Why Churches Lose Momentum – And How to Get It Back

by | Nov 13, 2023 | Church Growth, Church Health, Church Leadership, Church Revitalization

Today, I’m diving into something that’s both critical and a bit uncomfortable: Why do churches lose momentum? You know, that feeling when everything seems to be stalling out? The stats indicate that the majority of churches in the USA are at a plateau or even in decline. Let’s get real about it, drop the excuses, and see what can be done. Here are some reasons why churches lose momentum:


Losing Sight of the ‘Why’


We started with a bang, right? Passionate about reaching people and spreading the Word. But then, the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ took over the ‘why.’ We got caught up in the logistics, the numbers, and somewhere along the way, our initial fire started to dim. Let’s remember our core mission and reignite that flame! Go back to the vision and mission statement that you wrote when first planting the church.


Leadership Complacency


Here’s a hard truth – momentum stalls when leadership gets comfortable. It’s easy to slip into a routine, to stop innovating and taking risks. Leaders, it’s on us to stay on our toes, keep learning, and push boundaries. Comfort zones are where momentum goes to die.

Have you stopped dreaming? Have you stopped taking risks and merely guarding what you have  – the building or the number of people currently attending?


Neglecting New Blood


Churches thrive on fresh perspectives and new energy. But sometimes, we close the doors on this without realizing it. Whether it’s unintentional or a result of sticking to the ‘old ways,’ it’s a momentum killer. Let’s be intentional about welcoming new faces and ideas! Also, don’t neglect the input from younger generations.


Communication Breakdown


Ever played the telephone game? The “telephone game” is a popular social activity where players sit in a circle or line and pass a message from one person to the next, typically in whispers. The first person in the chain whispers a message to their neighbor, and this message is quietly passed along the line. The fun and challenge of the game arise from the distortions and alterations that often occur as the message is relayed from person to person. By the time the last player receives the message, it usually has transformed significantly from the original.

That’s what happens in our churches when communication falters. Misunderstandings, assumptions, and rumors can spread like wildfire, dampening enthusiasm and trust. Clear, open, and honest communication is non-negotiable.


Losing Connection with the Community


We’re not just a church; we’re a part of the community. When we lose touch with the local needs and stop being relevant, our momentum suffers. Let’s step outside our doors, listen to our neighbors, and be the change we preach.


Fear of Change


Ah, the big one. Change is scary but necessary. The world is moving, and if we stand still, we’re moving backward. Let’s embrace change, experiment, and learn. Not all changes will work out, but that’s okay. Learn from your mistakes and missteps, tweak the plan, and try again. It’s about the journey.


So, what do we do?

We re-focus, re-engage, and re-commit.

We remember our ‘why,’ energize our leadership, welcome new voices, streamline communication, connect with our community, and embrace change. Assemble your team and remember that together, you can regain momentum and make a difference.


Read more blog posts by Jeff Hoglen, D.Min

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