90% of the churches in the US are stuck or declining.

Ten churches close their doors for good…every day.

Even those who attend church have changed the definition of “regularly.”

It would be easy to throw up our hands in frustration and give up.

But if 90% of churches aren’t growing, then that means there are 10% that are.  What are these churches doing differently?  What can we learn from their example?


Here are five characteristics of churches that break the 200 barrier.

#1 – Growing churches are focused on outsiders.

Growing churches focus on those outside the church. The Pastor speaks a message each week that appeals to those who don’t know Christ. Every ministry in the church puts a high priority on guests. Church events are geared towards reaching those in the community who don’t attend a church. The church budget is slanted to evangelism. Discussions revolve around the best way to reach those far from Christ.

Dying churches focus on those inside the church. The Pastor speaks a message to the congregation each week with little thought of guests. Ministries in the church place a high priority on serving those inside the church. Church events are geared towards fellowshipping with one another. The church budget is geared towards keeping members happy. Discussions revolve around the color of the carpet.

#2 – Growing churches value innovation over tradition.

Growing churches are innovative churches. They are always seeking out new ways to reach the communities they serve. They leverage technology for the benefit of the Gospel. Growing churches have a strong online presence through their website and social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Innovative churches believe the best way to make disciples is through community, so they embrace small groups.

Growing churches value innovation over tradition. Click To Tweet

Dying churches are churches so rooted in tradition they refuse to change. They are always seeking out ways to preserve what has already been established. They fear technology and believe it’s a danger to the Gospel. Dying churches have little to no online presence. They believe the best way to make disciples is in a classroom, so they embrace class settings such as Sunday School.

#3 –  Growing churches have a bias toward action.

Growing churches get things done. They’re not satisfied with just talking about problems and opportunities. They do something about them. Growing churches are willing to make decisions that benefit the church, even though it may hurt some feelings. They’re not satisfied with waiting for those far from Christ come to them. They go out into the communities to reach people right where they are.

Dying churches talk about getting things done, but never actually act. They talk about the same problems and opportunities over and over again but never do anything about them. Dying churches refuse to make hard decisions that may hurt someone’s feelings, even though it would benefit the church. They’re satisfied with who’s already in church and refuse to reach out to those outside the church.

#4 – Growing churches celebrate well.

Growing churches gather together to celebrate what God is doing in their church and community. There’s always a sense of excitement of what God may do next. Because of this people are hesitant to miss church. People are excited to serve and give back to the church because they see how it’s leading to life change. Smiles, handshakes, and hugs are frequently seen in a church that celebrates.

Dying churches gather together out of obligation. There’s never a sense of excitement about what God may do, so people don’t think twice about missing church. Most people refuse to serve or give back to the church because they never see how it’s impacting lives. Dying churches don’t have time for smiles, handshakes, and hugs because most people are looking to leave church as fast as possible.

#5 – Growing churches place their faith in God.

Growing churches believe God can do something great through their church. They embrace risk and take chances to advance the Gospel. They believe God is with them and through Him they can accomplish things that look impossible. Growing churches have meetings that are filled with ideas on how they can accomplish the vision God has given them.

Dying churches believe God has forgotten them. Maybe there was a time when God did something great in their church, but that was a long time ago. They avoid risk at all costs and never take chances. They allow fear to control their decisions. Dying churches forget that God is with them, and so everything looks impossible to them. Their meetings are filled with excuses on why they can’t do something.

So here’s the question…is your church growing or dying?

Take a Next Step

If you’re interested in leading your church to break the 200 barrier, we have a resource to guide you.  It’s called Breaking 200 and it’s full of practical coaching, done-for-you resources, and a community of like-minded leaders who understand what it takes.

You’ll get 7 modules of coaching to help you re-structure your church for growth, make sure your service is guest friends, recruit the right volunteers, develop leaders and so much more. Learn more here.

Breaking 200

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