Every leader wants to keep momentum going and not lose it. It helps to know some things that can contribute to “Momentum Slippage” so we can take action. Thom Rainer share seven things that can quickly slow or stop good momentum.

Originally posted by Thom Rainer

Seven Factors that stop momentum in a church

I absolutely love conversing with pastors, staff, and lay leaders. I am blessed to have heard from thousands of church leaders over the past several years.

One of the more frequent conversations I have deals with momentum. The discussion typically goes in this direction: “We were doing so well, then it was like the brakes were hit. We have not been able to recover since then.”

I will then ask the obvious question: “What happened?” My question is straightforward because I know most church leaders will identify a singular event that precipitated the momentum reversal. In this article, I identify seven of the most common “momentum stoppers.”

1.  Firing of the pastor.

Unfortunately, this issue is the most common among momentum stoppers. It can take churches years to recover from firing a pastor, especially if significant segments of the membership and the community view the firing as unjustified.

2.  Moral failure of a leader in the church.

This leader could be a pastor, staff person, elder, or lay leader. The impact is immediate and often prolonged.

3.  Unhindered church bullies.

I wrote a recent article about church bullies, and I’ve been surprised at the number of responses we have received. Church bullies are toxic to a church. When church leaders do not confront church bullies, those bullies are even more toxic.

4.  Significant community changes.

The pastor wrote me a forthright email: “Our community is dying.” The major employer in town shut down. Other ancillary businesses closed soon thereafter. In just eight months, the community lost one-third of its population, and many of the remaining residents are unemployed.

5.  Comfort.

When the preferences of the church members become greater than their passion for the gospel, the church is already dying.

6.  Power plays.

The story is sad but true. A church staff member worked with a key group in the church to make some major changes not supported by most of the members. Trust has disappeared and morale is low. Momentum is gone.

7.  Poor pastoral transition.

A change in the senior leadership of the church can be either a time of great opportunity or a time of difficult challenges. When a pastor leaves, and another pastor arrives, great and intentional care must be exercised in making the transition positive. Otherwise momentum can come to a grinding halt.

Certainly there are other factors that can hinder or stop momentum in a church. You readers always have good insights. Let me know what you think of these seven factors, and let me know what you would add to the list.