January 3, 2024

Tony & Team Recap 2023 Church Trends & Look Forward – Episode 329 | The Unstuck Church Podcast

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Recapping 2023 & Looking Forward to 2024!

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This past year, the Unstuck team had the opportunity be on-site with more than a hundred churches. I’m thankful that it was the year 2023 rather than the year 2020 :-). It’s so good to be back on the ground with churches helping them move their mission forward. 

Our team is also celebrating these wins from 2023:


As we engaged with pastors and worked with churches in 2023, several commons themes rose to the surface. So for our first episode of 2024, I asked my team to sit down with me and recap what we’ve seen and learned this last year, as well as what we’re looking forward to in the new year. 

Join me for this conversation with Amy (Director of Consulting), Sean (Ministry Consultant & Podcast Producer), and Tiffany (Director of Sales & Marketing) as we share:

  • What content resonated most with pastors this year
  • What digital strategies we’re doubling down on (and which ones we aren’t!)
  • Common challenges pastors are facing today
  • Where churches are winning in this season

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This Episode is Sponsored by PlainJoe Studios:

PlainJoe: A Storyland Studio partners with churches, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and educational environments to create unforgettable strategic, digital, and spatial stories that lift the Spirit. 

Through architecture, branding, interior design, website development, themed environments, and more, PlainJoe champions churches as Sacred Storytellers and collaborates with a wide range of world-changing people and organizations. 

To learn more about working with PlainJoe’s team of down-to-earth specialists, architects, strategists, artists, and problem solvers, visit plainjoestudios.com/getunstuck.

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Sean (00:02):

Welcome to the Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we are exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. Every church has its unique qualities, but there are also some key commonalities that stand out between many. In 2023, certain themes rose to the surface for churches across North America. And in this first conversation of 2024, our team sits down to share what we’ve learned. Before we get into the conversation, though, if you’re brand new to the podcast, head over to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast and subscribe to get the episode show notes in your email. When you do, each week you’re gonna get resources to go along with that week’s episode, our Leader Conversation Guide and some bonus resources you won’t receive anywhere else. Again, that’s theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to subscribe. And now, before the team’s conversation, here’s a word from Tony.

Tony (00:54):

PlainJoe: A Storyland Studio partners with churches, nonprofits, faith-based organizations and educational environments to create unforgettable strategic, digital and spatial stories that lift the spirit. Through architecture, branding, interior design, website development, themed environments and more, PlainJoe champions churches as sacred storytellers and collaborates with a wide range of world-changing people and organizations. To learn more about working with PlainJoe’s team of down-to-earth specialists, architects, strategists, artists and problem solvers, visit plainjoestudios.com/getunstuck.

Tony (01:43):

Amy, I feel like you should be doing this introduction, but welcome to The Unstuck Church podcast. I’m Tony, and I’m actually here with my teammates. Amy, Sean, Tiffany are joining me today. We’re going to be just kind of recapping what we’ve seen in the past year and then looking forward into 2024. It’s been a fun year for us at The Unstuck Group. We now have more than 50,000 church leaders engaging with our content on a regular basis, including through this podcast. And that includes 11,000 people now, participating in our Unstuck Church Reports every quarter, where we’re talking through trends. We’re talking through differences that we’re seeing in growing and declining churches. This past year we looked at staffing trends and multisite specifically, and we have some other fun opportunities in front of us in 2024. This past year we had over 7,000 people register for one of our eight live webinars. Anybody on the call wanna guess what we had the most registrations for? Tiffany probably knows.

Amy (02:51):

How about What’s Working in Small Churches?

Tony (02:53):

No, no, no, no. Actually, I just realized you can see the answer. The webinar that had the most registrations was What’s Working in Large Churches Now. So a lot, there was a lot of interest around that topic. Sean produces our podcast, and we should thank him and actually Jordan, who’s not on today’s call, because she helps us think about the content for the podcast. But we had 400,000 podcast downloads this past year. The, and you just heard some of the best of topics in December over these last few weeks around pruning and multisite, why large churches get stuck and mistakes with guest services. So that was a fun series. Just to recap some of the key conversations from the past year. We also, in this past year, launched new coaching cohorts for multisite churches, for executive pastors. And I think we’re, I, am I remembering correctly? We’re gonna launch a third cohort this coming year in addition to those two. Someone remind me what topic. I can’t remember.

