There are plenty of churches in existence today that are stable in worship attendance, whose leadership does not get into constant conflict, and where giving is an expected requirement of membership – all marks of being a “healthy” congregation – that are not growing at all.
Yet, the typical pastor in a declining ministry situation mistakenly attempts to turn the ministry around via achieving congregational “health,” or by purging the congregation of its “toxicity.”
The astute pastor will soon discover in her leadership that achieving everything that she has learned from church consultants, denominational leaders, and even secular business authors about nurturing such a “healthy” congregation will take so much time, so much money, and so much pain that no one will be around by the time she is finished.
Growth comes from ministry “fitness,” not congregational “health.”
A ministry will grow when its activities and values offered fit into the empty space that a person (one that is not yet a part of a ministry) has yet to fill in their life – a space that has to do with their hopes, dreams, and wonder about life.
Therefore, turning a church around means that everything that it does and tries is evaluated by how well it fits into the life of those whom the ministry claims it wishes to serve.