CNLP 113: unSeminary’s Rich Birch on Why Some Churches Beat the Odds and Grow

Rich Birch has worked for three large churches that have launched over a dozen new locations, and he’s seen many small and mid-sized churches turn things around. What’s their secret? They do unreasonable things.

Welcome to Episode 113 of the Podcast.


Guest Links: Rich Birch

Rich on Facebook

Rich on Twitter

Unreasonable Churches: 10 Churches Who Zagged When Others Zigged and Saw More Impact Because of It by Rich Birch

Rich’s blog: unSeminary

Rich’s Podcast: unSeminary Podcast

Liquid Church

Links Mentioned

Rich Birch on Episode 008

The Canadian Church Leaders Podcast

TrainedUp Leadership

TrainedUp’s Free eBook: Recruit and Deploy More Volunteers

ReThink Leadership

Connexus Church For The City

CreateSpace by Amazon

3 Things from This Episode

94% of churches aren’t growing as quickly as the communities they’re in. In Rich Birch’s new book, Unreasonable Churches: 10 Churches Who Zagged When Others Zigged and Saw More Impact Because of Ithe found 10 churches that broke the trend and experienced growth by doing things differently. Rich isn’t here to tell you how to perfectly follow their steps—but to encourage you to take action on that idea you’ve always had but maybe thought that it was just a bit unreasonable.

Here are three takeaways from my conversation with Rich:

1. Most churches make excuses. It’s easy to look at other churches and think: “If I was in that area of the country” or, “If I had that staff” then things would be different. The reality is that the majority of churches are struggling with growth. You can choose to focus on the negative, or you can choose to see what God is still doing through your church.

2. Unreasonable churches rally people to the mission. There’s a common pattern in thriving churches: asking people to go above and beyond. Churches are raising the flag and saying “This is what’s important to us.” When people understand the why, they can connect to the what. It’s our job to steward the message that giving to the local church makes sense.

Example: See how Connexus Church is doing this with For The City.

3. What worked 30 years ago doesn’t always work now. This is true in a variety of ways. Whether it’s moving to automatic payments for tithing or viewing multi-site as the new normal, it’s okay to be experimental, innovative and maybe even a bit unreasonable.

Quotes from this Episode

Lasting Impact Team Edition


The team edition is a compilation of eight videos designed to allow the teams in your church follow along as a supplement to the book. I highlight key points from the material and discuss additional hot topics that relate to your ministry.

Get your copy of Lasting Impact today! 

Lasting Impact frames 7 pivotal conversations every church team needs to have, covering subjects like declining church attendance, team health, creating a culture volunteers love and how to engineer changes in your church.

Order on Amazon, or visit! The video team edition, featuring 8 videos where I teach through the key concepts in the book, is available now as well!

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Next Episode: William Vanderbloemen

So…how do you know when it’s time to quit? Few people are better positioned to talk about it than William Vanderbloemen, who deals with staff and churches in transition every day. William shares some amazing insights on when you should stay and when you should go.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 114.

CNLP 113: unSeminary’s Rich Birch on Why Some Churches Beat the Odds and Grow


  1. Mark on November 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    The whole premise of “church growth” is starting to turn me off. You see it and hear it everywhere. Everyone talking about how to grow your church. Now, I am not against church growth however to grow for the sake of growth (and numbers) will produce nothing. Where I live in Florida, there are a few mega churches in the area. A lot of bells and whistles” latest technology, Super sonic music. They have energy, excitement, all kinds of programs and ministries however when it come to depth and discipleship, they have neither. They are a shallow bunch, bent on emotion as if they attending their favorite rock concert. In many churches, the idea of church growth has replaced the gospel. Now, it’s no longer about raising disciples it’s all about how tell people about our church, get on social media and tell everyone how great our church is, bring people to church so they can be “wowed” by everything they see, hear and experience. Oh yeah and there’s Jesus too.
    Churches now have engaged in mass marketing but not by preaching the gospel but by preaching the “church”. Some even hire marketers to show how to fill more seats and get more people to come, it has become a business.
    Jesus never had to advertise because he healed the sick, cast out demons and touch people’s hearts in ways that brought real change and peace in their lives. If the church would do these things, genuinely love one another and take care of each others needs they wouldn’t need a 10 step program on how to grow your church, they wouldn’t be able to contain the amount of people that would come…………………………….

  2. Gregory Long on November 12, 2016 at 11:47 am

    As an Elder in a growing church, the only two podcasts I listen to regularly are Andy Stanley and Carey Nieuwhof. Carey’s content and insight are deeply appreciated and lovin’ (and using) the multisite best practices from Rich Birch. Many thanks! PS. Also good to know Amazon’s CreateSpace system works. I’m using that myself; nice to know from Rich that it works.

  3. Angela Alvarado on November 8, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    This is a podcast worth listening to. Some valuable things to consider
    and I’ve found to be true no matter your ministry size/setting.

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