Sean (04:00):

Can any of us remember?

Tiffany (04:01):

I’m not sure we’ve decided.

Tony (04:04):

But it’s gonna be great.

Sean (04:06):


Tiffany (04:09):

It’s gonna be so great. We’ll definitely have another multisite cohort and another cohort for executive pastors.

Tony (04:14):


Tiffany (04:14):

The, we’re open to input, but we’ve got some ideas for the third, and we haven’t nailed it down yet.

Sean (04:18):

We’re just building the tension for the other co. It’s part of the marketing strategy.

Tony (04:22):

That’s right.

Sean (04:23):

Let’s build the tension.

Tony (04:23):

Build the tension.

Sean (04:24):

People will lean in.

Tony (04:25):

All right. And most importantly for us, because this is where we feel like we have the opportunity to really help churches get unstuck is to be on site, working with pastors, working with church leaders to help them move their mission forward. And this year, this past year, we had the opportunity be on site with more than a hundred churches, which is so fun. And I’m so thankful that, it was the year 2023 rather than the year 2020 when we could not get on site with any churches.

Amy (04:55):


Tony (04:55):

So it’s just, it’s good to be back helping churches on the ground help them move their mission forward. And at the same time, we’re currently talking with more than 60 churches that are considering going through The Unstuck Process. And so, we’re praying for those churches and trying to help them. But my goodness, the opportunity that we see in front of us in this new year, we’re pretty excited about that. And with that, I wanted to invite my friends from the Unstuck team. These are some of my favorite Unstuckers. We call ourselves the Unstuckers. These are some of my favorite Unstuckers on the team. And I’ll let you kind of do a little bit of an introduction as I’m going through. Well, let’s start with Tiffany. Tiffany, tell us a little bit about yourself. What’s your role?

Tiffany (05:40):

So, I head up sales and marketing here at The Unstuck Group, and a lot of our marketing is content. So, the team that develops a lot of the content you are engaging with: the podcast, the webinars, the emails, the social media content. And then, I work with Sean, as well, on our overall strategy for how we connect with and serve more churches.

Tony (06:01):

And she does such a fantastic job with that team. You have a great team, by the way, Tiffany. But here’s, here’s, I mentioned just a moment ago, there are now over 50,000 church leaders engaging with our content. What are the topics that seem to be the most resonating with pastors and church leaders in this current season?

Tiffany (06:20):

So, from my seat, I’m looking at not just what topics people are engaging with, but what topics are helping pastors take next steps towards getting unstuck since that’s our overall goal. So, when I was looking back at the topics that seemed to really drive next steps, there were a few themes that emerged that I thought were pretty interesting. So, one was we had over 500 churches reach out this year exploring working with The Unstuck Group. And about half of them were experiencing a post-pandemic attendance boom. And the other half probably were seeing more decline than they had before the pandemic. And in that, even in the post-pandemic attendance boom category, we saw two different things resonating. One was that rapid growth was breaking things.

Amy (07:11):


Tiffany (07:11):

And the pastors were saying, we need to find direction. We need to find focus. We need to get everyone aligned. And a lot of the content we created around alignment and direction were the things that drove those pastors to reach out. The other side was really a confidence, almost a bullishness about we’re experiencing momentum and we wanna launch a campus, or we wanna explore church planting. We wanna explore mergers. Churches that probably were a little healthier before the pandemic and they saw a dip like everyone else. But on this side are seeing growth and moving forward. So, the content we did this year on multisite and mergers and really thinking about taking your growth and leveraging that forward strategically has been really resonating. On the decline side, we, the growth barriers topic has popped up again this year. Sean and I were joking that it feels like 2017 again. That’s not something we talked about for four, you know, maybe four years.

Tony (08:08):


Tiffany (08:09):

And growth barriers has become a big topic again. And then, the headline, headline issue this year has been staffing and structure pain. So many churches have had trouble with organizational tension and culture problems, lack of focus, lack of role clarity, leadership, pain, pastoral transitions, a lot of that kind of stuff. So that’s really underpinned our content direction, is how, how we help pastors through those challenges.

