August 2, 2017

Reaching Sustained Health: What Churches Can Learn From Businesses


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Churches can learn a lot from businesses.

It’s true. I hope I didn’t lose you with that statement. For many years, I have worked with my team at The Unstuck Group to help churches get unstuck. But, I periodically have had the chance to serve businesses as well. And there’s one thing that is consistent with every business I’ve served: they are driven by their bottom line. For businesses, that bottom line is money. Their success depends on it.

Because they’re so committed to their bottom line, I’ve found these characteristics to be true of the businesses I’ve helped:

  • They track the bottom line.

    Everyone on the team knows whether goals are being met.

  • There is an urgency about change.

    If goals aren’t being met, they are quick to change what isn’t working.

  • They don’t settle.

    They’re always considering, “How can we reach more customers and grow the business?”

  • They stay focused.

    If something isn’t adding to the bottom line, they stop doing it.

You may see where I’m going with this, but churches have a bottom line as well. Jesus clearly defined it for us after His resurrection:

“I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20, NLT

The bottom line for churches is making disciples. Plain and simple. And I can honestly say that I wish churches were as committed to their bottom line as businesses are to theirs… because their success depends on it. Unfortunately, I’ve found these characteristics to be true for many of the churches I’ve served:

  • They don’t track the bottom line.

    Most people on the team have no idea if they’re meeting their discipleship goals.

  • There’s no urgency about change.

    If they aren’t growing (making disciples and baptizing new believers), many churches aren’t quick to change what isn’t working.

  • They settle.

    Even if what they’re doing isn’t working, churches tend to build their ministry and programs around the people already at the church instead of considering how they can reach more people.

  • They are rarely focused.

    If something isn’t adding to the bottom line, it doesn’t matter. They keep doing it.

Churches have the world’s greatest mission. Eternity is at stake! And I’m convinced we should be doing everything possible to see lives changed forever. This is why I am so passionate about seeing churches become the church God designed them to be.

Ever since the release of my new book, The Unstuck Church, I’ve been talking a lot about the church life cycle. My prayer is that every church will experience the Sustained Health phase, the pinnacle of the life cycle, where churches are consistently impacting the most people for Jesus. I hope that’s your prayer, too.


But reaching sustained health isn’t an easy road. It takes a lot of intentionality. And it takes a recognition of where your church is at in its life cycle. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to make this prognosis on your own. When you’re living in the ministry, it’s almost impossible to arrive at an unbiased understanding of the church’s health.

This is why we created The Unstuck Church Assessment, a short survey to determine where your church is at in its life cycle and provide you with some practical next steps to move towards sustained health. Take the assessment today to discover where your church is at in its life cycle and learn how you can move forward to make a greater impact within your community:


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