A bottleneck is a phenomenon where the performance or capacity of an entire system is limited by a single or limited number of components or resources. The term bottleneck is taken from the ‘assets are water’ metaphor. As water is poured out of a bottle, the rate of outflow is limited by the width of the conduit of exit—that is, bottleneck. By increasing the width of the bottleneck one can increase the rate at which the water flows out of the neck at different frequencies. Such limiting components of a system are sometimes referred to as bottleneck points.


Bottlenecks are one reason the church can’t grow to full capacity in the current model. It’s not that the Gospel of Jesus Christ isn’t appealing to more people. It’s that the mode with which the American church choses to operate is driven to a single bottleneck: The worship service. 

With a clearly defined bottleneck and the low trust, high control primary management style of most in church leadership– we are seeing other negative non-monetary economic principles come into play.

3 non-prescriptive solutions to finding church growth

  1. Embrace a high trust, low control management-style.
  2. Create additional entry points to biblical community. (Non-worship service endpoint)
  3. Capitalize on Americans culturally hard-coded draw to good news.


3 responses to “Bottlenecks”

  1. Patrick M. Leahy Avatar

    Definitely agree with your third point regarding American’s being hard-coded to be drawn to good news. I would argue that’s the case for everyone, and perhaps that’s why God made the Bible in a way that can be referred to as The Good News.

  2. Dewaine Cooper Avatar

    Not to say that we should or shouldn’t do this, but this makes me think of a hypothetical situation.  Can the American church operate and survive without a typical worship service?  There should be some form of a recurring corporate gathering, but could it survive without a Sunday morning worship service with music, media, and a sermon?

    1. Adam McLane Avatar

      “Create additional entry points to biblical community. (Non-worship service endpoint)” I’m not saying we need to get rid of worship services. I’m saying we need to see additional forms of church evolve which aren’t driving people to attend a worship service.  

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