Tony (08:37):

Yeah. And Tiffany, I actually wanna circle back to you in a, a bit to even talk more specifically about the different platforms that you’re leveraging currently at The Unstuck Group. But, Sean, while we’re talking about content, first of all, thanks for all, all the work you do to help us produce our webinars, our podcasts on a weekly basis. But, other than word-of-mouth recommendations, it really seems that the podcast oftentimes is the primary reason why churches reach out to us for help. Do you agree?

Sean (09:05):

Yeah, definitely. It’s, it’s actually really fun. I, we put a lot of work into this. I mean, almost everybody on our team has some kind of responsibility when it comes to the podcast. And I, I don’t think people realize how much work it is to put together something like this. So, you know, when it connects with pastors and leaders and they reach out to us and can, I think from their perspective, can better articulate what is it, what is the challenge that we’re experiencing and we might need help with, that’s pretty, pretty fun and rewarding. I, I, some of the reasons I love the podcast and I think it, it, helps pastors, first of all, it’s practical, which, Tony, I mean, you’ve always done a great job with your content going back to the Simply Strategic books.

Tiffany (09:47):

Tony Morgan Live.

Sean (09:47):

Going back to, you know, blogging back when blogging was in its heyday, which at some point I think we’ll look back on podcasts and say, “Remember when podcasts were so popular?” Kind of feel like blogging about with that right now. But, the, the content’s so practical, and we really, I think, share, kind of give away our best thoughts and best practices, which is helpful. So, when pastors, you know, hear something they resonate with and they feel like that’s maybe too big to tackle on their own, you know, that causes them to reach out. When they, you know, recognize some of the areas that they need help but they, they feel like they need an outsider to kind of weigh in on those areas, that causes them to reach out, too. You know, when they feel like they need a guide, somebody who’s kind of been there before and can take steps with them to help ’em just have clarity in how they move forward, that’s when they reach out. So, I think that’s a big part of it, just the practical side of the podcast. I also think we’ve been intentional to keep our podcast pretty succinct. So, you know, we, we want it to be a, for a shorter format. We want it to be something you can listen to in a, in one drive or in one workout. A friend of ours listens while he is on the treadmill, you know. In one kind of house chore that you’re doing, get through some practical content in a succinct amount of time. So, I think that’s a big part of it, too. And then also, you know, it’s just, it’s conversational. I mean, when I listen to the podcast, and I get to listen to it first, outside of you and Amy, I feel like I just kind of get to eavesdrop on a conversation you and Amy are having, which is really fun because you guys are working with churches on a weekly basis. And so to hear some of the updates, thoughts, things that you’re learning is really helpful. You know, I already know you guys, but for the listeners who are, are tuning into the podcast, I think they feel like they’re able to get to know you better in the, in this kind of format, the podcast format, than they could in writing or something different. And what’s really funny is that we’re, we’re starting to hear from pastors now who talk to you guys in person that your voice doesn’t sound quite familiar because they’re used to listening to you talk in one-and-a-half speed or two speed or something like that.

Tony (11:58):


Sean (11:58):

So, so that’s been really fun. So I just think, you know, the format of, you know, conversational, shorter, on the shorter side but then being really practical is just helped a lot of pastors. And we hear that feedback all the time. And it, it also helps pastors to get a better understanding of what is it that The Unstuck Group does and is it a good fit for their church right now.

Tony (12:20):

Well, on that note, I mean, gosh, we, we were talking about a moment ago, the a hundred different church. Amy, Amy’s our director of consulting. You know her as the velvety voice of The Unstuck Church Podcast.

Amy (12:34):


Tony (12:35):

But in actuality, her primary day job is on site working with churches.

Amy (12:40):


Tony (12:40):

And again, we, we serve more than a hundred churches in 2023, Amy. So are you tired?

Amy (12:46):

When you threw that number out, I said, “I think I worked with every one of them.”

Tony (12:50):

Well, here’s the question I wanted to ask, though. With all of that engagement with churches this past year, what are, what are the most common challenges that you’re encountering?

