As many leaders know first hand, starting a church isn’t easy. Carey has an honest conversation about the ups and downs of planting a church with Adam Duckworth and John Garippa, six months into planting Downtown Harbor Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Welcome to Episode 92 of the Podcast.


Guest Links: Adam Duckworth and John Garippa

Adam Duckworth on Twitter

John Garippa

Not Normal: Seven Quirks of Incredible Volunteers

Leading Not Normal Volunteers: A Not Normal Guide for Leading Your Incredible, Quirky Team

Sue Miller; Episode 60

Downtown Harbor Church

Downtown Harbor Church on Facebook

Downtown Harbor Church on Instagram

Take a Walk, Adam’s sermon series

Links Mentioned


Bryan Miles; Episode 45

Sarah Piercy; Episode 90

Injoy Stewardship Solutions


Camp KidJam

Reggie Joiner

Brian Wangler; Episode 76

Andy Stanley; Episode 1

Joe Sangl; Episode 68

Chris Brown; Episode 67

Takeaways from this Episode

Adam and John discovered that 87 percent of people in their area weren’t going to church, so they spent time figuring out why. What they found was that people didn’t have a problem with the way church operates, but it was much deeper than that. Here are their findings:

  1. People found church to be a waste of time. The church wasn’t speaking to the community and people didn’t find that it made a difference in their life.
  2. Acceptance was conditional. Although the church was telling the community they were welcome, people found conflicting messages.
  3. No politics. People don’t want to hear about political issues discussed in church. It’s a huge distraction in the American church, so don’t talk about it.
  4. They hate seeing fake. People would see their neighbor attend church and see them outside of church, and they noticed hypocrisy. Be yourself, be normal and be engaging. People outside of church aren’t going to hide who they are. You shouldn’t either.
  5. The church seemed inward-focused. Many churches will create their own events and have a mentality that people will come to them. That never works. You spend all your time creating the events for your church members, and they’re the only ones who show up. Get out in the community and meet people where they are.


The 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!

Quotes from this Episode

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Next Episode: Scott Magdalein

Every church struggles with having enough volunteers and leaders. But are the leaders you have well-trained, well-equipped and prepared for the task ahead? Carey Nieuwhof talks with Trained Up founder Scott Magdalein on how to train more leaders more efficiently.

Subscribe for free now, and you won’t miss Episode 93.

CNLP 092: Start-Up Church…Lessons from the Trenches of Church Planting with Adam Duckworth and John Garippa


  1. Jeremy Harper on September 4, 2020 at 8:54 am

    I am planting a church right now,
    And this was one of my FAVORITE episodes.
    These guys are onto something with overcoming obstacles with unchurched and dechurched people.
    We will be implementing these principles immediately.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on September 4, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      So glad to hear it!

  2. Jon Perrin on June 16, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Great interview! Four of the their five guiding principles were foundational for our church planting efforts in secular Europe. Political issues weren’t a part of the general church culture when we were there, so they weren’t a factor.

    If churches truly want to reach the unreached, they will have to do just what Adam & John did: Determine the roadblocks keeping outsiders out of churches and adjust their approach to connect with them. I also love the fact that they’ve given themselves permission to do their church services in much the same way other churches are doing them. It’s their church culture that is different. Too many churches are trying to come up with gimmicks. Gimmicks simply don’t work over the long haul.

    We have found that people are just as desperate for hope and truth today as they ever have been. They just don’t see the Church as a resource where they can find answers. We can change this if we’ll have the courage to read the culture and adjust.

    Again, it was a great interview. Thanks for all you do to help others in their leadership journey. Keep ’em coming, Carey!

  3. […] Click For Interview and Show Notes […]

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