Where Is Your Church In These Seven Stages?

A while back I heard a Carey Nieuwhof Podcast with Les McKeown, author of Predictable Success. His premise was that every organization goes through these steps:

  1. Early Struggle
  2. Fun
  3. Whitewater
  4. Predictable Success
  5. Treadmill
  6. The Big Rut
  7. Death Rattle

I thought about this several times and how easily ministries can get stuck in one of these areas.  It was amazing how much this principle worked so well with the church.

Then I picked up Tony Morgan’s book The Unstuck Church. It’s a great book that uses a similar theory but writes specifically from the standpoint of the church.

His seven levels are:

  1. Launch
  2. Momentum Growth
  3. Strategic Growth
  4. Sustained Health
  5. Maintenance
  6. Preservation
  7. Life Support

The book describes each of these phases thoroughly.

A couple of thoughts stand out:

  • The goal is to live in level 4, the top of the curve.
  • If strategies and systems aren’t developed well in level three, a church can’t get to level four.
  • Often, the maintenance level may be confused with strategy and systems.
  • A church may even see giving and attendance growth during the maintenance phase. People have matured.
  • The problem is that in level 3, the systems are being designed to aid in the mission.
  • In level 5, the systems and strategies are designed to preserve the institution.
  • Level 3 is a tough place to be because it requires a change in leadership style from level 2 leadership.
  • Level 3 is a place where systems and strategies are put in place to bring about future growth.
  • For established churches, focusing on level three may be what is needed – developing the systems to move forward.

There are a ton of insights in this book about how the leader of the organization must be ready to adapt his or her leadership style to help change the culture and climate of the church.

As I read this book, I thought about our church and about Harvest Ministry! I need to keep reflecting a bit more, but the book definitely calls a person to action. If you’re a pastor, this easy-to-read book would be worth it!




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Other Posts:

Disciplined Preparation Creates Momentum

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The ABC’s Of A High Performance Church Staff

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