Amy (13:02):

Well, Tiffany said it a few minutes ago. Staffing and structure was a huge pain point for churches this last year. And so, I did a ridiculous amount of Staffing and Structures in comparison to planning and things like that. So, what I saw from my seat, you know, there’s different challenges for different size churches. So, when I look at the large churches and the multisite churches that I worked with, staffing was their headline. They had a lot of the wrong people in the seats at the size of the church they are now. So, take that attendance boom and that rapid growth, and all of a sudden, they just had kind of a structure that had just been added to but never really realigned and repurposed and refocused on, you know, their, their vision, where they were going. And so we did a lot of work in that area. We also had a lot of succession that was bubbling. You know, in the, in the near term, pastors, who after leading their church through COVID out of COVID, are now starting to sense kind of a shorter term before they, they turn over, you know, the, the keys to the next leader. So, just a lot of fears transitioning to the next generation and trying to do that well. Another challenge for the large churches was volunteer engagement. You know, if you look at our vital signs, I think almost every church I work with was south of 30% for active volunteers where pre-pandemic those numbers were never that low.

Tony (14:25):


Amy (14:25):

They were always in, you know, towards our benchmark in the large churches around that 50% or better mark. And so, that’s been a key challenge for large churches—is just getting people post-pandemic with those behaviors, finding new ways to sign-up and to serve and to find their place in their body, in that body of Christ again. And then, right on the heels of that, of course, is leadership development, which links to staffing. Lot of staffing gaps out there and trying to fill open positions. Churches were just struggling to get the right who for the role and that also exposed, boy, we have a lot of, well, we don’t. We have a low volunteer percentage, and we’re really lacking in higher-level leaders. And so had tons of conversations around that table. So, the smaller churches, these are gonna sound super familiar, but governance is still a huge stuck point for many small and mid-sized churches when their governance is not organized right. The boards were just way too involved, honestly, in the day-to-day, and decision rights were all upside down with who’s making what decisions. And a lot of pastors just didn’t have permission to lead. And so we’ve done lots of content on that. I wish it wasn’t such a high-level sticking point ’cause it’s such a solvable problem.

Tony (15:39):


Amy (15:39):

But governance was a headline with small churches. Another one’s gonna sound familiar, but in small churches, they tend to be very change-averse. And it’s the reason that they are stuck. They’re conflict-averse. They don’t wanna confront one another. They don’t wanna make changes that will upset the congregation. And when I say confront, I mean like, sometimes, there’s just lay leaders or staff members that have really unhealthy attitudes and behaviors, but harmony and pseudo community is just what they’re choosing. And then lastly, just an unwillingness to prune in the small churches for the sake of, of the vision. They don’t wanna hurt feelings. And so they’re continuing to add. So, nothing new, but those were the ones that really rose with the churches that we work with. I don’t work with a lot of small/mid-size churches but had a chance to connect with our consultants who do, who have that experience, and those were the three headlines that, that they shared with me.

Tony (16:35):

Yeah. And so, obviously, a lot of the themes that we’re seeing on the ground working with churches has filtered into our content over these last number of months. And speaking of content, Tiffany, I mean, we’re, we’re using a variety of formats. We’re leveraging email. We’re on social media, obviously, in a number of places. We talked about webinars, thousands of pastors, church leaders, engaging with our webinars. We do special reports. The podcast, obviously. With all of these different platforms for content, what are you learning about how church leaders engage with this content and what might be helpful for church leaders to consider as they’re thinking about how to engage with people in their mission fields?

Tiffany (17:18):

Yeah. This last year there were changes in social media that seemed like they stood out. But a lot of the things that we’ve been doing that we’ve just been consistent with over time, continue to work for us. I think one area, when I talked to other people who attend church and get communications from their church, one area that I think we all agree is not super effective or working really well is email. I don’t think a lot of churches are using email really well. By contrast, we are seeing the highest result on anything we do via email. I think a lot of marketers would tell you email is still very effective. There’s a perception that young people don’t use email. And when you think younger Gen Z, that may be true. But if you’re trying to reach young families, millennials, email is still the way of the world for communication. So, email is still an area where I think a lot of churches have potential to, to be more strategic, to use it better, to use it in a much more targeted way. It’s definitely working for us. The other thing I saw this year: we make it really easy to connect with a real person from our team. I mean, you can go on our website, and fill out a form, and you’re gonna hear from Sean most of the time.

Tony (18:34):


Tiffany (18:35):

You may hear from Jacinta. You may hear from someone else. I saw a church website this summer. I can’t remember the name of the church, and I wish I could, ’cause I’d love to call out what a great job they did. On their homepage, they had the “Connect With Us” form, and they had a photo headshot of their connections director right there and had her name. So, when you filled out this form, you knew who you were you were gonna talk to. They just made it so human.

