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My Church Isn’t Growing. The Most Often Overlooked Reason.

When pastors get frustrated because they do not see the results they want, they often fill in the narrative with excuses to ease their failure, or at least I know I do.

I’ve frequently justified my situation by saying things like:

They’re just using gimmicks to draw a crowd. When the shine fades, so will the people.

Of course, they’re getting those results; look at all the resources they have!

They’re not really preaching the gospel. They’ve compromised.

Just wait; the real story will come out.

Could those be true? Of course!

We’ve all seen scenarios where one or more of those held true. The bigger problem is not what they’re doing but what they’re doing to me. They give me a convenient excuse to rationalize my results. They let me off the hook.

The honest truth is that I have seen so many miraculous church turnarounds over the last twenty years that I am convinced that ANY church can see kingdom results IF their Lead Pastor possesses these three attitudes:

The 3 Qualities of a Turnaround Pastor

1.  Humble

“Arrogance will bring your downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected.” (Proverbs 29:23, GNB)

When a teacher is unteachable, they’re unusable. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my lifetime, there’s so much more I don’t know, but need to know to grow.

The key to getting where I want to be is not in me. It’s in someone who’s a step ahead of me. If I simply have the good sense and humility to learn from others, I can get results I never thought possible.

2.  Hungry

“For the eyes of the Lord roam throughout the earth to show himself strong for those who are wholeheartedly devoted to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a, CSB)

We’ve heard a lot about “quiet quitting” lately. Quiet quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than absolutely necessary.

Although I would not assign this designation to pastors, most pastors work very hard. I would say that many pastors are exerting all of their energy just “doing church.”

            • Services
            • Meetings
            • Funerals
            • Weddings
            • Counseling

Yet I’ve never met a pastor who described their initial calling to ministry using any of these terms.

What I have heard are things like:

            • Winning people to Jesus
            • Seeing lives changed
            • Marriages restored
            • Addicts set free
            • Making a difference in their community

So, how did our calling get so sidetracked?

We let the congregation and tradition define our mission.

The only way to revitalize your church to get back on its mission is to become passionately consumed and obstinately focused.

When a pastor falls passionately in love with the simplicity of the Great Commandment and the Great Commission, they can’t help but build a Great Church!

3.  Holy

“Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2, NLT)

The most important question a church leader must ask themselves is WHY.

Why do I want the church to grow?

Why do I want more people attending?

Why do I want different music / video / lights?

Why do I want to baptize more people?

Why do I want more small groups?

Why do I want more volunteers?

Why do I want the community to recognize the name of my church?

The simple truth is that many church leaders who want to see growth want it for the wrong reason. They are more interested in building their kingdom than God’s. They want people to recognize their name more than Jesus. They want the spotlight. Charles Lindbergh said, “At first, you can stand the spotlight in your eyes. Then it blinds you. Others can see you, but you cannot see them.”

God is not interested in your agenda. He’s only interested in His.

One of the secrets of success in growing a church is to stay doggedly determined to magnify Jesus and His mission for His church. Refuse to surrender to any lesser gods, including yourself.

Friend, it is impossible to fail when we are serving God’s people humbly, passionately, and purely for the glory of God.

It’s not about results. It’s all about rewards. 

And the greatest reward of all is to hear our Master say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)

Ready to learn how to get your church back on track with God’s agenda?

Join us at The DREAM Church conference…

DREAM Church Conference | March 2-3, 2023 | Salisbury, MD
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