5 Excuses For a Lack of Church Growth

Photo by Mr. Tom Lillis IV via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Here are things that I hear people use as growth limiters when they talk about the vision and day-to-day action of reaching a community with the Gospel.

  1. Budgets – I would do x, y, or z if I had more. More often people talk about too much money in the church being allocated for one ministry while the thing they think will really reach people is under-funded.
  2. Buildings – Either a ministry has too much building so they need to have programs that justify the building or a ministry has not enough/no building and they use that as an excuse to not do something.
  3. Boards – The board is asking too many questions. Or the board doesn’t care. Or the board cares about the wrong things. Or the board doesn’t support your vision.
  4. Butts – We don’t have enough people. Or, more likely, we don’t have the right people. Or maybe too many of the wrong people. But I never hear someone complain of having too many people, in general.
  5. Boundaries – Some congregations are limited by physical boundaries while others are limited because they have no boundaries.

All of these are just excuses.

All of these imply that the spread of the Gospel in your community is somehow tied to the growth of your fiefdom.

All of these are just as much asset as they are liability.

All of these imply that church growth is about the organization and not the individuals leaning into their walk with Jesus.

All of these imply that its our job to grow the church and lead people to Jesus and not the other way around.

This I know to be true.

When you love your neighbors, when you meet practical needs, when you speak the truth in love, and when you lay aside your aspirations for the aspirations God has for your community… nothing can stop the spread of the Gospel message. It is too powerful.





4 responses to “5 Excuses For a Lack of Church Growth”

  1. Andrea Avatar

    you’re just full of good things lately! thanks for making me think.

    1. adam mclane Avatar

      Thanks Andrea. I can’t figure it out. I don’t feel like I’m doing anything differently, but I keep hearing that same thing. I appreciate the compliment.

  2. Jason Avatar

    With the exception of #3 (which could be a reality I address below), you’re right on, Adam… My response to most of the above is “Get creative. Ask yourself, if you accepted your obstacles (aka- growth opportunities), but you knew you were gong to succeed in reaching people, what would you do? How can you move towards that NOW? My other response would be, does it take money, buildings and stuff to love people? Isn’t that the greatest way to grow a church?

    So, if these are excuses… what are some viable reasons for a lack of church growth? Here’s my thoughts… feel free to disagree… Sorry they all don’t start with the same letter.
    1) Bad attitudes- Stop complaining and be part of the solution. In my experience, God doesn’t do amazing things for a bunch of whiners and sissies. If it were easy, what would be the point?
    2) Lack of Expectation- Do you merely HOPE to reach people, or do you believe deeply that God has burdened you for a certain group of people? Is your mindset, “That would be nice to see us grow,” or is your mindset, “WE MUST REACH THESE LOST SOULS!” The results of those two ways of thinking ultimately yields two vastly different results. Which leads to…
    3) Lack of Vision- Vision isn’t bound by circumstances, belief doesn’t require resources and I heard once that faith is the evidence of things NOT seen. Move forward and let God lead. God always provides. ALWAYS. (Insert dozens of scripture references here.)
    4) Comfortability- The people don’t REALLY want to reach people. This stems from a (probably long period of) lack of leadership/ passion for the lost. How much do you care? How much do the people around you care?
    5) Timing- God is almost always up to more than we can see. Remember, it’s the journey that God uses to teach us, not the destination. Stay faithful and keep your heart in check and if God has given you a burden for people, know it’s not an accident.


  3. Terry Reed Avatar

    People have always come up with excuses for not getting things done. This is true in secular life as well as in the church. And why do we excuse? We don’t want to be held responsible for lack of results, be it the car that didn’t get washed, the sale that wasn’t made or the church that didn’t grow. The key is to accept responsiblity for that which is our part and get out of the way and let God do His part. And yes, love is always the main essential.

    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

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