Three Reasons Your Church is Failing

HighPower Resources - church growth

There are a lot of ideas and suggestions out there about how to help your church grow. Many of them are focused on changes which you need to make with your church, often related to advertising, marketing, assimilation, welcome strategies, etc.

These can be helpful in achieving some of your growth goals. But today, we need to focus on something much more core and central to your growth goals. We have to go to the one indisputable factor which cannot be ignored if you want your church to grow. This factor is inescapable and must be addressed. In fact, failure to address this one factor is perhaps the number one reason why churches fail to grow. If you overcome this one hurdle, then you have some hope of making progress in the growth of your church. But without this factor being dealt with, it is certain that you will not achieve sustainable church growth.

What is this one factor which will either propel or prevent your church from moving forward into growth? It is you!

A study of the ten largest churches in America a while back took a look at the tenure of the pastors in each church. To a church, every one of those pastors had been at the church for 20 years or more. Now this doesn’t prove my statement that you are the primary factor helping or inhibiting your church’s growth, but it does provide a strong indication that the pastor is critical. In fact, in C.Peter Wagner’s book Your Church Can Grow: Seven Vitals Signs of a Healthy Church, he indicates that the pastor is one of the top 7 factors affecting a church’s growth.

As you think about the growth of your church, there are three key areas in which many leaders fail. This is not the fault of the church, the community, the leaders, the age of the building, the lack of giving of the members, the board that keeps nixing your ideas. It is the fault of the leader him or herself. It comes down to you and the way you plan for growth in your church.

Here are the three reasons why leaders fail to see their church grow:

1. You don’t know what your growth strategy is.

You haven’t clearly defined what exactly your plan is to grow the church. You cannot express it in one simple sentence. If you can, it is not clear, compelling, or convincing. If faced with a completely free day where you could do anything you want to help your church grow, you do not know how you would spend the time. If someone gave you a million dollars for your church, you do not know how to spend that money to make your church experience sustained growth. Sure, you could give away a few hundred flat screen TV’s one Sunday, but that would not sustain over the long haul. You do not have a clear plan, and that is one of the major reasons why your church does not grow.

2. You have an unwillingness to say “no.”

Most church pastors want to keep their people happy. Because of this, it is sometimes difficult for pastors to say “no” to their people when they come up with a new idea for the church. So imagine this situation: a member approaches the pastor about a new idea (probably the fad-of-the-month in Christendom). This idea will cost the church time, money, volunteer energy, paid staff time and energy. But because the church hasn’t clearly defined what they are about, the pastor simply agrees because he has no good reason to say “no” and he wants to keep people happy.

So because the church can’t say “no,” it ends up saying “yes” to everything. Because of this, the church cannot excel at anything because it is trying to do too much. Learn to say “no,” and you will begin saying “yes” to success for your church.

3. You fail to align daily activities in the church with your strategy.

If you are smart enough to avoid the first failure trap of not having clarity and you are courageous enough to say “no” to activities which are not consistent with your goals, then you must finally be strong enough to align your daily activities with your church goals.

Here is where many church leaders miss the mark. Life gets too busy, too distracting, and we lose the ability to make decisions which help us succeed in our church goals.

So throughout your day, there must be a relentless concentration upon what is important, what is pre-eminent, for the success of your church.

The question must be asked for each activity in the church if it is consistent with the church goals. The victory is found in your daily activity. A focused day leads to a productive week. Four productive weeks lead to a great month. Twelve great months lead to an awesome year. Do that for a while and you will find yourself in a successful church.

So there are three common reasons why churches fail. Every one of these is under the control of the pastor and church leadership. Which one is the most likely cause of hindrance in your church? You don’t have to fix all of these at once. Find one and start working on it, and you will begin moving your church on the right direction. And that is another definition of success.

~ Dr. Bill Miller

Sermon Basics: The Introduction – The Secret Question You Must Answer!

Today we need to talk about the little ol’ introduction. It is often taken for granted and not fully understood. Because of this, it is one of the biggest missed opportunities for preachers.

If you want to be a high power preacher, you need to understand the real purpose of the introduction.

Let’s talk first about what it is not:

  1. The introduction is not just ‘fluff’ to get you to the main points.
  2. The introduction is not just a place to throw in a joke or two before you get serious.

What Is the Purpose of the Introduction?

To answer this, think of your message as a full course meal where you will be serving a hefty helping of the Word of God to your listeners.

