Carl George & Warren Bird on How Your Church Can Break Growth Barriers


Hey, everybody, and thank you for joining us for another episode of the unSeminary podcast. Today I’m talking with Warren Bird and Carl George.

Warren works for ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). Carl was a professor for years at Fuller. The two of them collaborated to write the highly successful book How to Break Growth Barriers: Revise Your Role, Release Your People, and Capture Overlooked Opportunities for Your Church and today they are here to share about the caps we can place on our own church growth.

  • Ask questions to break growth caps. // There comes a point in every church growth where you find yourself spinning your wheels. One of the most important parts of breaking through those barriers is to pay attention to what is between the church leaders’ ears. What caps do they have on their vision? What voices are they listening to? How strong is their bias towards growth? How do they perceive their role? Are they the minister or the minister maker? Realizing they cannot be adequate enough to all people to take their church to the next level, how will they call people alongside to help them?
  • Guide apprentices in ministry. // The shift for the pastor from shepherd and caregiver to coach of shepherds and caregivers is a critical one. The simplest way to make this shift is through the apprentice model. Look at Jesus and the twelve, for example. Jesus appointed these men to be with Him and gave them authority to do ministry (Mark 3:13-19). Follow Jesus’ model and have someone shadowing you as you work and lead. If you do a hospital visit, bring an apprentice with you to learn ministry from you.
  • Encourage gifts within your church. // How are you encouraging and affirming the people in your congregation as they exercise their unique giftings? There are people in your church who have a gift of ministry from God, but may not be sure that they are “doing it right” when they reach out to others, especially if this person is not part of the leadership or staff. When you see evidence of these gifts among your congregation or apprentices, be sure to encourage that gift. Offer some guidance, but encourage the way that God is using them to reach out to others. If you don’t fan the evidence of the micro flame, you won’t see the macro coming into play.
  • Use technology in ministry. // The time in which we live is changing quickly among technology and communications. Use the latest gadgets, apps, and other forms of communication to minister to and reach others. Pastors are now using Facebook and Twitter to spread their ministry outside their church, or even Facetiming with the people they want to reach.

You can purchase How to Break Growth Barriers: Revise Your Role, Release Your People, and Capture Overlooked Opportunities for Your Church to read more about breaking through the barriers in your church. You can get in touch with Carl through his website www.consultingforgrowth.org. You can connect with Warren through Twitter @WarrenBird or email [email protected].

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Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // Google, Blogging

Ministries Following // Todd Wilson and his work with Exponential

Influential Book // Healing the Shattered Soul by by James L. Hanley ThD and C. Tracy Kayser JD

Inspiring Leader // Bono

What does he do for fun // Playing with his grandchildren or wife’s labradoodles

Contact // Carl George at consultingforgrowth.org; Warren Bird on Twitter: @warrenbird, email: [email protected], newsletter: leadnet.org/update


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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.