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Dec 19, 2018

Today we're revisiting a conversation from our most downloaded episode of 2018. We chose to re-release this conversation because it happened so long ago, you may have missed it—AND, because we think this topic is an important one for any pastor to engage again heading into 2019.

Tony and Amy shared the 3 most common issues they see plaguing weekend church services—the things most pastors don't see that keep the overall experience from giving people a compelling reason to show up and invite friends.

Listen to get a fresh perspective on the services you put so much effort into providing, and be encouraged: All of the issues they share are fixable once you see them.

For links to the resources mentioned during the show, visit the Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode73.

Join the Live Conversation on Social 

If you're listening on Wednesday morning, when the episode first releases, join the live conversation The Unstuck Group's team, including Tony and Amy, will be having on social media about this week's topic. We use hashtag #unstuckchurch on Twitter. Or you can join in on Facebook.

Ask your questions, add your comments about this topic, or check out the Show Notes for the questions we plan to discuss!

If you're catching this episode later, you can still join in! Just tag us @unstuckgroup, use #unstuckchurch, and include [episode73] in your post for reference.



Dec 12, 2018

Almost never. We almost never see a multisite church succeed with live-teaching at each campus. So naturally, we wanted to get to the bottom of why it works so well at Community Christian Church in the Chicago area. 

In this episode, Tony Morgan interviews Tammy Melchein about how they've become a church that continually develops and resources new, excellent teachers—which makes this model work.

Not leading a multisite church? Don't skip this episode. The creative systems and strategies CCC has implemented to keep raising up new leaders to teach the Gospel will give you plenty to consider even within your single site.

For links mentioned during the episode, visit this episode's show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode72.


Check out our new online course—Multisite Unstuck, or learn how we help churches get unstuck at theunstuckgroup.com.

Dec 5, 2018

Every church could use more volunteers. They're crucial to the life of any church. But the truth is, we never seem to have enough for all of the needs our churches have.

In this episode, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson discuss the 5 Barriers to Engaging Volunteers and how you can get more volunteers so you can increase your impact.

For more resources and to join the conversation, you can visit this episode's show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode71.

Nov 28, 2018

Getting your church unstuck is possible. It's a process that takes time but is effective. Our team is always working on perfecting that process and we have just made it even better.

In this episode, Tony and Amy talk through our newly updated 4 Phase Process for getting churches unstuck and how this process can help your church accomplish its mission and help people take their next steps toward Jesus.

For more resources and to join the conversation, you can visit our show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode70.

Nov 21, 2018

Our heart is always to help the church. But sometimes that means speaking the hard truths that keep us from getting unstuck. Recently, Tony published an article called 20 NEW Politically Incorrect Thoughts on Church in America. As you can imagine, it caused quite the stir.

On this week's episode, Amy and Tony explore his heart and thinking behind 8 of his politically incorrect thoughts and why he thinks they are crucial for churches to getting unstuck.

If you would like to join the conversation and get more resources, you can see the show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode69.

Nov 14, 2018

A few trends jumped out at us from the Q4 2018 edition of The Unstuck Church Report. From increasing vs. decreasing weekly attendance, the relevance of church membership, and whether or not you should fire all of your part-time staffers... In this episode, we're sharing the conversation Tony, Amy, Sean, and Michael had on a recent live webinar. It gets down into the nitty-gritty of what the numbers mean for your church.

You can join the conversation and get more resources by going to the Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode68.

Nov 7, 2018

Your church building might be saying more than you think. Your architecture is either helping or hindering your ministry. From the design to the people in charge of it all, there are ways to leverage your church building that actually help your church's mission.

Mel McGowan is Co-Founder of PlainJoe Studios as well as a church architect. In this conversation with Tony Morgan, Mel shares compelling thoughts on the theology of church architecture and practical insights into the building process.

For more resources and to join the conversation you can go to the show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode67.

Oct 31, 2018

Do you ever feel like you have to choose between creating a healthy team culture and getting results? It doesn't have to be that way.

Lance Witt is the author of Replenish: Leading from a Healthy Soul and is a former executive and teaching pastor at Saddleback Church. In this episode, Tony and Lance discuss how to lead your team to find the essential balance between health and performance.