Amy (18:58):


Tiffany (18:59):

I think that’s a really cool thing that you can be doing as a church is you can use technology, but it can still feel very human. The podcast is still working really well for us. I think as much as podcasts have grown, they’re still in their early stage. One thing we’ve learned is that developing content in series can be really effective. Churches do that so naturally with their message teaching, but you don’t have to be just limited to that format. You can think about short series on a podcast around any number of topics that might be equipping for your people or bonus content that would be you go a little deeper on something you’ve covered or, or take it and nuance it for a specific audience in a different way. That’s working. No one wants to hear it, but just consistency over time, consistency over time is the thing that always makes a difference. And I think sometimes we give up too quickly on new strategies and hang on too long to ones that aren’t working anymore. YouTube and Instagram were two that we started investing in probably three years ago, and we’re just now feeling like we’re really hitting a stride with them. But those are the two platforms I would say are on the upswing for us right now, where Facebook, and I hate calling it X but, the, the platform formally known as Twitter continue to decline. So we, we adjust the amount of time we invest in those platforms accordingly based on what we’re seeing.

Amy (20:22):

Tiffany, I wanted to affirm that real person. I was secret shopping a church this past year. And so I tried to really put on that persona of someone not connected. And they did make it really easy on their website to, you know, I felt comfortable submitting my name. If I would, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t do it. But I thought, would I do this? I would. And, it was maybe three, four days before I left to secret shop the church. And she called me. And, of course, I’ve got Amy from Unstuck on my brain, and she’s talking to me as if I’m not connected to the church, living in her area. But it made, it was so, it was so warm; it was so easy. And she really did a great job of helping me get ready for my first visit to the church. So.

Sean (21:03):

Nice. That’s awesome.

Tiffany (21:04):

That’s great.

Amy (21:04):

Just wanted to affirm that point you made.

Tony (21:07):

Sean, as we’re talking about how pastors and church leaders are engaging with our content, I mentioned that you are, and you really are having most of these conversations, with more than 60 churches that are considering the possibility of engaging the Unstuck process. In those conversations, what are you hearing that encourages you and maybe what are some of the common challenges that you’re hearing right now?

Sean (21:33):

So, Tiffany mentioned, you know, you reach out to The Unstuck Group most of the time you’re gonna get me. So, that means, you know, any given year, it’s three or 400 calls over the course of the year with pastors, church leaders. And a big part of that is I wanna hear their story. And so those, those themes, do stand out, you know, in all of those conversations. What, what’s really encouraging about, you know, this last year has been just the growth that most churches are experiencing. Again, not all, but a lot of churches are experiencing growth.

Amy (22:03):


Sean (22:04):

The pandemic was really tough. A lot of people were questioning, you know, whether they wanted to keep doing this, keep leading in the church. There’s a lot less of kind of that fun side of ministry. And for most churches, something happened in 2023 where we got to experience more of the fun side again.

Tony (22:19):


Amy (22:20):

A lot of churches dealing with the good problems, and the good problems being like, we’re running out space. We’re, we’re needing to hire more staff. You know, we’re, we’re figuring out, we’re trying to figure out how to break, break through that growth barrier that we see in front of us and then sustain health on the other side of it. So, those have been a lot more fun, the fun sort of problems to work on, especially with what we had the previous, yeah, couple of years before that. But very common sort of things for churches as they’re reaching out and going through that kind of momentum growth season. Not all churches have experienced that. And, you know, there’s still some kind of common challenges rather than just encouragement that stand out. And these are gonna be very similar to what you’ve heard from Tiffany and Amy, too, but staffing and structure challenges, some of the themes around that: it’s been prioritizing the next right hires, staff hires.

Amy (23:11):


Sean (23:12):

Kind of sorting through some of that governance stuff, especially with what Amy talked about, the structure that’s kind of holding back decision-making for pastors. Struggling to find leaders to hire, and realizing there hasn’t been an appropriate focus on kind of develop developing leaders, developing staff internally. Even some churches trying to determine how to address legacy staffing when sometimes the role has outgrown the leader, especially with some of the growth that’s happened over the last year. So, those are some of kind of the key themes I’ve heard on the staffing and structure side. Another big one this year has been multisite. So, for, for those churches who were already multisite before the pandemic, I think the pandemic kind of exposed some of the flaws in their strategy, and they’re trying to figure out how do we unwind some of it and kind of restart in some areas. Some of those churches have actually become more divided. So, this is a bit of a theme that I’ve heard from multisite churches existing before the pandemic; they’re more divided around some of those cultural issues. And I think part of that was fueled by the fact that they weren’t united in some of the most important areas, important ways before the pandemic started. And so that caused some of those flaws to stand out during the pandemic. Now, though, there’s a lot of churches that are reaching out because they’re just starting to consider going multisite. So, they’re growing right now.

