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Top Factors in Growing Churches

A recent check on Amazon.com discovered that over 25,000 books are listed under the category of Church Growth.  This is an amazing number of books given the fact that the North American Church Growth Movement is only forty-one years old.  In comparison consider that just over 6,900 books are listed under the category of Church Renewal, even though the Church Renewal Movement is about fifty...

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Long Pastoral Tenure Can Harm Your Church

One of the most well known findings of church growth relates to the tenure of lead pastors.  Generally, the principle states that longer pastoral tenures are healthier than short tenures. Lyle Schaller was the first person to point out that, while long tenures do not guarantee a church will grow, short tenures almost always guarantee a church will not grow.  More specifically, church growth research demonstrates...

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Growth Rates

After years of study, it is my contention that the primary indicator of a church’s health is its worship attendance growth rate. A negative rate normally means the church has one or more problems. A positive growth rate indicates that, for the moment, ministry and mission are likely going well. Of course, there will be exceptions in either case. But rules are generalizations of what is the case far more often than not. In general, I suggest the...

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Is your church fit?

I spoke to 20 pastors this last week on the topic of Healthy Churches.  I suggested to the pastors that there are four, perhaps five, types of churches in a health paradigm.  First, there are Hospice Churches.  These churches are extremely ill, having declined in worship attendance for a decade or longer, and most likely will close.  God can, of course, perform a miracle and...

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Numerical Church Growth

I recently spoke at a leadership enrichment conference. Leaders from twelve congregations gathered to think about how to lead churches of various sizes, as well as how to staff a church so that it grows. As we discussed some of the principles together, one of the participants asked, “Why should we care about numerical growth anyway?” It was an interesting question, and one that I...

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Mid-size church conference

I’ll be speaking at the Mid-Size Church Conference in Blaine, MN on May 10, 2011 at Bridgewood Community Church.  A conference designed specifically to address the challenges and needs of the medium sized church. (250-700)  This is a great opportunity for you and your team to explore solutions with other like-minded leaders.  Why not join me there? ...

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Balanced Church Growth

The Church Growth Movement promotes a balance between spiritual and numerical growth factors.  For example, a definition of Church Growth used by the American Society for Church Growth reads, “Church growth is that discipline which investigates the nature, function, and health of Christian churches, as they relate to the effective implementation of the Lord’s Great Commission to make disciples of all peoples (Mt. 28:19-20). It is...

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Multi-cultural Church

A multi-cultural church is a wonderful experience and blessing.  However, while we may feel that a multi cultural church is what Christ’s wants, in reality not everyone is attracted to such a church. Some first generation people have a strong attraction to their native culture and have no real desire to be part of a different cultural experience.  They have an assimilation factor of A1, which...

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Rule of Four

Church leaders occasionally talk about the Rule of Four.  Here is how it works.  If you know 50 people, and each of them knows 50 more people, you have 2,500 friends of friends.  If each of them knows 50 more people, you have 125,000 friends of friends of friends.  And, if each of them knows 50 others, you have more than six billion friends of...

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Defining Church Growth

When you think of the term Church Growth, what comes to mind?  If you are like most people you think of one of the following concepts. In the 1970s people primarily thought of church growth as a research paradigm.  The idea was to study a church to get the facts and “remove the fog” in an effort to be more faithful in winning people to Christ...

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