To win with your introduction, you have to answer a question which exists in the mind of your listeners. They may not ever say it, and they may not even be aware of it, but this question is the one which must be answered before they will ever be ready to listen to the meat of your message.

What is that question? Well, think of this. When people show up to church each week, they have had a full week. They have many worries, many fears, many issues on their minds.  They have distractions, both good and bad, which were part of their lives. They rushed to get to church on time, found a parking spot, and then finally made it into the service. After the worship time, they are comfortably seated waiting to hear what you have to say. They are mildly interested. They will give you a couple of minutes of time during the start of your message to capture their attention. But you must answer the secret question.

Here is the question which must be answered, whether those listening are consciously aware of it or not: “Why should I care?” Yep, that’s the question. Seems too harsh? But remember what I said about their lives. They have a lot of things going on, and when they come to church each week, you must show them how what you are about to say has any bearing on their lives.

Why should I care?

How does this relate to my life?

How can I be a better Christian?

How can I grow spiritually?

How can I know God better?

How can I fix my marriage?

How can I stop worrying?

If your sermon is a meal, then the purpose of the introduction is to make your people hungry. If God’s Word is water for a parched soul, then the purpose of the introduction is to make them thirsty. Make them hunger and thirst for God’s Word.

So how can you make them thirsty for what you are about to say?

First, do NOT list all of your points in the notes!

This is a great way to short-circuit your message before you get started. Do not give them the entire sermon printed in the notes. If you are going to have notes, at least have blank spots so they must follow along with you.

Second, focus on the problem at hand.

You must focus on what is wrong with the world, or life, as you begin the introduction. What pain are people experiencing? What fears? What trouble? Focus on the problem and make them feel it. In fact, you should really emphasize the problem and make it seem hopeless (which in fact it is because all problems are hopeless without Christ.)

Third, show all failed attempts to fix the problem.

Many people on earth have tried to solve life’s problems in various ways. However, without Christ, attempts to fix these problems will ultimately be unsuccessful. So list some of those attempts to solve it. What have people tried? And how has it failed?

Fourth, point to Christ as the solution to the problem.

This is the time to begin to point to Christ as the solution to the problem. Of course, the full explanation and exposition of that solution is what the Main of the sermon is all about. But you begin to hint at it here, especially in your Proposition, or Big Idea.

What you are doing in the introduction is showing your people how God’s Word is relevant to their lives. Make them hunger for spiritual truth; make them thirst so that they long to drink in God’s Word.

In summary, I have listened to too many sermons that never answer the question “Why should I care?” You must answer that question in the INTRO, then explain it in the MAIN, and then remind them of how you answered the question in the CONCLUSION.

How to Push Through the Preaching Curve to Better Sermons

By Scott Attebery

Preachers, have you ever noticed that some of your most well received messages are the ones for which you have studied the least? Don’t worry, I’m not advocating a lack of study. However, I think it is important to understand why this phenomenon occurs.

When an idea first enters your mind, it is simple to comprehend. Just consider the experience of reading Scripture and having a new insight, which revolutionizes your thinking. All of a sudden, you see everything through the lens of your new insight. At this stage, you don’t have a lot of information, which allows you to have amazing clarity. Let’s call this stage one.

Stage one preaching tends to flow brilliantly from your mouth because the insight is clear—there is no “extra information” to trip over in your presentation.

Of course, the beauty of stage one preaching is also the fault: lack of information. This leaves stage one preaching open to misleading statements, unbalanced presentation of Scripture and misapplication of the text.

Perhaps you have preached a stage one sermon and received wonderful compliments. Then, the next time you have an opportunity to preach to a different audience, you decide to share the same message. Excited for the opportunity to share a message that has been previously well received, you decide to study more and make it even better.

Read the rest of the article here.

God’s Gift To You

Anything you don’t recognize you can’t utilize.

God wants you to use the gifts He has given you. But how can you use those gifts from God if you don’t know what gifts you have?

God has blessed you with some amazing gifts which He wants you to use to serve Him and to bless the world. But how can you serve God or bless the world if you don’t know what those gifts are?  You can’t utilize what you don’t recognize.

So how do you recognize the gifts which God has given you?  We can help you with that!

I’ve developed one of the most comprehensive spiritual gift inventories available on the web. It is called the A to Z Spiritual Gift Inventory. It covers all 26 gifts listed in the Bible. These gifts are actual gifts not man-made or made-up ones. They are actually named and described and used in the Bible. And there are 26 of them!  And I can promise you based on the authority of Gods Word that you have been given some spiritual gifts from God.

