why even healthy churches need to change

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When you’re on a winning team, you want to continue winning. So churches experiencing sustained health are typically asking one question: How do we preserve what’s working right now so that we can continue to have impact in our ministry?

However, they really should be asking: What do we need to change so that we can begin to multiply?

Rather than trying to preserve what's working today, healthy churches must ask what they need to change so that they can begin to multiply in the future. Share on X

Change sounds counterintuitive, because if you have reached a place of sustained health, what you’re doing right now is obviously working. (We all know the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”)

But there are three reasons why churches need to embrace change, even when they’re currently experiencing health:

1. Success breeds complacency.

When things start working, we get afraid to mess it up. People are financially supporting and rallying behind what we’re doing now… So we begin to avoid change instead of embracing it.

Ask yourself: “Are we willing to change?”

(FYI: If you can honestly say yes, you’re probably on the growing side of sustained health. If you say no, you may be moving toward maintenance.)

2. Change doesn’t seem like the “right” or “holy” thing to do.

It doesn’t take long for our methods to become our traditions. We begin to like the way we do things, and often connect with other networks and leaders who do things the same way. In some instances, churches are more concerned with protecting methodology over theology.

Ask yourself: “Is it that the change isn’t right or holy, or is it that I don’t want to embrace change?”

3. People don’t like change.

At the end of the day, we like to be comfortable. We like to do things the way we like to do things. But God doesn’t want us to be comfortable. We can’t have new influence while maintaining our old ways. We can’t reach new people with old methods.

Ask yourself: “Is it really sacred, or is it just familiar? Is it really holy, or is it just comfortable?”

Stuck churches avoid change. Healthy, thriving churches embrace change.

Reflection Exercise:

Read and reflect on Isaiah 43:18-19, then bring your team together for a “start, stop, reinvent, and reinvest” conversation. Create a column for each category on a whiteboard and go through every program and ministry your church has. Think about what needs to start, what needs to stop, and what you need to reinvent. Based on those three columns, where do you need to reinvest? 

Once you’ve completed the exercise, determine together what action is needed. Assign a point leader. Set a target date for completion. And hold each other accountable for implementing the changes.

Stuck churches avoid change. Healthy, thriving churches embrace change. Share on X

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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