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September 21, 2017

Breaking Barriers

By Daniel Im

Our Q&A Webinars are a monthly segment designed for Plus Members to hear from leading experts in church planting, multisite, leadership, and multiplication. For this month’s segment, Ed Stetzer and I talk with Carey Nieuwhof. Carey shares his insight on growth, health, and breaking barriers from his book, Lasting Impact: 7 Powerful Conversations That Will Help Your Church Grow.

Common Growth Barriers

Carey said one of the biggest barriers to church growth is size. The first barrier is reaching 200, then 400, then 800. In order to overcome those barriers, the church must always be looking ahead and building high trust amongst leadership. Carey also notes the importance of hiring leaders and not doers. You want people who can lead teams of volunteers because you can’t keep hiring your problems away.

According to Carey, attendance matters because that is the way churches gather in our culture. Sunday mornings are the best container and method we have to increase momentum of church growth. While attendance does affect momentum, it should not be idolized. The focus should always be on making forward progress more than doubling in size. The health of your church, the people that comprise your attendance—that is where progress should be sought. Where people are thriving, attendance will rise and momentum will follow.

Weather Matters?

With a church located north of Toronto, Carey is very familiar with the perpetual issue of weather. He shared that his church has adapted an opportunistic mindset when it comes to inclement weather. For example, on Sundays when it’s cold and snowing, he sees this as an opportunity for his team to serve the church by brushing snow off people’s cars, assisting mothers with their children, and serving hot chocolate. By adopting this mindset and perspective, they are turning a barrier into an opportunity, rather than using it as a scapegoat. In his own words, “You can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.”

To read the remainder of the article, and to watch the full video, click here.

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  • “If you’re a doer, you’ll never quite have the advancement you’d have as a leader.” –@cnieuwhof
  • “You can make excuses or you can make progress, but you can’t make both.” –@cnieuwhof
  • “I would say the best marketing in the world is your people. It’s word of mouth.” –@cnieuwhof
  • “Why are we trying to shoehorn where the Holy Spirit is moving or create a one-size-fits-all system? Do what grows the Kingdom.” –@cnieuwhof

Additional Resources: 


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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