When our team works with a church on strategic planning, the church pinpoints several “core issues” they believe are the most important things holding them back from being the church God has called them to be. After identifying those areas, they can make plans that will actually move them towards sustained health.


We’ve worked with a lot of churches in the last few years, and we wanted to update you on the trends we see in the core issues that consistently arise. Here are the top five:

1) Discipleship Pathway

Churches are having difficulty creating a solid and simple discipleship path to help regular attendees, as well as newcomers, take next steps in their walk with Christ.

Many churches have an overwhelming number of programs available, but no cohesive path that helps people learn which steps to take and when. Based on Jesus’ commission to His followers when He left earth, we think this is a big problem.

2) Leadership Development

In many churches, there has never been a priority placed on leadership development.

For churches to continue growing, this area cannot be overlooked. Senior Leadership Teams rarely have a person with the specific role of championing leadership development. Breakdowns happen when this is treated like a program instead of a foundational aspect to the growth and health of a church.

3) Mission/Vision

Agreeing on a clear vision helps you empower others to lead and carry out ministry.

But churches are really struggling to reach a decision for where they are going and how they will accomplish their vision. A lot are simply leaning on the vision of a larger, “successful” church they follow.

4) Communications

As we work with churches, we’ve noticed it is rare to see a professional, relevant communications strategy. This brings clarity internally as to what people should do and what a church is all about. To a new person, clear communications define a church’s mission and vision.

Excellent internal communications is also lacking: We’ve seen churches with vision, passion and solid leaders crippled by poor communication.

5) Lack of Volunteers

Many churches are struggling to recruit and empower volunteers to do ministry. As we diagnosed in our recent Unstuck Church Report, this is often because churches hire too many staff members, limiting the need for volunteers to do the ministry. The shift to engaging more volunteers to carry out God’s mission for the church has proven to produce health and growth in the churches we’ve served through the years.

Do you recognize any (or all) of these core issues in your ministry?

Check out our Leading an Unstuck Church Course. We dig a little deeper than these five issues by diving into the 12 common core issues that we see in churches. This online course provides coaching, discussion questions and exercises that will help you and your team take your next steps towards growth and health.

I talk a little bit about the course in this video below. And, I may or may not mention an exciting incentive. Check it out.

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