CNLP 377: Todd Wilson on the Future of Church Growth, How Church Finances Impact the Return to Church, and the Future of Innovative Church Planting

Todd Wilson, President of Exponential, talks about the future of church growth, why trying to get people back into buildings might be an old church planting strategy and the future of innovative church planting.

Plus, Todd talks in-depth about how church funding models can adversely impact real innovation in church planting.

Welcome to Episode 377 of the podcastListen 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.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about three shocking statistics that show how quickly, radically and possibly permanently church is changing in 2020.

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The Mobilization Flywheel by Larry Walkemeyer and Todd Wilson

Mega Multi Multiply by Ralph Moore with Todd Wilson

Bob Buford and Leadership Network

Exponential Roundtables

Barna Research

ChurchPulse Weekly

3 Shocking Statistics that Show How Quickly, Radically (and Permanently?) Church is Changing in 2020 by Carey Nieuwhof

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1. Let’s agree there’s a new normal

With the impact of the COVID pandemic, churches have had to change their evangelism methods. Todd says, “What we’ve done is we’ve thrown a 100% of churches into this chaos. And whatever the new normal’s become, is it a radical new normal? Is it a partial new normal? Let’s just agree, there’s a new normal.”

So, how should you respond? Todd says to look at the trends and ask the questions, “Why do I have a physical building? Why do I need it? Why not be completely digital?” The big question ultimately then becomes, “What physically is church?”

If you can dig into these questions, you can gain insight into what the next new normal is.

2. Ask your donors to support digital

While Todd does not see the brick and mortar model of churches going away, if you’re offering digital as an option to your church, why not ask your donors to support that?

There are quite a bit of churches right now with a lot of debt on their buildings. 98% of churches are driven by facilities and staff. And the staff are essentially there to facilitate in-person experiences in the facilities. So, how do you fund your church if you can’t fill it back up?

Think of this season as a great opportunity to approach some of your top donors and say, “Hey, we want to do online. We don’t know where this is going to go. We’re going into new territory. Would you get behind us? Would you fund an increased online presence?”

3. Micro-sites may be the future

Are micro-sites the wave of the future for the church? Todd thinks this is a possibility.  Even ten years ago, Exponential hypothesized micro-sites as the pace setters of the future.

Micro-sites are also opportunity for the church to be more of a functioning family when you’ve de-centralized it into cells as opposed to something that you come to on Sunday morning. This model requires the church to be a missionary-sending agency to see every person as an every day missionary with an every day mission field. The church then becomes an equipping center instead of a training center.

Quotes from Episode 377

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Getting a stuck church growing, or helping a church that’s reaching new people grow even further can seem daunting.

It doesn’t have to be.

Whether you’re a church that isn’t growing, has plateaued, or whether you wish your church was growing faster than it is, I’d love to help you break through. That’s why I created the Church Growth Masterclass.

The Church Growth Masterclass is everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.

Naturally, I can’t make a church grow. You can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that.

But I believe you can position your church to grow.

You can knock down the barriers that keep you from growing. You can eliminate the things that keep your church from growing and implement some strategies that will help you reach far more people. That’s what I’d love to help you do in the Church Growth Masterclass.

In the Church Growth Masterclass I’ll show you:

  • The 10 reasons your church isn’t growing
  • Why even committed church-goers aren’t attending as often as before
  • How to tell if your church leaders are getting burned out
  • The 5 keys to your church better impacting millennials.
  • What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change
  • 5 essentials for church growth
  • 5 disruptive church trends to watch—and how to respond
  • How to increase church attendance by increasing engagement.

The Church Growth Masterclass includes a complete set of videos that you can play with your team, board or staff, PDF workbooks that will help you tackle the issues you’re facing, and bonus materials that will help you navigate the most pressing issues facing churches that want to reach their cities today.

You can learn more and gain instant access to the course today.


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Next Episode: Thom Rainer

Thom Rainer works with thousands of church leaders and shares his insights on attendance trends in the post-quarantine church, what pastors of small, mid-sized and large church are missing and the tremendous opportunities ahead for church leaders.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 378.

CNLP 377: Todd Wilson on the Future of Church Growth, How Church Finances Impact the Return to Church, and the Future of Innovative Church Planting


  1. Bhima Raita on November 12, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Dear sir
    We humble request to you please pray for us orphanage children home and church building countrction support us and widow support us
    Pastor Bhima Raita Odisha state India

  2. Trevor Cherryholmes on November 12, 2020 at 12:14 am

    This was sooo good! Thankful to hear some of these things that we are already starting to try!

    We started dreaming micro churches and digital before covid, and now we are in it and planning to launch this next year! Conversations like this are so encouraging to hear and pump me up for the future!


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