categories: leadership
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June 2nd, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

14 comments (+ Add)

Breaking Barriers - 1

All growing organizations eventually hit barriers to growth. When the barrier becomes greater than the leadership’s ability to navigate, the organization will stall.

This week, I’m rerunning a week of posts about how to break through barriers to growth.

(Let’s not forget, God brings the growth. But there are certain things we do to limit or facilitate growth.)

Generally speaking, the longer your church has been beneath a barrier, the more dramatic step it will take to break through the barrier. If some small change would make the difference, you would have made that a long time ago.

Questions You Must Ask:

  • Do we really want to change?
  • Are we prepared to lose some people to reach more people?
  • Would I be willing to resign my spot if that is what it took?

What are your thoughts?

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there are a total of14
  1. Jun 2, 2008 at 5:37 am

    Like always great post…question 3 got me thinking…thats a hard one. We get so comfortable in our “postions”. That q realy challenged me to think if my heart is realy in the vision for the organization in the whole or am i just woried about my department.

  2. 2Allison Hoffman
    Jun 2, 2008 at 5:51 am

    I have just recently found your blog, and have thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as been provoked (in a really good way). I do have one comment, in response to the statement “If some small change would make the difference, you would have made that a long time ago.”
    What I have seen in my life, and the life of my church, is that often, it is a small change that would keep us on the right course; to continue to grow in intimacy with God. However we don’t make that small course correction, we don’t think it’s a big deal,and we end off in a ditch somewhere. That’s when we have to call the tow truck, and pull out the big guns to make that now very large course correction. Should we be willing to evealuate and make those huge course corrections, absolutely. And your blog so perfectly calls that to task.
    But can we spare ourselves the major “stucknesses” by applying God’s Word and His wisdom to the small things; God’s word promises us that.
    A quick example to illustrate my rambling. Often we can trace back adultery and see it begins in the mind, if we take these thougths captive (a seemingly simple small change - yet often a huge spiritual battle) then we can avoid an all out affair - thereby avoiding the huge consequences to marriage and family.

  3. Jun 2, 2008 at 7:17 am


    Great questions. I realized the 1st 2 questions were no so I answered yes to # 3. I don’t regret my choice either.

  4. Jun 2, 2008 at 9:26 am

    Really Tough and Really Good Questions!

    Do we really want to change?

    This question is a constant, because even if you are pushing through some of those growth barriers; you have to ask yourself the “change” question again and again.

    We sometimes have to be patient, get a solid footing and then ask all of these questions all over again; in order to push through the next set of growth barriers.

    Clear as mud! :-)

  5. Jun 2, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I know that I don’t want to be a roadblock. The answer to question three after I swallow my pride has to be yes. You have to be careful though because some guys use that as an excuse to move on rather than forge ahead. If you just pick up and leave, things may change for you, but the church has the same old issues.

  6. Jun 2, 2008 at 10:12 am

    We are a one year old church plant and willing to do anything to grow…at least we think so. Are we willing to change? I think to a great degree. Are we willing to change anything to reach more…not sure I can completely say yes to that. I think even the most progressive churches have a point they won’t cross.

    Are we prepared to lose some people…done that already.

    Am I willing to leave? I have just recently said to God that I am willing to be replaced at any point along this journey. If I am only the trailblazer, I am fine with what God has for me.

  7. 7Larry
    Jun 2, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Some of the best stuff I have seen on strategically breaking different growth barriers is from Nelson Searcy. You can check it out at

  8. Jun 2, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Craig is not available to comment today, so I’m filling in for him. Others of you guys can help me out as well…

    Ewald, it is a tough question. The answer is often sobering.

    Allison, you are so right that small adjustments can make a huge impact over time. Thanks for your insight. We are also discussing coming up against an immediate barrier and breaking through it as quickly as possible.

    Kevin, my prayer is that God directs you through the next steps.

    Scott, barriers come at us at every level. It’s interesting that we may choose to settle a particular level and our answers to the questions might change.

    Timothy, you are so right! Those decisions take a great deal of wisdom.

    Brandon, we are praying for your church plant. It looks like God is already working on breaking barriers in your heart.

    Larry, thanks for the link!

  9. Jun 2, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    We are less than a year old so this these questions are easier for me and our church. I would be fine resigning. I am only where I am because God lead me here. If he leads me away to something else, I am fine with that.
    I do know that at our former church these questions would be answered totally different. They were and still not willing to lose people to make a difference and leaders are not willing to let go. Haing been there I know it’s not easy, especially when your around for many years and have gotten so big. I do know though that growth is now stopped and even decreased to a point of desperation now.
    It’s not easy, but change never is.

  10. 10Jim
    Jun 2, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    What I have experienced is that the church is willing to change as long as it is talk, once action is required, the church gets nervous and a barrier is built. Action in whatever area is needed is the best way to bust through the barriers.

  11. Jun 3, 2008 at 11:58 am

    [...] Craig on the Swerve Blog is running a great series of posts on breaking barriers. He deals with a lot of different requirements for Church growth. Generally speaking, the longer [...]

  12. Jun 6, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    [...] breaking barriers-1 [...]

  13. Aug 22, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    [...] These 5 blogs have been in my journal for a couple of months now, and i believe God can use them to encourage you (like He has for me)…. Our personal and corporate ministry strategies have to continue to evolve…. Stagnation is death! Change is life! -Blog #1 [...]

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