader - then God called YOU to lead.  

You’ve got what it takes to lead!  

And - I would be willing to bet my last Bible you have an idea or two that you’ve never articulated (because it’s a bit scary) - but if you did, the people you lead would follow—and your church would see incredible results.  

I learned a long time ago the Lord didn’t call me to do it exactly like someone else was doing it.  He has wired us all with unique gifting and callings - and the more we lean into REVELATION instead of imitation, the greater the results will be in our churches.  

#3 - Don’t Know How

I recently purchased some video editing software - it’s supposed to be one of the top programs on the market.  

Here’s the problem - I don’t know how to use it!  

I’ve watched YouTube tutorial videos - and they made me feel like such an idiot (lots of language I didn’t understand.)  

I downloaded the PDF and…DEAR GOD…over 150 pages, and most of it completely foreign to me.  

So - I know a guy who is quite prolific in using this program, called him and arranged for me to spend two days with him for him to show me, step by step, how to get this done.  

It’s quite simple - I want to learn something, I don’t know how - so I arranged (and will pay) for someone to show me.  

If you don’t know how to grow your church - IT DOES NOT mean you are stupid…or even unable.  It most likely means you are so busy working in the church you hardly have any time to work on it.  

However, I can assure you that taking the time for you and your team to put a plan into place to grow and then having your team execute the plan they actually had input into will absolutely reignite fire and passion inside you, your team and your church unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.  

Which brings me to a couple of options…

#1 - You and your staff should attend our upcoming online church growth conference.  

Here’s the deal - I know how INCREDIBLE it is as a leader to go to a conference/event - get your tank completely filled and then come back and try to fire up your team—only to have your newfound passion seemingly hit a wall.  Because they did not experience what you experienced - they can’t feel what you felt.

However, to take numerous staff and volunteers to an event takes a lot of time and money.  There are hotels, meals, airplane tickets - it literally can become a big ticket financial item before you know it.  

Which is why this online event is $49 per church—period.  Doesn’t matter if you have 5 or 50 people in the room,, the cost is $49 (until this coming Wednesday night, August 8 - where, at midnight, the price increases to $79.) 

I will be covering three sessions in the conference…

  • Session #1 - Why You Should Not Feel Bad About Wanting Your Church To Grow (Pastors, trust me - this session is worth the price of the event itself, especially if you can get your staff and key volunteers bought into this idea.)  
  • Session #2 - What’s The Reason Many Churches Have Stopped Growing (and why are millennials dropping out of church in record numbers?)  
  • Session #3 - The Three Foundation Issues Your Church Must Address If You Want Your Church To See Long Term, Exponential Growth. 

The times and dates for this event are all at - and, like I said, it’s $49 until Wednesday.  

(BTW - if you want to attend the event live there is very limited seating available.  We will only have a live audience on Wednesday, August 15 at 9:30am - and after the sessions we will treat you to an incredible lunch with a Q & A session - these seats are selling rather quickly, so if you want one you’d better grab it!)  

#2 - You and your staff should schedule a private workshop ASAP.  

One of the things I love to do as a leader is really take a deep dive into a church, listen to the heart of the leader and his/her team and then come along side and help develop 6-12 month strategic plan that really will result in healthy, sustainable growth.  

Usually a pastor will come in and bring anywhere between 3-5 team members - and by the end of the day the energy and excitement in the room is off the charts because we’ve been able to take what was in the hearts of the leaders and literally put on paper a way to make vision become reality.  

If you are interested in this (we have limited spots this fall) - then you can go to and then hit the “schedule a call” button in the upper right hand corner - fill out the information and then Logan will get in touch with you ASAP (if she’s not been abducted by aliens.)  

At the end of the day - I REALLY want to see your church reach more people - and if there is any way at all I can be a part of that process, I would be honored to be involved.  These are the two primary things I will be focusing on for the next month or two in order to be able to pour into as many church leaders as possible - so, if one (or both) of them are something you are interested in - then let’s make something happen!  

Your church can grow - your church should grow - and we would love to help.