Should You GROW Where You are or GO Somewhere Else?

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When your growth in Christ stalls, should you stay or should you go?

In my last post, I came down pretty hard on church people who complain that they are not growing in their church and use that as an excuse for leaving their church.

I realize that the growth of many Christians really does stall. When that happens, their church experience and even their relationship with Christ can become stale.

Changing churches is awfully drastic. It disrupts your life, the church, and often damages the Kingdom of God.

Here are some things you can do to grow at the church you now attend.

Find out whom the pastor is targeting with his messages and pray with him for those people.

Who does he see as the people that your particular church has the best opportunity to reach? Those folks are the primary mission of your church.

Now that doesn’t mean that others are excluded. It means that those folks are the center of the target. There is a biblical precedence for “targeting.” Jesus targeted the “lost house of Israel,” but He also healed the Syro-Phoenician woman, and told His disciples to go to all people. Also, Paul targeted Gentiles, but also reached Jews. Conversely, Peter targeted Jews, but he was the first to baptize a Gentile (Cornelius).

Pray that your pastor’s messages will touch the targeted people at a deep level.

Find out whom the songs target and pray for them.

Also pray for the musicians, that they will be able to keep the message and not the applause their priority. While you’re at it, ask God to help you enjoy the music more. If you don’t like it, or it is too loud, don’t complain to anyone except, perhaps, the music leader him/herself.

Look into the eyes of the people who visit the church and newer members.

Ask God to help you love them even if they are different in generation, socio-economic status or education level.  Ask him to use you to be part of winning your neighborhood and the next generation.

Find out what needs to be done and offer to help in anyway you can.

Ask a staff leader where you might fit in and how you can get trained to do it. Tell them you want to be on the team.

Whether not the staff can help you find an “official” job, you can still be part of accomplishing the mission.

You can warmly greet others, especially visitors. You can invite new people to attend your small group, Sunday school class, etc. Even if they never come, they will appreciate a sincere invitation.

Ray Houser A veteran pastor, Ray now is the administrator of Tina Houser Ministries, coaches pastors and consults churches. He is excited about helping churches that are plateaued get going again and seeing declining churches rebound. Ray believes there is hope for these churches, if they want to become agents of God’s love, hope and forgiveness in their communities. Visit his blog at, and e-mail him at for more information.

More from Ray Houser or visit Ray at

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  • Ralph M. Rickenbach

    First, let’s define the word “church”. It has two definitions, but none of them are widely understood as of today.

    First it means the crowd of individuals that gather in a local place with a common vision and mandate.

    Secondly, it is the world wide body of Christ.

    In both definitions, we are talking people. Not organizations. Not buildings. Not a priestly caste. Not a hired pastor with his staff.

    Make it plain to yourself. You are the church. Thus if the church does not feed you and you do not grow, think about who is to blame (most of the time).

    The bible says that the teachable sits with the wise to become wise. Requirements: 1. are you teachable? Complaining seems to show otherwise. 2. Do you sit? Are you at rest? Are you planted? Do you belong? Or are you always on the go? And only thirdly: are their wise leaders in your church?

    This article gives you some ideas to change point #2. Point #1 is only a decision away. But before those two have been tested, don’t even consider #3.

    Be assured: if God wants you somewhere else, he will tell you. If you are teachable and well planted. He then has means to get to you – spiritual leaders/fathers for example. For leaving a church is no trivial thing.

  • Brian

    It would be nice if this article focused on the MANY different types of people that eventually leave churches and the many varied reasons they choose to leave, instead of focusing on one narrow band of Christians this writer seems to have issues with…

  • Ryan

    Well, that church is a group of people who have agreed to pay for a building and at minimum a pastor. I would suppose that they should get what they pay for. The pastor is performing a service and getting paid for it. If he isn’t doing the job he was hired to do, kick them out or go find another church. It’s not easy to leave a group of people one may have grown to like, unlike me and introvert who doesn’t get all that close to anyone to miss them. Everyone is different. I found God has taught me more than pastors, but I read through my bible often and pastors preach on a tid-bit of scripture every week. I don’t go to church now though. It’s just not all that value-added and it’s expensive. You add helping to pay for church property plus pastors wages on top of all your other bills. At least in the Acts era, the place of worship was paid for by the home owners and was elders or pastors, if called that at the time, paid to preach? They didn’t have that expence.