You can find more resources including this episode's FREE Discussion Guide and join the conversation by going to theunstuckgroup.com/episode66.

Oct 24, 2018

Has the way you do church become more important than why you do church? It's tempting to try to keep the people you already have happy. But the moment you stop focusing on reaching non-believers, you've become stuck.

In this episode, we identify four signs that your church has become inwardly focused and give some solutions on how to reach new people.

You can see the show notes, download the Conversation Guide, and join the conversation at theunstuckgroup.com/episode65.

Oct 17, 2018

Your worship leader is great. That doesn't mean he or she should lead your Creative Team. Music is obviously creative, but we need more creativity in our churches than just music—and we very rarely find worship leaders who are equipped or able to lead more than music.

Hiring leaders who can focus on the creative aspects of your church allows your musicians to do what they do best while still getting stuff done. In this episode, Tony and Amy talk about who should be leading your creative team and how to structure your creative team to make the most of it.

You can find resources from this episode and join the conversation by going to the show notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode64.

Oct 10, 2018

Are events killing your church? Every church has events, but not every church knows why. Events have the potential to be helpful for people to take their next steps toward Jesus, but it's rare that they actually work.

In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss 6 questions to ask when planning events as well as 5 ways to make your events effective. 

There is a ton of great information in this episode and we created a Discussion Guide to go along with it if you'd like to take this conversation to your next leadership team meeting. To get the Discussion Guide and join in on the conversation visit http://www.theunstuckgroup.com/episode63.

Oct 3, 2018

We've found 12 common issues that routinely cause churches to get stuck. In this episode, we cover two important ones that have something in common: leadership. Whether it's senior leadership or volunteer leaders, if we're not structuring our churches in a way that sets leaders up for success then our churches will become stuck.

In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss two leadership issues churches face and how to solve them so your church can grow and get healthy.

Join in the conversation and see the show notes at theunstuckchurch.com/episode62. We also discuss the Leading from an Unstuck Church Course in this episode. Find more details and sign up at theunstuckgroup.com/course.

Sep 26, 2018

What's one thing we almost never see a church doing well? Even the big ones? Content strategy. And that's just one reason why church communications is stuck in 2004.

We're living through the biggest communication shift in 500 years. As fewer people attend church and more utilize the web for every aspect of their lives, our churches can't afford to not have a strategy. This isn't an add-on to our ministry; it's a full scale shift.

In this episode, Tony and Amy interview The Unstuck Group's Marketing and Communications Director, Tiffany Deluccia, about how the world has shifted, why your church needs to be thinking about "inbound marketing," and the tools you can use to make it happen.

This episode shares a ton of resources that will help you create and execute an online strategy so you can reach more people! Find the resources from Episode 61, including links to the tools mentioned during the show, in the Episode Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode61.

Sep 19, 2018

Andy Stanley wants us to rethink how we read the Bible. In his new book, Irresistible, he addresses questions like: What do we do with the Old Testament commands? Are Christians obligated to follow the 10 Commandments? What did Jesus think of the Old Covenant? 

In this episode, Tony Morgan asks Andy to weigh in on why a "Mix & Match Theology" is so prevalent in our churches, why Jesus' one command makes our faith generationally transferrable, and how we go back to where our faith began to better understand how to connect with the next generation.

Check out the show notes for more resources on this topic, links from this episode and to join the conversation at theunstuckgroup.com/episode60.

Sep 12, 2018

Is your staff structure a lid? It's worth digging into. We hear this all the time from churches we're serving:

"I knew we needed the ministry health assessment. I knew we needed to plan for the future. But we didn't even realize our real problem was our staff and structure."

In this week's episode, Tony interviews Amy on the most common structure challenges she sees getting churches stuck and some practical ways you can pivot to get healthy.

Check out the show notes for more resources on this topic, links from this episode and to join the conversation at theunstuckgroup.com/episode59.

Sep 10, 2018

20 years of ministry. Tony Morgan left his job in city management to enter full-time ministry as a pastor at Granger Community Church. 

In this week's bonus episode, Tony shares the story of how he got started in ministry, the people who encouraged him along in this path, the challenges he faced, and how he met Jesus in the first place. There is one big takeaway that Tony has from his 20 years in ministry and in this episode, he shares it with us.

Tony wrote a post exploring this more on his blog. 

