categories: leadership
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June 6th, 2008

by Craig Groeschel

32 comments (+ Add)

Breaking Barriers - 5

If your church isn’t growing, change something!

You might consider:

  • Changing your preaching
  • Changing your worship
  • Changing your building
  • Changing your personal prayer time
  • Changing a staff member
  • Changing the way you make decisions

Some define insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Some churches are insane.

Don’t try to do what you’re doing better. Do something different!

What is God calling you to change?

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there are a total of32
  1. Jun 6, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Be careful when you throw out the word “change” to a church, some might consider that a 4 letter word.

    I do think it is important to re-evaluate how each of those areas are doing, even if the church is growing. You don’t have to be stagnant to know that changing things around will not only increase attendance but it might increase maturity.

  2. Jun 6, 2008 at 7:10 am

    What is God calling you to change? Where we live. Where are we going? Do not have a clue at this moment. What we do know is this… while waiting - don’t wait. Stay active here but ready to move on a moment’s notice if that is what is required to follow Him. If leaders do not show they are willing to change themselves - why are they leading again? Our church has been using the word “improvements” instead of change. And while in a sense there is nothing wrong with that.. Change is a necessary thing. It is a part of our daily surrender. Oh, sure we could stay here… But if He calls us to leave - like it looks like He is… then we do not belong here. And while we could think we’re needed right where we are - if He calls us away - then obviously He will call others to raise up here! Today, just like every single day, is a great day to serve our Lord.

  3. Jun 6, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Boy, Camey and I are living the same life right now. I just recently realized that if I am to grow as a leader and ‘expand my territory” I may literally need to relocate…even possibly a new state. The word “change” used to scare me to death but not anymore. Thanks for the insight as always Craig!

  4. Jun 6, 2008 at 8:03 am

    We rent a facility so we seem to find ourselves in a change mode for a good part of the time. Just last week we changed our service around to offer a longer time for the Lord’s Supper (about 20 minutes of reflection instead of 5 “take it on the spot” minutes). We are going to continue evaluating the things we do.

  5. Jun 6, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Craig, this week’s series has been excellent. Churches tend to be so fearfully cautious. Just reading these short posts this week has been not only great reminders of what I know to be true, but a prompting to examine some things and an encouragement to take action. Very refreshing. Again, thanks.

  6. Jun 6, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Change for many years was a curse word to me. Funny thing happened, God put a discontentment in my life about how I was living and thinking. I began to read, which was something I did not do or like to do, and I began to change. The chnages that happened in my personal life began to leak into my ministry. I am now one who pushes for change so that we grow. Lack of change had been a HUGE barrier for me peronally but now I see the full benefits of change both personally and ministry wide.

  7. 7Judy
    Jun 6, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Great concept, but what about the Church that embraces change with no growth results.

  8. Jun 6, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Scott, that’s a great point. Thanks for expanding the conversation.

    Camey and Lori, our prayers are that you will find clear direction from the Lord.

    Bill, glad to hear you’re already mixing things up.

  9. Jun 6, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Kirby, thanks for the kind words. Many of Craig’s posts come from his personal examination.

    Jim, glad you’ve broken through the change barrier! Your insights of personal change filtering into your ministry’s change are good.

    Judy, welcome to the conversation! Does anyone have insights they can share with her? Judy, could you give us a little more information about your situation?

  10. 10Judy
    Jun 6, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I will. Our church has changed the preaching style, the building is always updated to be progressive and to involve technology. The worship ministry tries to stay up to date which has included some change. Don’t know exactly what craig means by changing the way you make decisions.

  11. Jun 6, 2008 at 9:42 am

    I hear you loud and clear. I have dealt with that same frustration. However, I am beginning to learn what Craig is talking about. We would make many changes but each change seemed to have something in common with the last. A similar feeling if you will. For us, it seemed as though we were willing to change methods but not environment or most of all people when necessary. The reason most of our changes were not succeeding was because we were taking people who didn’t navigate changes very well in the past and expecting that somehow the right method change was going to cause them to be successful. Sometimes new blood injected into the situation is exactly what is needed. Change of methods without change of dynamics is often doing the same things with different masks attached. Unfortunately it seems that the right change involves disturbing some people. These people may even be in favor of the types of changes you are making, but sometimes their philosophies, attitudes, and ultimate agendas or goals keep the larger group from achieving the desired results. Don’t know if that helps one bit, but it does reflect our journey.

  12. Jun 6, 2008 at 9:56 am

    I’m one of those crazy people who actually thrives on change. We had a staff retreat this week & I brought up a lot of these. How do you answer those who say “it is up to the Spirit?”

  13. 13Judy
    Jun 6, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Thanks Rusty. I think we do pretty well at distubing some people with our changes. But I don’t know that we do well at changing people that are in the wrong seat on the bus to replace with the right person. Of course I am thinking right now, DO WE KNOW WHO THE RIGHT PERSON IS. I guess I am just questioning the overall proof of change equals growth. What exactly do you mean by dynamics?

