Tony Morgan on Helping Churches Get Unstuck


Hey, everybody, welcome to this week’s unSeminary podcast. I’m excited have with us Tony Morgan, lead strategist and founder of the Unstuck Group.

Tony has been helping churches for years, but he started the Unstuck Group after hearing from other pastors about the struggles and roadblocks they were facing within their churches and ministries. Many of them kept telling Tony that they were stuck and didn’t know where to go next. The Unstuck Group works with churches to help them break through those blocks to find their next steps.

Tony is with us today to talk about two of the ways churches often feel stuck, and how they can begin to break through those roadblocks to a place of sustained health.

  • Gain clarity about who God has called you to reach. // One of the things that can cause a church to get stuck is that over time they become more inwardly focused, even though it may not be intentional. To break through this, the leaders need to ask themselves, “Who has God called us to reach?” Gaining clarity around that mission and goal will help the church focus on the people outside the church that they want to bring closer to God. Ask yourself what steps you can take to develop ministry strategies or services that will reach that person.
  • Simplify your ministries. // Another problem among churches is complexity. Over the years they add on more and more programs and ministries which at first are effective in their reach. However if a church is only ever adding ministries, and never assessing and pruning, the church’s structure can become complex and a drain on resources. The result is churches aren’t using their limited resources, time, leadership, etc. as well as they could, and eventually become less effective at reaching people outside of the church. Tony underscores that consistent pruning is necessary for the sustained health of the church.
  • Focus on reaching inside and outside the church. // The Unstuck Group teaches that church leaders should take a good look at what percentage of time and resources is being spent investing in helping people inside the church move closer to Christ, and how much is invested in reaching people outside the faith. One suggestion Tony gives is for the church leaders to make a list of everything they do—every ministry, event, service—and put a check in one of two columns: is this ministry’s primary focus on people inside the church or is it primarily to reach people outside the church? Over time it’s natural for churches to drift toward having a focus that’s more on people already connected to the church and already believing in Christ as Lord and Savior. This is a good thing, but in order to maintain health and growth, it’s important to also focus on reaching people outside the faith. There should be a healthy balance between building up people inside the church and reaching people outside.
  • Determine impact of life change and risks. // One of the methods used in determining what parts in the church are important is by using a four box matrix that considers two factors. At the top of the chart is the opportunity for life change, and on the left is the investment and risks that are included, whether that’s space, finances, time. Each group is plotted on the chart according to the risk vs reward involves. Is one ministry high on impact while associated with lower risk? The goal is to focus on the ministries that have significant impact on bringing people closer to Christ with less risk in finances, space, time. Some ministries require a high investment, maybe in finances, but it isn’t having an effect on people. (See chart below.)

You can take the church assessment Tony spoke of at theunstuckchurch.com and learn more about the Unstuck Group at theunstuckgroup.com.


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Lightning Round

Helpful Tech Tools // Asana

Ministries Following // RockPointe Church in Leander, TX

Influential Book // Four Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Sean Covey, Chris McChesney and Jim Huling; Presidential biographies – recently one on Andrew Jackson

Inspiring Leader // Elon Musk

What does he do for fun // hang out with wife, play the piano along with his Billy Joel albums

Contact // theunstuckgroup.com; Take the church assessment at theunstuckchurch.com

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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.