Carey Nieuwhof admits that most leaders he knows WANT their church to grow. They WANT to reach unchurched people.
But few are.
Here are some reasons why, according to Carey:
1. Your desire to reach unchurched people is an intention, not a strategy. You’re basically doing what you’ve always been doing and hoping for different results. Wanting people to attend and creating a church unchurched people love to attend are two very different things. If you haven’t made radical changes to how you do church, don’t expect radically different results.
2. You’ve ended up in No-Man’s Land by trying to please everyone. Your church is too contemporary to make insiders happy and your approach is still too dated, irrelevant and unengaging to capture the imagination of unchurched people. You’ve made as many changes as you think you can navigate without alienating your existing membership, but not brought about nearly enough change to really engage outsiders. You are in no-man’s land. In an attempt to please everyone, you have pleased no one.
3. Your real vision is about you. On the wall, your vision is about Jesus, the Kingdom and the world, but down the hall your reality about how to keep Mr X from writing yet another angry letter and how to appease Ms X who says your church just isn’t deep enough. You say it’s about others, but you spend all your time on insiders. Keep that up, and no matter what your mission and vision say, your church will have a vision no bigger than its (contentious) members.
4. Your people don’t know any unchurched people. This can be a real problem. How can people who attend your church invite unchurched people if they don’t know any? One of the ways we combat that where I serve at Connexus (where 60% of our growth is from unchurched people) is to offer very little mid week programming—mostly just community groups for people to gather in at most one night a week. We want people to be at home and be a family, invite friends over, get to know their neighbours, play on community sports teams and love the cities and communities they live in. It’s a lot easier to invite unchurched friends to church when you have some. Most churches keep their ‘salt’ inside the box…it never actually touches any food.
But wait… there’s more… 3 more reasons Carey sites, to be exact. And you can read them here…
QUESTION: What is holding YOUR CHURCH back from reaching the unchurched?