  14. Jun 6, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I think God is calling me to change how I look at my “job”.

  15. Jun 6, 2008 at 10:40 am

    Really enjoy the blog. I think the key in this whole change thing is the answer to the question asked “What is God calling you to change?” I don’t feel that I have a problem with being willing to change my problem is wanting to change too much. When I see something working for someone else I automatically want to implement that into our church or totally change up the way we are doing things. But I have found that I must seek God and follow his leading in change not my own selfish desires. I guess lately for me this has been my prayer life and man have I benefited from the time with God.

  16. Jun 6, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I see you have been reading “Good To Great” by Jim Collins. We are going through the right people in the right seats thing right now and I guess the dynamics answer comes from putting the right people in the right spots. I have noticed that as we have been willing to be intentional about putting people in the right spots certain unexpected dynamics are produced by that. I think it boils down to the right things happening to invoke life change and not just changes of feeling and even momentum although those are not unimportant. Sometimes changes are popular with the core team and we get excited about those changes because they may have produced a great and different feeling in what we do, but they didn’t necessarily produce life change for hurting people. I guess the reality is that growth will not follow change if the change doesn’t include intentional steps for life change. People whose lives are being changed will invite others to the same place for their life to be changed and those people will be eager to go because of the results they see. This is simply what we are going through and what I have noticed about us. Of course, your situation is probably very different and you may already have thought about these things. I have to say, I love the conversation though. It causes me to really think.

  17. Jun 6, 2008 at 11:17 am

    Great post but a quick question for those who have been successful in making changes that got you off a plateau. How long do you give that change a try before you go back and figure out what else needs to be changed? What’s a realistic timeline to see changes make a difference?

  18. 18Travis
    Jun 6, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    Change it …I agree, I’d like to ad: I believe for the church, change isn’t something we do from time to time. It must enbeded into our culture (like you haven’t read that before).
    A constant continuance. I think we must communitcate to our people that we are change agents.

    Is it possible that changing and doing something better are connected. For example, maybe changing the way we do kids ministry could cause us to do kids ministry better.
    Sometime a ministry may need a tweek change. Sometimes it may need an overhaul.

  19. Jun 6, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Judy and Rusty, thanks for your conversation. Your questions and experiences will be helpful to our readers. Anyone else have thoughts for them?

    Marcus has a good question about timelines when tracking change. Surely some of you have experiences and insights that can help him.

  20. 20Judy
    Jun 6, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Travis…I would think the base of any change would be to make things better, and am sure you feel the same, so the two have to connect. The change would need to better connect people to the Lord, better communicate the message, make your building better/more attractive, although this (more attactive building) is just something you have to do anyway and may not apply to our thoughs of change. The “Good to Great” vision shift.

  21. 21Jim
    Jun 6, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    I would add, change your perspective, change your strategy, and change your leadership style.

  22. Jun 6, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    [...] breaking barriers-5 [...]

  23. Jun 6, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I love Andy Stanley’s comment: “your ministry is perfectly designed to give you the results you’re currently experiencing.” Want different results? Change what you’re doing. Good stuff, Craig!

  24. Jun 6, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Break it, change it…

  25. Jun 6, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    Not all change produces growth. Not all change is good. If I quit giving my flowers fertilizer and give them poison instead, that’s change. However, ….

  26. 26JUST ME
    Jun 7, 2008 at 8:21 am

    WOW…another MAN made PASTOR telling us how to pefect “RELIGION, not FAITH!

    Does this mean if I pray every day, and I receive no answer, I need to stop praying and do something different? In old Testament times God didn’t answer for hundreds of years and the number of believers didn’t incline …yet, they didn’t stop praying….your site title tells me A LOT!!!

  27. 27Judy
    Jun 7, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    JUST ME..don’t stop praying…but maybe CHANGE the way you are praying…

  28. 28JOB
    Jun 7, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    How about training your people to witnessed for Christ. That always helps grow a church.

  29. 29Dwight Weber
    Jun 7, 2008 at 8:17 pm

    I am so glad that you listed personal prayer as one of the things that could need changing. We too often live as if that doesn’t matter. Great post.

  30. Jun 8, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    One of the things we’re changing is our strategic plan. It’s too complex for a church our size (1400+). It’s like a sp you’d see at Microsoft or something, so we’re going back to the drawing board and making is simple.

    Love this series!

  31. Jun 8, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    One of the things we’re changing is our strategic plan. It’s too complex for a church our size (1400+). It’s like a sp you’d see at Microsoft or something, so we’re going back to the drawing board and making it simple.

    Love this series!

  32. Jun 10, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I had the privilege of sitting in a room with Bill Cornelius…senior pastor at Bay Area.

    He made a comment in the two days I was with him and it really made since to me…

    If you are going to stay current and effective in the ministry you have to always find ways to reinvent yourself