Back in January, we released our Next Level Teams research on how fast-growing churches are mobilizing their staff. For that research project, we generated a Health Score for each participating church based on the church’s attendance growth and baptisms in the previous year. We asked the leaders from three of the healthiest churches (as per our data) if they would be willing to share their journeys to becoming a healthy church. In this series, we’re sharing their stories with you…

Don Allen founded War Hill with just six people in 1991. The following year, War Hill merged with another small church, and they have since grown to a multi-campus church with thousands of weekly attendees. Over the years, they’ve made a number of strategic changes to continue to pursue the vision God has given them.

Here are some of Pastor Don’s thoughts on how his church has been able to grow in healthy ways:

  1. We believe it’s possible to make culture changes without changing your core values.The Church at War Hill (Dawsonville, (1)
    “The elements necessary for a healthy culture will change with the seasons, with growth, with location and service times, but that doesn’t mean the core values that define your church need to shift. We’ve had the same core leadership team in place since 1991, and they protect our core values while leading culture changes.”
  2. If you want to experience healthy, sustainable growth, you’ll have to become a pastor who is extremely devoted to developing the leaders around you.
    “Once our church went multi-site and we started having more than 2,000 attendees, I began to shift into the role of leadership development like never before. One of my true joys is to look at another leader and ask, ‘What can I/we do to help you fulfill God’s calling on your life?’ By making staff health and development a key priority, we’ve been able to maintain a staff with an average tenure of 15+ years.”
  3. As you add services and/or campuses, you need to pay special attention to how your culture is affected.
    “One strategy that has helped us create stability at each campus is the creation of what we call ‘Culture Pastors.’ These staff basically serve as a campus pastor and care team at each service time. Giving each service its own team has not only added stability but created tremendous growth.”

More stories of the Healthiest Churches from our Next Level Teams research are coming your way soon. If you missed out on the report’s findings, download a copy for free here!

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