New Friends Can Bring a New Future – Part 2

As we pointed out last time, many churches fail to invest in the new life opportunities that come their way. They continue to pour their resources into familiar holes, often because the long-term members demand it. But once a church wisens to the need for investing in new life, a second step begins to rise

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New Friends Can Bring a New Future – Part 1

With upward of 70% of churches today either plateaued or declining, and the growing 30% wanting to grow more, every pastor looks forward to the possibility of new people attending his church. Both numbers and common sense tell us that growth can only happen with new people (or more baby dedications than funerals). But many

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A Real Path to Real Change…

We aren’t very patient people. Life has encouraged us to insist on getting what we want somewhere close to the minute that we ask for it. We get our food fast, retrieve our mail in seconds, and have little patience for the moments those processes slow down. We want what we want…NOW! So when we

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The Most Critical Questions for Leading Change

When I walked into Maranatha Worship Center in Wichita, Kansas seventeen years ago, there were many challenges, but I was fortunate to find a group of people ready to face those challenges. Soon I realized that while I was the 13th pastor in that church’s nearly nine decades of ministry life to that point, I

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Five Desires That Keep Your Church from Growing

In his book, How to Break the 200 Barrier, C. Peter Wagner identified five institutional factors that keep a local church attendance under 200: 1. The desire to preserve social intimacy 2. The desire to maintain control 3. The desire to conserve memories 4. The desire to protect turf 5. The desire to remain comfortable

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Help!…I’ve Never Done This Before!

This phrase, once shouted by a guest in our church lobby, underscores the awareness that the unchurched are exactly that and may need a little help navigating the new world of a worship environment. In truth, any attempt at communicating effectively in today’s world requires some intentionality. Like many, I grew up in church, the

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One vision…One voice…

Honestly, vision is a word that is overused. For many, the mere mention of the “v” word causes the eyes to glaze over as the reader imagines another round of motivational speeches that amount to very little for the organization. Vision books and seminars are everywhere, and many already have cool phrases on their walls

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Understanding Vision

What is vision? In today’s climate, the word is used in so many different ways one can find it frustrating to wade through all the definitions. So even my title might cause you to raise an eyebrow in suspicion. For this moment, let’s define vision as the central focus of your church. What is it

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Outward Focus Will Stop Decline

Since we work with many plateaued and/or declining churches, it doesn’t take long to identify common threads. Many churches, regardless of size, struggle with these two issues for the same reasons. And the common causes? For plateaus, the issue is a lack of vision; for declines, the culprit is almost always inward focus. Inward focus

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Sunday…

Thanks to an excellent message from our pastor this Sunday, I am reminded that Sunday isn’t really “game day” for the church. Sure, we put a lot of effort into the worship event. We practice music until every bridge can be crossed smoothly and transition navigated without painful pause. We hone messages ’til they match

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