Every church wants to grow. Pastors don’t always talk about it (especially when their church isn’t growing) but deep down they want the church to grow the way it did in Acts 2 – with the Lord adding to their number daily. When growth isn’t happening some pastors will take on a critical attitude toward growing churches, “they’re just watering down to gospel to attract people.” Others will make excuses with good biblical references, “we are pruning in order to grow” (I’ve used that one). There’s a degree of truth in those sentiments. Sadly, some churches will sacrifice faithfulness for popularity and pruning (though painful) is often necessary. But the real reason that churches don’t grow is that the leadership makes mistakes.
In 2009 Geoff Surrat published an insightful and honest examination of the 10 Stupid Things Churches That Keep Churches From Growing. Here’s Geoff’s list.
Trying to do it all
Establishing the wrong role of the pastor’s family
Providing a second rate worship experience
Settling for low quality in Children’s Ministry
Promoting talent over integrity
Clinging to a bad location
Copying another successful church
Favoring discipline over reconciliation
Mixing ministry and business
Letting committees steer the ship
When I first read the book my initial reaction was “ouch – I’ve done 9 out of 10.” I recently reread the book and four years later, I may be up to 10 out of 10 – but I am learning!
If you are in church leadership take a look at the list. How many of the 10 Stupid Things have you done? What else would you add to the list?