“In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” – ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And you can download this spiritual gift inventory and use it for free. You can discover your gifts and then start using them. Gifts are given to be used.

So find your gifts and start using them.

Download your free A to Z Spiritual Gifts Discovery Guide. To find out more check out this link to the A to Z guide.

God’s Best Blessings to you!
Dr. Bill

They’ll know we are Christians by our WHAT?

by Michael Tummillo

I used to work for a man who had been in the ministry when he was younger. He saw that his current secular job was ALSO his ministry and he was a very “at peace” and “comfortable in his own skin” type of guy.

He knew I was a Christian and we would often talk about the things of God. We became good friends. One day, he told me that he used to be an alcoholic and often drank away his problems, even as a minister. He even had a bottle in his desk draw while in secular work. Several Christians in the workplace had been having lunch hour Bible studies and, on one occasion, he overheard one of them misquote a verse of Scripture. He corrected the employee and that person was amazed. He said, “I had no idea you were a Christian, too!”

He testified that, at that moment, he became immediately convicted and quit drinking. As he said to me, “I realized that, if I were a Christian, people should KNOW that I am.”

Do they know that YOU are?

A 1990 Gallop poll found that 74% of Americans claimed to have made “a commitment to Christ,” yet George Barna’s Research revealed that 84% of born-again Christians deny that there is a Devil, a hell, or a Christian doctrine.

Read that again. It explains a great deal.

Apparently, many respected evangelists and pastors estimate that over 50% of our church members may not really be saved! (Mt. 7:21-28).

Dwight Moody lamented, “There is only about one in ten, who profess Christianity, who will turn around and glorify God with a loud voice. Nine out of ten are ’still-born’ Christians.”

OUCH!

Charles Finney repented of his Sinner’s Prayer concept and Altar Call that he had claimed would win souls from coast to coast because his converts exhibited so little fruit after their initial emotional moment with God.

Imagine that!

Dr. R.L. Hymers in his booklet, “The Falling Away,” provides the following estimates from renowned evangelists and ministers: Dr. W. A. Criswell said that he would be surprised to see 25% of his members in heaven! Billy Graham once estimated the percentage of lost people in evangelical churches to be 85% while Dr. A.W. Tozer put it at 90%! Dr. Rod Bell and Dr. Monroe Parker estimated 50%, while Dr. B.R. Lakin and Dr. Bob Gray believed that number to be 75%.

In December 1958, the Oakland Tribune reported that out of the 26,000 people who came forward at a Graham crusade, only 13 people actually joined a church. That’s less than 1%.

Andrew Wommack, who served in Katherine Kuhlman’s healing ministry, states on his website: “Billy Graham was quoted as saying that only fifteen percent of all the people who professed to be Christian are truly born again. Here is something else that may surprise you: Katherine Kuhlman said that only fifteen percent of those who were healed at her services kept their healing when they left the service. These numbers should tell us something about how we measure success in ministry.”

Have YOU had an encounter with God? If I were a few minutes late for a meeting but arrived clean and pressed, and said to the group, “Sorry I’m late but I was hit by an 18-wheeler on the way in.” You would think I was a lunatic or a liar, right? That’s because you know that anyone hit by an 18-wheeler would be forever changed. I’d be crippled, wounded, bloodied or dead. My car would not have survived the encounter either.

It’s the same way where an encounter with God is concerned. We either KNOW Him or we don’t. He has either impacted our lives , or He hasn’t.

I’m inclined to concur with the shocking statistics and comments you just read. Bearing that information in mind, all I can say is that we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve created this Christian world that consists of everything from T-shirts to bumper stickers, contemporary music to podcasts and magazines. If we could win the word with all our Christian stuff, I would think we’d be further along than we are. Truth is, we’ve created a Christian ghetto into which very few outsiders will ever stray, one from which very few of us ever venture.

There is one ministry that every adult Christian has, a mission field where we spend over half our lives and a ministry in which many of us wear the camouflage of a profession – be it a policeman’s uniform, a nurse’s scrubs, a construction helmet or a businessman’s tailored suit.

It’s called the Workplace Ministry.

Perhaps you’re already serving there. If not, are you getting prepared? Does anyone there know you’re a Christian?

If you’re a minister, are you training your Members on Sunday for their ministry there on Monday?

Every blessing,

Michael Tummillo
Workplace Chaplain

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