Tony (24:31):


Sean (24:31):

They’re looking at the expense of expanding the footprint of their current building. They’re just realizing, you know, that’s very, very expensive currently. Mm-Hmm. They see more people who are driving from farther distances to attend their church, and they’re just seeing that opportunity to multiply what’s healthy right now in other places. And so a lot of churches who are kind of around that thousand mark broken through that thousand mark during the pandemic are doing the, during the last year, who are considering multisite for the first time. And then the other challenge, I would just say, this is sounds ironic, but it’s just growth. It’s growing churches growing and experiencing those growing pains.

Amy (25:11):


Sean (25:12):

You know, in 2023, I think there are a lot of churches that would admit, and they do admit on my calls with them, that they’re not entirely sure why they’re growing. They just know that they are and they don’t, they want to continue to ride that wave of momentum. They don’t want to, they, they don’t want that to wane. So, they, it’s kind of that Andy Stanley-ism: you’ve gotta know why something’s working when it’s working to know how it’s to fix it when it’s broken. And so, a lot of times the question they’re asking is, you know, we don’t know what we don’t know. Can you help us with that? They just kind of need that outside voice, outside set of eyes to get a better idea of their blind spots. And then, in our, in our language, you know, how do we get strategic? How do we experience strategic growth on the other side of that momentum season? So, those are, you know, some things that are encouraging, but also it’s just, you know, it is challenging to grow. There are challenges that come with health, but again, lot more fun to be working on those than the things we were the previous years before that.

Amy (26:16):

Yeah, much more fun.

Tony (26:17):

Yeah. And on that theme, Amy, as we kind of wrap up today’s conversation, you know, how much I enjoy bragging on the churches that we get to serve. And so, if you wouldn’t mind, I’d just love for you to take a moment to share some of the wins that you’re seeing with your team as we’ve been helping churches this past year.

Amy (26:37):


Tony (26:37):

And maybe just bring some encouragement around the kingdom impact that churches are experiencing in this season.

Amy (26:43):

Yeah, for sure. You know, when I was on staff at a church, my payday was baptism weekends.

Tony (26:48):

That’s right.

Amy (26:48):

When I, when we saw people go under the water and ’cause church work is hard. It, ministry leadership is, there’s never a finish line. And so baptism was always one of those times to step back. In my new world, being with the Unstuck team, we actually send out surveys to our churches about six months after they’ve finished going through the process with us because we wanna see if it was actually helpful. And these are kind of my paydays, and I share these with you. But I, I’ll just share a couple of ’em that we got back this year. So, one of the churches that, great churches in Indiana we worked with, when we asked, “What was your greatest takeaway or your success?” The lead pastor there just said, “Man, we have alignment now.” And he, he admits that the new senior leadership team is bumping around a little bit, but they are so much more focused. And they said, the team, you know, is wrestling through their key challenges, and they’re doing it with healthy conflict, greater clarity for future vision. And in fact, one elder on the team is now very empowered and leading alongside the staff in new and productive ways. So, if you would’ve seen where they started and where they came to, you know, and our mission is to help churches get unstuck. And in the Unstuck way, the last value we talk about is we want churches to get unstuck. We love our process, but if we didn’t get feedback like this, it really isn’t rewarding to just have churches go through a process. Tony, you worked with a great church up in Canada, and here’s what you were working on their multisite strategy. And the lead pastor said this. He said, “When you’re in the midst of an organization, you simply don’t know what you don’t know. And having you, Tony, come in and consult, was a great gift to help us see more clearly by asking very helpful and strategic questions that bring clarity, not only this, but help them narrow down the real action steps with great tools to make the process easier.” So, we know this church, they’re moving forward and that was a great success. We worked with another. We, we were in Indiana a lot this last year.

Sean (28:41):

Love Indiana.

