So how do you stop your church from growing old…you know, to the point where you’re all 60 years old and wondering what happened to all the young families?

It’s a question every church leader either struggles with, or ought to struggle with.

This week I’m excited to be speaking at the Orange Conference in Atlanta Georgia.

As a way of serving those who attend my talks I’ll be posting the outline to each session here on the blog.

Even if you don’t attend the conference, I hope you can glean a few insights from them that might help you lead better now.  And if you’re in the session, you won’t have to guess what that pesky blank you forgot to fill in was all about.

So here’s the outline for my talk on how to stop your church from growing old.


It’s so easy for churches to lose touch with what families are going through. In this session, we’ll look at practical ways to make sure your church keeps speaking “family” through the generations, both in terms of content and in how you structure yourself to stay relevant.

1. How did we get here?

a. Irrelevance is always subtle but inevitable.

b. The bacon cheeseburger syndrome: everyone wants your church to grow…just not change.

c. The Google syndrome: the greatest enemy of your future success is your current success.

2. How do we get out of here?

a. Match your model to your mission. In most churches, the model doesn’t not match the mission.

b. Recruit next generation leaders to help you do it. The most effective strategies to reach the next generation will likely not come from the current generation.

c. Adopt a strategy to intentionally reach families.

3. Where do we go from here?

1. Design a main worship services that engages teenagers.

2. Decide you are not going to try to please everyone.

3. Develop an intentional strategy to impact families.

i.  Resource your family ministry team.

ii.  Synchronize your team around a master plan designed to reach families.

iii.  Refine your message.

iv.  Elevate community.

v.  Partner with parents.

Want to go deeper? These related posts may be helpful:

11 Traits of Churches That Will Impact the Future

9 Signs your Church Is Ready to Reach Unchurched People

7 reasons Churches that Want to Reach Unchurched People Don’t 

Further Information:

Think Orange by Reggie Joiner

Parenting Beyond Your Capacity by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof

Lead Small by Reggie Joiner and Tom Shefchunas

Creating a Lead Small Culture by Reggie Joiner, Kristen Ivy and Elle Campbell

Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley

Leading Change Without Losing It by Carey Nieuwhof

Want to stay completely on top of things? Sign up for my email list (near the upper right under my photo).

You’ll get a free ebook on reaching unchurched people, plus every post via email in a weekly digest and bonuses I send to my subscribers from time to time that no one else gets. 

Got questions or thoughts you’d like to share? Leave a comment!


  1. chadbrooks on May 5, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Hey Carey-you have mentioned several times about a main service teenagers find attractive. I would love to hear about this journey and what y’all put in place to make sure this happens (including communicating it to older folks).

    thanks for all you do and your willingness to share it with everyone.

    • Carey Nieuwhof on May 5, 2014 at 9:47 am

      Hey Chad. Thanks. I wish it was more scientific, but we do a few things. #1. We see if any teenagers actually attend (they do). #2. We gauge their reaction to the services (they are often vocal if they don’t like it). #3. We compare our programming to the programming we use at student ministry events. They should sound and feel similar. Hope this helps.

      *Carey Nieuwhof, Lead Pastor *
      *Connexus Church*
      *546 Bryne Drive, Unit E Barrie Ontario L4N 9P6* * * * *
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      *Sent from my personal email account. **If adding others, please use to include me in the conversation. Thank you!*

  2. prophetsandpopstars on May 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Hi Carey. We met at the end of this session, which was awesome (very much like your posts consistently), and I wanted to know more about your transition from Presbyterian to Connexus. I am so keely aware of the need to grow beyond the current brand, but what does that look like? How did you start? How did you know you needed to start? Any commentary on the process will be gratefully appreciated. I would love the dialogue!

  3. […] Carey Nieuwhof So how do you stop your church from growing old…you know, to the point where you’re all 60 […]

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