Paul Dale 12 things we can do to hamper growth

  1. Go solo: you will be a bottleneck to growing your church. Get alongside you people who love Jesus passionately, whose lives are being transformed, whose love for the gospel flows out of them. They might not be the most competent or successful. You are part of a body. You are not over them, you are with them.
  2. Be vague: if you can't clearly articulate what you're about as a church and your people can't articulate what you're about, that will inhibit your growth. CBTB mission - live for Jesus and love like Jesus. Too many churches are too vague. 'Grow God's kingdom'. But how? What's unique about this church? How are you going to do it? That will help you know which ministries to start. Don't just leave it in the filing cabinet.
  3. Consumers and flirts: if you're not clear on expectations your church will never grow. It might grow numerically, but not as a real church. We've had to work hard at explaining what it means to belong to a church.
  4. Be tired: If every service is the same, you will look tired and you won't grow. Keep evaluating what you're doing and why you're doing it. Know your demographics and how to market, brand and structure. As the church grows, those things change. The services will look differently.
  5. Control your leaders: There's a danger in any church planting thing for the peopel to follow you as the leader. I've had to work really, really hard not to micromanage. There's stuff I'd never have thought of. There's stuff where I'm not so sure, but I try to work it out.
  6. Avoid accountability: In all of our bravado about church planting, whether we're caring for the souls of the planters themselves and their families. As I meet with other pastors, they have no one caring for their soul and their marriage. Make sure you have accountability in place, somebody who will initiate that.
  7. Build an empire: Kirribilli is a very transient population. That's a really good thing. It reminds me that church planting is not about an empire, bu equipping and sending out disciples of Jesus Christ. To have the mindset: 'I've got them for 2 years. How can I prepare to send them out?'. It may mean the church never grows past a certain number. That's ok. We're sending out lots of workers into the harvest. It stops you getting competitive, or getting angry that someone stole one of your members, or worrying.
  8. Look inwards: Lose your evangelistic edge. Keep evangelism and mission on the agenda. As a church planter, the danger is you get swamped with more and more admin stuff and more teaching and more discipleship and you lose your evangelistic edge as well. Who are my contacts? Who am I reaching out to?
  9. Poor communication: You can hamper growth by not communicating with your people what you're doing and why you're doing it. The personality of church planters is that they have 101 ideas. You're running down this track and no one understands where or why? Bulletin, e-news, verbal in church, members meetings etc. Over the last 5 years, I'm much better as pastoring small churches, than a larger church. We now have 7 staff. The danger is the staff discuss everything and know we're they're going, but the people don't. Find the people in church who communciate for a job and ask them how you could do better.
  10. Plateau, don't plant: You might get weary of starting something new on a regular basis. But planting mobilises people and causes them to step up and fill in gaps. There's a danger of thinking you're successful. If you're really about growing the kingdom, your eyes will be on those who are not coming. Breakfast church? Wednesday night? In a pub? It is hard work. Make sure you sell the vision for two new churches: the church that is going and the church that is sending. Both need to work hard.
  11. Be proud: The lack of prayer in our churches and our people. The lack of corporate prayer. When we stop praying we becoming self-sufficient. We need to seek the glory of the Lord.
  12. Seek your own glory.