CNLP 008: Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture? – An Interview with Rich Birch

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Are contemporary churches really that contemporary anymore, or are we fooling ourselves?

In today’s podcast, Rich Birch, one of the most forward looking church leaders around today, looks at the rapid cultural changes happening in North America and talks about how church leaders can do a better job of advancing the mission of the church as we move into the future.

AND, don’t miss my first ever podcast contest! Make sure you enter today. 

Scroll all the way to the bottom to enter to win the weekly prize—a free copy of my book, Leading Change Without Losing Itand be entered to win the grand prize: admission to the Orange Conference 2015, plus coffee with me and Jon Acuff.

Welcome to Episode 8 of the podcast.

Rich on Facebook

Rich on Twitter

unSeminary (Rich’s blog)

unSeminary Podcast (Rich’s podcast)

A Free eBook from Rich Birch

Just for my listeners, Rich is giving away a free copy of his e-book, Effective Announcements: Leverage 5 Minutes in Every Church Service to Move People to Action. You can check out a special link on his website at

The links and resources mentioned in this episode include:

The Leadership Podcast on iTunes

The Leadership Podcast on Stitcher

The Leadership Podcast on TuneIn Radio

Carey on Twitter

Carey on Facebook

Connexus Church

The Meeting House

Liquid Church

8 Charts That Explain How Our Culture Is Changing

Hillsong Young & Free

Hillsong United

Hillsong Worship

The Demise of the Electric Guitar in Music

Derwin Gray at Transformation Church

Darryn Scheske at Heartland Church

Billy Phenix at Buckhead Church

Andy Stanley at North Point Community Church

The 10 Before (An example from April 2013 of North Point’s pre-service announcements)

Orange (Reggie Joiner‘s family ministry organization)

A Faith of Our Own: Following Jesus Beyond the Culture Wars by Jonathan Merritt

Willow Creek Community Church

Shepherd’s Grove (formerly The Crystal Cathedral)

3 Things You Can Do Right Away

Rich says that churches need to engage more with their communities. They must actively reach out to those outside of their primary demographic if they want to appeal to other groups. Here are three things you can do now:

1. Bring younger leaders around you. If you look around the room you lead in and majority of the people are the same age as you, you have a problem. Deliberately push the age down and find younger leaders to help you, especially with programming and creative. Consider starting an internship program to provide a recurring opportunity for you to invest in young leaders while also learning from the next generation.

2. Get in relationship with leaders further along than you. There may be a leader with a larger church or someone who achieved success with an aspect of their mission, such as reaching unchurched people. Contact leaders you respect and ask for an opportunity to pick their brain over lunch. Most people are generous and willing to share their time and wisdom if asked.

3. Ask more questions. What music caters to your target demographic? What language to they speak? The small things make the biggest difference. You love your church’s music, but the community may not. Don’t be afraid to experiment. What you think is contemporary may not be. Also, discover the demographics of the families in your community. From the point of view of pastoral leadership, your church needs to be ready for the current state of your community. Ask yourself, “How can my church do a better job serving non-traditional families in my community, such as single parents and their kids?”

Quotes to Share from Rich

CNLP 008: Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture? – An Interview with Rich Birch Click To Tweet CNLP 008: Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture? – An Interview with Rich Birch Click To Tweet CNLP 008: Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture? – An Interview with Rich Birch Click To Tweet CNLP 008: Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture? – An Interview with Rich Birch Click To Tweet CNLP 008: Are Contemporary Churches Losing Their Edge in a Changing Culture? – An Interview with Rich Birch Click To Tweet

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I’ll be giving some keynotes and doing some breakouts on parenting, leadership and the church, and hosting a lunch for senior leaders. I’d love to hang out. Sign up below!

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Got a question?

Next Episode: Jon Acuff

Why is it that so many of us struggle with work? Does everyone have a dream job? And does social media and leadership make you narcissistic?

These are just a few of the issues we touch on next week when we talk to New York Times best-selling author and social media expert Jon Acuff.

That’s next Tuesday on the podcast.

What’s Stopping Your Church From Growing? 

Over the years, I’ve worked with thousands of church leaders to help them understand the dynamics of church growth.

And here’s what I've learned.

It’s almost never a lack of passion or effort that leads to stagnation, it’s that growing churches are effective at removing the barriers that stand between them and reaching more people.

And that’s exactly why I created The Art of Church Growth course.

By taking a thorough evaluation of your leadership team, volunteer core, missional alignment, and culture, you'll create an action plan to:

  1. Discover and eliminate the barriers that keep your church from growing
  2. Guide your church through transformational conversations that lead to growth and discipleship

While only God can grant growth, you can position your church for it. The best time to do that is now.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.