My Response to Perry Noble’s “8 reasons why some churches don’t grow” #4

Perry Noble is the founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, Greenville and Florence, South Carolina. At just nine years old, the church averages over 10,000 people. Perry wrote an article on why some churches don’t grow. Perry’s article can be found here: http://bit.ly/rWxbxj

This is not intended to be a personal criticism of Perry (I don’t know Perry and I’m assuming he’s a great guy with a great multi-site church) but because his reasons why some churches do not grow are shared by many I thought I’d respond to these popular attempts to explain why churches don’t grow and the underlining assumption that if these reasons can be corrected then the church will grow.

Perry Reason #4: Manufacturing Energy 

If a program is dead in a church…then it needs a funeral and the people need to move on.  Investing time, energy and money into something that is dead will not revive it.  Celebrate the fact that “that” program had its day…and then move on.  AND…quit trying to fire people up over events that you would not attend if you were not on staff.

Dave: “…it needs a funeral and the people need to move on.” Every program is made up of people, somebody is in charge, someone invested in it, it was somebody’s “baby” at least for a while. It’s true, “If the horse is dead, by all means dismount.” but this needs to be carried out wisely and in a sensitive manner taking into consideration those who will be disappointed by the decision to close the program down. “…the people need to move on.” reflects an attitude that will backfire on you, especially if you lead a smaller church where typically, relationships play a bigger role than they do in a church of 10,000.

“If the horse is dead, by all means dismount.” but let’s poke it with a stick and make sure it’s really dead and not just sick or asleep. Many ineffective programs can be revived.

The assumption with Perry Reason #4 is that if we rid our church of all ineffective and dead programs, and replace them with effective and alive programs, our church will grow. I bet, however, that many of you reading this are thinking, “I’m not aware of any dead programs in my church and we’re not growing. I think what we offer is pretty good but we’ve been experiencing no growth or slow growth for some time.”

It’s true, some programs need to be closed down, some programs worked for a time but no longer work. Dead, ineffective programs certainly don’t help the mission of a church. But before you announce the funeral ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are we sure the horse is dead?
  2. What criteria will we use to determine death?
  3. What criteria do we use to determine life?
  4. Who will be negatively affected by putting the horse down?
  5. How might we put the horse down in a way that is sensitive to those who loved the horse?
  6. Are we blaming the horse for our lack of growth and is this fair?

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