Church Growth
Why Church Growth Is a Shockingly Inexact Science
Have you ever wondered why some mistakes will stop the numerical growth of one church, but not even slow another one down?

Why won’t my church grow!

Have you ever wondered that? Me too.

After all, it’s not like we haven’t tried. And there are plenty of people offering us seemingly surefire help to bring growth. Every day there’s another blog post with a list of Seven Reasons Why Some Churches Don’t Grow, or Eight Common Traits of Growing Churches. All backed by sound research and experience.

But do you know what we don't have? A list of churches that didn’t make those seven mistakes, or did all of the eight things well, but still aren’t growing numerically. Like mine. Maybe yours, too.

We only hear from the churches that are growing – which makes sense. No one wants to concentrate on negative results. And we all want to learn what we can from positive outcomes.

But if you pastor one of those other churches – one that seems to be doing all the right things, but is still not growing numerically – it can be very discouraging.

No Perfect Churches

Every church makes mistakes. Not just yours.

There are no perfect churches. Not even the megachurch with mega-growth.

Certainly there are principles that will encourage growth, and behaviors that will inhibit it. Given everything we’ve learned over the last four decades of church growth studies, you’d have to be blind or intentionally ignorant not to see that.

But, despite all we know, one stubborn reality remains.

There is no surefire method for numerical church growth. Period.

There is no surefire method for numerical church growth. Period.

For some churches, every minor mistake seems to hinder their growth, while for other churches, those same mistakes disappear under the seemingly inevitable march towards numerical success and growth.

If you’ve ever wondered, why are my mistakes hindering our church’s growth, but their mistakes are just hiccups on their superhighway to dramatic growth? you’re not alone. I’ve even talked with pastors experiencing relentless growth who don’t know why their mistakes haven’t killed their growth.

Churches and Church Growth are Complex

It’s never as easy as “get healthy and you’ll grow.”

I wish it was. But it’s not.

A healthy church has two simple ingredients: The Great Commandment and The Great Commission. But, as I wrote in Two Lists: One for a Healthy Church, One for a Big Church – And They Don’t Overlap, there are a massive number of factors at play in turning healthy churches into consistently numerical growing ones.

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