6 Challenges Fast Growing Churches Face
We spendÂ exhaustive amountsÂ of time and resources on equippingÂ pastors and church leaders with the toolsÂ needed to accelerate attendance and generosity in their churches.Â This investment is worth it because people’s eternities matter that much.Â What we spend little time on, however,Â is avoiding the mistakes thatÂ fast-growing churches often make.
In its September issue, Inc. Magazine profiles America’s 500 fastest growing private companies.Â As part of its coverage, writer Kimberly Weisul also discusses 6 “Speed Traps”Â these organizations face.
Weisul referencesÂ a recent study conducted by Gary Kunkle of the Edward Lowe Foundation’s Institute for Exceptional Growth Companies.Â Kunkle surveyed over 600Â fast-growing companies in Pennsylvania.Â Â Interestingly, he discovered these companies all faced the same challenges.
Kunkle said, “These challenges transcend the industry you’re in, the location you’re in , or the size you are.”Â As I began to read the results of the study, I noticed incredible parallels to fast-growing churches.Â AsÂ mentioned, these challenges transcend any industry.Â See if theseÂ six challenges apply to your church.
- Your Business Outgrows Its StaffÂ - The complexities and demands of a church of 2,000 attendance are different fromÂ when it was first planted.Â So what happens when the competencies needed for your current environment outpace your current staff who are dear friends and sacrificed everything to launch the ministry.Â Church leaders have been taught to have difficult conversations and replace those individuals.Â Black Elk Energy CEO John Hoffman disagrees.Â He says, “It’s very easy to say, ‘You no longer fit, so you haveÂ to go’.Â But that’s counter to our culture.”Â Â Instead, Hoffman kept their current level of pay, brought inÂ new executive leadership, let them learn from each other, and gave them new assignments better equipped for their skill sets.Â The result is zero attrition in an industryÂ where talented individuals are hard to come by.
- You Wait Too LongÂ To HireÂ - FM Facility MaintenanceÂ CEO Jim ReaveyÂ attempts to hire new account managers 120 days in advance of when he feels his sales pipeline will mature.Â This allows ample time for training and integration into the company’s culture.Â So what happens if the sales do not come to fruition?Â Reavey hires the best overall talents, not justÂ position-specific.Â This is the “best athlete available” approach.Â Overall talents can then be placed anywhere within his organization.
- Poor SystemsÂ - OtterBoxÂ founder Curt Richardson recently lost an estimated $10 million when his company failedÂ toÂ manufacture and shipÂ its products on time.Â Here are some of his comments – “We totally blew it…I’ve realized I can’t fight this thing the way I fought when the company was small.Â If I expect to scale, I need to lookÂ at this totally differently…When you’re growing this fast, the process you have today will not be working in six months.”Â Pastors, can you relate?
- You Run Out Of MoneyÂ - In fast growing churches, the ministry need oftenÂ outpaces the ministry resources.Â MicroTech CEO Tony Jimenez understands this predicament.Â Kunkle says,Â ”Companies often actually become less liquid as they grow.Â They grown themselves right into bankruptcy.”Â Â Fast-growing churches may not necessarily go bankrupt, butÂ staff hires and investment into key ministry areas may not happenÂ due to lack of funding.
- You Can’t Keep Up With The DemandÂ - Kunkle says this “is the most dangerous point for hypergrowth companies.Â They need to expand (think staff, facilities, programs) and often need to go into debt to do it (think building campaigns).Â If the demand doesn’t show up, they end up highly leveraged.”
- The Problem Is YouÂ - This is critical.Â Kunkle says, “Most high-growth entrepreneurs, he has found, lack the experience needed to guide their organizations.”Â Kunkle also suggests they create advisory boards and join networking groups.Â Pastor, don’t do ministry alone. Get competent partners around you. Â As a Senior Consultant at Injoy Stewardship Solutions, weÂ come alongsideÂ pastors and leadersÂ ofÂ fast-growing churches to guide them throughÂ capital campaigns and the expansion ofÂ current cultures of generosity.Â IfÂ you wouldÂ like to discuss the resource challenges youÂ currently face, please send me a note through this site orÂ at email@example.com.Â Â I willÂ contact you as quickly asÂ possible.Â Â
Your Growth Has Outgrown Your Current Staff, You’ve Waited Too Long To Hire, Poor Systems, Limited Financial Resources, You Can’t Keep Up With The Demand, and Self-Leadership.Â If you are facing any of theseÂ six issues, please address them immediately so your growth can continue.Â People’s eternities matter that much.
Pastors and church leaders, what additional challenges have you faced that have come with the growth of your churches?
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