Yes, Al Goracke shot his most recent “60 Second DS” spot with a picture of me in the background, next to Ron Burgundy. I will let you interpret that as you will.

Here it is–take a look, it’s just a minute.

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Pastor Al asks three questions I want to interact with:

  1. How do I get them to come?
  2. How do I get them to come back?
  3. How do I get them to stay?


Here’s my take:

Many of our churches are good at two out of three of these questions, but they fail at a third. This failure becomes their bane and area for growth. (Yes, some churches are bad at all three of these, but of course they are not churches long for this world and will die out.)

Thorny Churches

Let me explain my analysis: A church might be great at the first two, but not at the third. So their back door is wide open, and while people may come for 6 months or a year, they don’t stay. This is a church where newcomers take root–but over time they don’t deeply grow in their faith, and are looking for more, or they encounter some of the darker sides of the church, and become disenchanted. This church spreads seeds on thorny ground, where the roots go deep, but the environment eventually cuts off the growing life from the newcomer: thorny churches

Stoned Churches

Next, consider a church has 1 and 3 down, but not two, meaning they have long time members who never leave, and first time visitors for events all the time. However, they have few return visitors. This sometimes comes from a church that is great at advertising, has great events, or a great location, but is not really that welcoming, or doesn’t have clear pathways of assimilation. You could say that this church spreads seed on rocky ground, were the roots begin but don’t go deep enough to sustain: stoned churches.

Pavement Churches

Finally, a church might be great at 2 and 3, meaning once someone comes to the church they definitely come back and love it, and people stay for a long time. However, this church doesn’t have that many visitors–their “front door” isn’t open enough. You might say that these churches spread seed on the path–where roots never even start to grow: pavement churches.

My Church?

My church has historically been good at #3. It’s a “sticky church.” And in recent years we’ve grown the most in #1, as our reputation grew in the community, our preaching became more yearned for, and as our people began to reach out in the community. However, we found that #2 has been our bane. We’ve worked hard this past year, in particular through the efforts of Mark Shepherd as our Connections Pastor (who has now left to plant a church in Colorado). But we are still not connecting enough people to “come back and stick.” Newcomers find a very deep pool here, and they dive in and either sink or swim, I’ve found.

Your Church?

How about you and your church? Which two are you better at–and which one is your church working on? Or is your church just amazing at all three? I’m guessing yours is a Thorny Church, a Stoned Church, or a Pavement Church. What’s your take?

For Al Goracke, Ron Burgundy & Me, I’m signing off. Give me your take on these questions below.

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