Josh Gagnon started Next Level Church in New England with 30 people on day one…in an auditorium that sat 800. Not a great recipe for success. On the second Sunday, Daniel King volunteered to join Josh’s team, and they’ve seen Next Level grow to 5000 people in 9 locations and four states.
In this special episode, they share all their challenges, principles and secrets on breaking all the attendance barriers between 30 and 5000. Guess what? The first 200 was the hardest, and they share why.
Welcome to Episode 225 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
Grow Beyond 200
Would you like to see your church grow to more than 200 in weekly attendance?
You’re certainly not alone. The vast majority of churches in North America never break this growth barrier. I’ve worked with hundreds of pastors during the last 20 years to better understand why churches hit plateaus—and how to break past them.
Just “working harder” won’t cut it either. In Breaking 200, I’ll share with you a few key changes your church can make to become the church God has called you to be.
In this eight-lesson video course, you’ll learn:
- How to structure your church to grow
- How to scale your pastoral care so you can help more people without burning out
- How to find the right leaders to take your church to the next level
- & much more!
Each session will include an interactive workbook with exercises to help you and your team apply what you’re learning to your ministry context right away.
Breaking 200 enrollment is open! Don’t miss out on the absolutely best pricing of the season and exclusive bonus material at breaking200course.com.
3 Insights from Josh & Daniel
1. Breaking barriers requires a shift in mentality and a commitment to the “why”
85% of churches never break the 200 barrier. Maybe it’s because many aren’t willing to face the growing pains that are necessary to culturally and systematically change the organization in order to overcome that number. A shift in mentality has to take place for this to work – a shift in thinking, culture and influence in order to implement the changes necessary to break the barriers.
Once you and your team have that mentality shift down, know your why and continually keep your why front and center for your church. People start rallying around the why when they understand the reason behind it.
2. Some people are pillars and some are not
Staging supports the build of a house so that the higher level can be reached, but once the roof is on, the staging comes down. It doesn’t stay there permanently. It’s the same idea with people. Some people are pillars and other people just aren’t.
The truth is, some people aren’t going to be a part of your church forever. Does it feel like the ultimate rejection in the moment? Yes! But don’t make it such a personal loss. Be okay with the fact that sometimes some people are going to leave in those harder seasons.
3. Prepare a big launch week with the weeks to come in mind
Launching big doesn’t mean planning and preparing for a grand opening weekend and then calling it done. A big launch won’t go well if all the resources and energy are only focused on the kick off. That strategy will see little, if any, return.
Market the first weekend with an intentional plan for the weeks that follow. Don’t blow the entire budget on week one. Sure, the kick off should be a huge deal, but in order to make a lasting impression, continue making your presence known throughout the community beyond launch day.
Sometimes there is a tendency to focus on simply filling the room. Week one sets the tone for what the next week is going to look like. It’s important to launch with people who can actually come back the next week to keep the momentum going strong.
Quotes from Episode 225
If 85% of churches can't break 200, it could be because we just don't know how or aren't willing to face the pain that it takes to culturally, systematically change the organization, in order to overcome that number. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet
I'm never going to be a pastor that expects God to do something that I didn't dig a ditch for Him to fill with rain. I think, when God gives you a dream, He hands it to you with a shovel. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet
I decided early on that I would rather fail than never go after what I believed I was created to do. I may fail in trying, but not trying and giving it all I had to get there wasn't an option. @joshgagnon Click To Tweet
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss: Didn’t See It Coming Will Help
If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.
I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.
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Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:
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Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author
“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.
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Subscribe for free and never miss out on wisdom from world-class leaders like Brian Houston, Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Nancy Duarte, Henry Cloud, Patrick Lencioni, Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Erwin McManus and many others.
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Next Episode: Adam Hamilton
Adam Hamilton planted a mainline church 28 years ago. The goal was to reach thinking people who are skeptical of Christianity. His church quickly became one of the largest and fastest growing mainline churches in the world. In a wide-ranging interview, Adam talks about the strategy behind Church of the Resurrection, how tradition and modern expressions of worship can live together in the same church, and how he’s stayed fresh over almost 3 decades of leadership.
Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 226.