Multiplication Center

14 Things that Kill Once-Great Churches

April 11, 2018

This article was a feature in a recent edition of Leadership Network Advance. If you’re not already a subscriber, click or tap here to be among the first to learn about church innovation trends and resources for your team.

At one of our recent Accelerator experiences hosted at Google, we were reminded of a couple of things regarding innovation by one of the great innovative companies of our time:

  • Being successful does not equal being safe. This has always been true, but never at the speed that it’s happening now.
  • Innovation is no longer a buzzword, it is a buzzsaw! Companies (or churches) that rest on past success will be chewed up and spit out by the pace of change.

recent article by Innovation Leader outlined the 14 most common things they see that kill once-great companies. It’s this kind of thinking, saying, and doing that turns industry leaders into declining, irrelevant has beens.

It’s a good, quick read that has implications for great churches like yours.

That’s why we took the time to reframe this list based on our view of the large church landscape over the past 30+ years. Many of the same attitudes and actions (or inactions) have led toward the stagnation, decline, and eventual death of once-great churches.

Take a few moments, read the list, and ask if these characteristics are true of your church and leadership team.

  1. All the smartest people are on our team. We don’t need to look outside for solutions, ideas, or help.
  2. Marketing is the only group allowed to communicate with the customer. (But they can run a focus group for you in six months.)
  3. Every new ministry concept needs to have an iron-clad case showing how it can get more people through our doors.
  4. We need to cut costs now, without rethinking our ministry model/building format/worship experience. That can come later.
  5. Digital channels to reach, connect, keep, and grow people are a low priority and underfunded. Most resources still go to things related to the weekend experience.
  6. We need to wait until the annual staff retreat or budget review rolls around to discuss the need for a strategic shift or any new investment.
  7. We need to wait for the new building program to be completed. Then we can focus on innovation.
  8. We need to wait for the consultant we’ve hired to finish up an 18-month review that will tell us how to innovate.
  9. It’s far more important to connect with people inside the building on the weekends than to try and be where the people are throughout the week.
  10. We already have laid out the tech road map for the next five years, and [this new thing that is obviously gaining momentum] is not on it.
  11. We can’t learn anything from unknown churches or younger pastors, so let’s wait and watch our list of well-known churches to see what they will do.
  12. The leadership team spent three days at a conference and brought back a notebook full of new ideas, so we are all set on the innovation front.
  13. Innovating is what our student pastor is doing.
  14. We know we aren’t able to hire top talent like we used to, but let’s just keep hiring the same way we’ve always hired.

Hopefully none of these sound familiar. But if they do, or if you’re struggling to figure out how to quickly move the needle on a key area of focus for your church, it’s time to see, think, and do in new ways.

That’s why we developed Accelerators.

Accelerators provide a next-level approach to learning, planning, and implementation that challenges church leaders to see, think, and do in more effective ways. For leaders that don’t want to wait and become a victim to the ever-increasing pace of change, Accelerators provide the peer group, process, and resources necessary to stay ahead in your mission.

When you’re ready to move beyond buzzwords to measurable progress in areas such as:

  • Engagement Through Data, Analytics, & Precision Messaging
  • Generosity and Stewardship
  • Leadership Development
  • Multisite

…complete the form below and one of our Directors will be in touch.

But hurry, we’re already on to a waiting list for our next Engagement Accelerator launch, and only a few spots remain for our upcoming Leadership Development and Multisite Accelerators. Complete the form below to learn more.

Recent Articles