Is Your Church for INSIDERS? 6 Key Indicators

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How to evaluate if your church's culture has become insular.

How do you know if you’re leading an insider-focused church?

Here are six indicators that you and your team can use to evaluate your church:

1. Language.

The language you choose to use is important because it both reflects and builds culture at the same time.

There are all kinds of ways this goes wrong in churches. Coming up with cool names and brands for ministries that mean nothing to people outside the church, sub-branding things to death, and mentioning people from stage by name without explaining who they are just a couple of them.

Two big principles to keep in mind when it comes to the language you choose to use in your church are: clear always trumps cute or cool, and you’re always better off just calling things what they are.

Paul Alexander Paul Alexander is a ministry consultant at The Unstuck Group ( He is a pastor, speaker and strategist who has a passion for helping churches make vision real. For more than 14 years he has served on the senior leadership teams of some of the nation’s leading mega-churches. Currently, Paul is serving as the Executive Pastor at Sun Valley Community Church, a large multi-site church located in the Phoenix area. Paul has been married to his wife Lisa for more than 18 years. Together they have three children Kennedy, Mia, and Lincoln.

More from Paul Alexander or visit Paul at

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  • Tina Stachura Newby

    What do you mean by “the best Christian show in town”?

    • M.I.T. Peterson

      In my opinion I think it means just masking of Christianity just to trying to get the people in and not really doing what it takes to keep the People in not reaching out to the community that’s just my opinion from what I read.

  • John Daly

    Anyone care to unpack “High Giving Per Head?” I’m not really tracking on that one. Maybe the coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

    • Jake

      Insiders give more. Churches with new Christians have a lower giver ratio because new/young believers tend to be slow to tithe.

    • C. L. McIntosh

      Perhaps its due to new members giving less at first than longer term members. So more new members equals a lower average giving. Where fewer new members equals a higher average giving.

      • Kim Metzer

        Thank you Jake and C.L. – I was wondering too!

    • Hooty

      Our church averages $23 per head. Easy to figure by dividing giving by attendance. Through a 2 min. survey we do twice a year in our services, we know that 40-45% were previously unchurched and 30-35% are still exploring Christianity. This helps explains our giving patterns.

  • gregrtaylor

    I suppose if a church publishes somehow their giving and you also know their attendance by estimating the crowd or seeing that number published, you divide and get the giving per person. I think Paul is simply saying “giving per person” that is high shows an older, more dedicate bunch but doesn’t indicate younger less churched folks are coming in. Good to think about but the idea of “nickels and noses” is also an area where ministers ought to always be cautioned to not dwell and get sucked into the vortex where they are thinking about it all the time. It’s an indicator not something to dwell on.

  • Charles

    It surprises many people to learn that the New Testament contains not a single word commanding or even suggesting that followers of Christ should tithe. It does, however, speak of giving. Many followers of Christ, including my wife and I use the Old Testament tithe as an example to follow, not a rule to be obeyed. Giving is a spiritual discipline that allows us to express that God is first in our lives. Give freely, generously, regularly, and sacrificially according to your ability- because you love God, not to keep a man-made rule.

    • Hooty

      Agree with tithing not being commanded in the NT. But Jesus did confirm it still should be done without neglecting mercy and faithfulness. Also, Abraham is mentioned in Romans as an example of a man of faith who tithed

  • John Okemwa

    Good article! Not clear though with indicator no. 5.

  • Enrico

    If by “insiders” you mean Christians, then it should be for them. Church is for Christians. It is the place where Christians gather (as commanded in the NT) to learn how to fulfill the great commission. It is NOT a place to drag non-Christians to hear a sermon so that you don’t have to witness to them. It is to build up the body so that they can go into the world to preach the Gospel. If a heathen feels comfortable in your church then you are not a church. The Gospel is offensive and foolishness to those who are perishing. If you have watered it down, or brought “the world” in to your church to make the lost feel comfortable, then you are not being Biblical. You may get more numbers, but you are not a church. You have diluted the church to the level of catering to the darkness instead of being the very needed light.

    And the “Lead Your Church Better” book claims to have “insights” from heretics listed. If you want to see a church go off the rails … look at what the mega-churches are doing, and follow their lead. Numbers don’t mean success if they are being taught heresies. It just makes a lot of people feel better about being on the broad road to destruction. That is not the role of the church.


WATCH: How to Grieve the Holy Spirit

In the final analysis, our words result in one of only two options.