Define the Barrier

We all hit plateaus – what do you do when you hit one?

As a leader, we manage the tension of the alignment of our identity with growth and the fight to become passive about it. The greatest loss doesn’t come from a plateau, but from disengagement and or the acceptance of it. We are called to be faithful where we are, but we are also called to reach people. Healthy things grow. This is a tension that as pastors we all have to manage.

We all hit plateaus in our ministry and personal lives. When we hit a plateau, it is crucial to not allow it to defeat us or get us down. The key is to try to figure out what has caused the plateau and what the barrier is that holds us back from future growth.

There are many things that CAUSE barriers. Space can be a barrier. Staffing can be a barrier. A lack of vision can cause a barrier. This post isn’t about the CAUSE of barriers. This post is about DEFINING some of the biggest barriers we all face. In the church world, there are a few common barriers that churches regularly reach. The following are some of the more common barriers.

Under 100

Over 200

Over 400

Over 800

The average church in America welcomes less than 100 people on a weekly basis. Below are some common reasons why these numbers become barriers. Define the barrier, and then develop a system to work towards breaking through it.

Under 100

The most common barrier to breaking 100 is the Sunday service. Building size, location, vision, and systems all matter and can become barriers – but the greatest growth barrier to breaking 100 is the Sunday service.

I have a pastor friend who did not have a database, small group strategy, or really any developed systems until they became a church of 500. What he had was a passionate service. Passion is attractive. As church leaders we should be most passionate about Jesus.

Over 200

The most common barrier to breaking 200 is often pastoral care. Pastors of churches of this size  wear a lot of different hats. We must lead our churches to care for one another through smaller groups. We must develop leaders within our church to shoulder the responsibilities of pastoral care.

Over 400

Over 400 is one of the most difficult barriers to break. One reason is because church members realize they are no longer a part of a small church once the church gets to 400. Pastors love big churches, but people love small churches. People want to feel known.

This is where staff and lay leaders become crucial.

To break the 400 barrier people must feel known. As the church transitions from a small to midsize congregation, the addition of the right staff and leadership teams are crucial. The key here is to hire staff that think leadership and discipleship, not management.

Over 800

Reaching 800 members and then pushing past that requires healthy systems. Answer the following questions to provide some direction on your systems:

Is it clear how church attendees can become involved in our church?

Is the church involvement pathway easy to understand?

How do we identify and release leaders to do the work of ministry?

When a person has been at the church for two years, what should their personal ministry and involvement look like?

How will we develop our future leaders?

Leading a church isn’t easy. You are not alone. At ChurchBOOM we want to come alongside you to help you overcome the barriers that keep you up at night.


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