Amy (28:41):

But this is another church that’s multisite.

Tony (28:43):

Oh, Sean’s just saying that because he lives in Indiana but yes.

Amy (28:48):

That’s why they must need help, right? Because . . .

Sean (28:50):

That’s probably why, yeah.

Amy (28:50):

But I, I like this feedback as a director of consulting because one of the things we try to do is really match the right consultant with the right church. And this lead pastor said, “Each consultant brought incredible background and clarity in their area of expertise and that each of them spoke to our situation rather than just generically.” And he said, “Each of them did something in the process that saved us a couple of mistakes that would’ve hurt our progress.” So one, he said, “In the first visit, we got some powerful insights on simple things we can change about our Sunday morning that will help. In the planning time, they said real clarity around many of the issues that we have to decide in terms of decision rights and structure and the pathways that need to be determined between now and when they launch their next multisite. And then, the staffing and structure just felt like we helped them work through those intermediate steps that are necessary to get from where they are today to where they need to be. And he said, I just cannot tell you how much I appreciated the practical insights. So, this is a church that’s working their plans. They’re in the implementation phase with us, and God’s placed them in such a unique, unique communities. And they, they have a heart, and they’re being successful in, in reaching new people. And then, I’ll just land with this one. This one makes me smile. This was from a church in North Carolina. He said, “We just finished our one year with The Unstuck Group.” He said, “I cannot speak highly enough of the help we’ve received this year. I believe this has been the greatest year in our 35-year history. And I believe that a large part of that is due to the prodding, advice, challenges we receive from them.”

Sean (30:25):

That’s great.

Amy (30:26):

So, it might feel like, I’m bragging on Unstuck. I’m actually bragging on these churches because they, they took this information, they took the learnings, and these guys are moving their churches forward. So, I just love that—the greatest year in our 35-year history.

Sean (30:39):

That’s phenomenal.

Tony (30:40):

That’s awesome.

Tiffany (30:40):

Been doing the hard work.

Tony (30:41):

That’s right.

Amy (30:42):

Doing the hard work. Well, Tony, you’ve been asking us a lot of questions. I’m just curious, you know, do you have any final thoughts before we wrap up this little team conversation?

Tony (30:51):

Well, this is fun. We should do this more often. It’s fun to get, especially Sean and Tiffany. I mean, I hear from Amy every week on this podcast. But ,Tiffany, Sean, it’s good to have you, part of this conversation. And for our listeners, too, thank you for going along with us in this journey these past number of months. Goodness, it’s just so fun to be able to hear from you because we do many times, either when we’re in your churches or you give us great feedback, email or social media or however you do that. So, thank you for being with us in this journey. I’m really looking forward to this coming year on the podcast, beginning with next week. I’ve been hoping for a long time to do a series . . .

Tiffany (31:36):

Long time.

Amy (31:36):

Long time.

Tony (31:36):

On, on stupid. . .oh, you guys. I finally got my way. We’re gonna start a series next week on Stupid Church Tricks. So you’re definitely gonna wanna be back for that. But beyond that, why are you laughing, Sean, Tiffany, Amy? You know, who signs your paychecks, don’t you?

Sean (31:53):


Amy (31:54):

I think it’s a great idea, Tony. I’m excited for this series.

Sean (31:57):

It is a wonderful idea.

Amy (31:58):

Best idea I’ve heard.

Tony (31:59):


Sean (32:00):

We always love the, when the sarcasm comes out with Tony. So, we’re all looking forward to it.

Tony (32:03):

I will, I will bring my best sarcasm for that series: Stupid Church Tricks beginning next week. But here’s the deal. We also want to remain engaged with you around the content that you want to hear. So, I want you to reach out to us. Just take a moment this week. Send us the topics that you want us to address in 2024. We wanna hear from you, and you can either reach out to us on social media or email us. And I’m gonna give you my email address. It is tony, T-O-N-Y, @theunstuckgroup.com. That is my email address. However, I will not be answering all your emails. I just wanna be upfront with you But that is my email address. But we wanna hear from you: what are the topics that you want to engage in 2024? And then, please, if you enjoy this, these conversations and the content that we’re offering, share the love. So, tell a friend about the podcast, and then message them today with a link to the podcast so that they can begin to follow along, especially next week for Stupid Church Tricks.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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