Sep 5, 2018

Rogue ministries. We all know the signs. Ministries in our church that are fundraising on the side or creating separate branding. Leaders who think their ministry is more important than the others in the church. What went wrong and how do we fix it?

In this episode, Tony and Amy share 4 ways to realign rogue ministries with your church’s mission, vision, and strategy. The fourth one might step on some toes but it needs to be said.

Find the resources from Episode 58, including links to the tools mentioned during the show, in the Episode Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode58.

Aug 29, 2018

Sunday's always coming. You've heard it said. You may have said it yourself, frustrated with the lack of progress your team makes on the ministry's plans. But is it just that? Or is it that another meeting's always coming? Or that decision rights are confused? Or that key members of the team manage projects with Post-It Notes instead of an effective system?

In this episode, Tony and Amy outline 4 proactive steps taken by teams that execute really well. (And there's a bonus fifth thing those teams DON'T do.) 

This episode shares a ton of resources that will help you get more stuff done. Don't miss out! Find the resources from Episode 57, including links to the tools mentioned during the show, in the Episode Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/episode57.

Aug 28, 2018

We get into ministry full of hope. But something happens along the way, and we don't see it coming: We become cynical leaders. We let ourselves project past failures onto the future. We get stuck in our own heads.

In this bonus episode, Tony Morgan interviews Carey Nieuwhof about leadership setbacks, ministry burnout, and a wonderful aspect of life we give up when we let ourselves become cynics.

Find more resources from Episode 56, including links mentioned during the episode and bonus material, in the Episode Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/56.

Aug 22, 2018

Friendly, but not welcoming. That's how Thom Rainer describes the situation at a lot of churches. And he would know—as the current CEO of Lifeway, in addition to his time leading Rainer Group, pastoring a church, serving as a dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and authoring more than two dozen books, he has a unique vantage point.

Tony and Thom discuss common barriers preventing churches from becoming welcoming, why small churches have a welcoming advantage, and how to better serve first-timers in the moment when they feel most awkward at church.

Find more resources from Episode 55, including links mentioned during the episode and bonus material, in the Episode Show Notes at theunstuckgroup.com/55.

Aug 15, 2018

How do you adjust to whoever is leading your team? Do you refuse to change your leadership style? Or do you lean into what that leader has for you?

In this episode, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson switch places as Tony interviews Amy about what it's like to work for someone with a "driver" personality. She explains five ways to adjust to these types of leaders and why being adaptable ultimately strengthens your church.

Aug 8, 2018

Do you have a driver in the driver's seat? In Episode 47, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson described the 4 types of leaders they often see on church staff teams. This week they take a deeper look into what it means to have someone wired as a "driver" serving as the lead pastor, and how it affects both that leader and the rest of the people on the team.

Tony also shares some common blindspots for drivers, and 3 practical tips for overcoming them to lead a healthier team.

Aug 1, 2018

Whenever our team at The Unstuck Group is working with a church, the churches almost always mention their problems with internal communication. Over the years we have found that if you think you're having a communication issue, it's probably just masking a different problem that your church is facing.

In this episode of The Unstuck Church Podcast, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson discuss what these root issues are and how to solve them.

Jul 25, 2018

50 episodes of The Unstuck Church Podcast, in the books. We're taking a look back at the 5 most downloaded episodes to date, and Tony and Amy share a few new thoughts on those most popular topics.

  1. 3 Roles a Senior Pastor Can't Delegate - Episode 16
  2. How to End Mediocre Weekend Experiences - Episode 28
  3. Church Structure: Optimizing for Growth - Episode 24
  4. Pruning: 3 Ministry Areas to Tackle - Episode 23
  5. 4 Shifts to Revitalize a Church - Episode 21
Jul 18, 2018

When planning your annual budget, it can be easy to want to give all of your ministry areas the same amount of funding. However, like Tony points out in this week's episode, "life isn't fair."

When planning your budget, you need to strategically plan where you're going to allocate funds and how much you want to spend. In the 50th episode of The Unstuck Church Podcast, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson explain the Biblical principles behind budgeting and how to utilize them in your church.

Jul 11, 2018

The Bible teaches church leaders that they must equip God's people to do His work. A church that is not properly engaging with its volunteers is a church not walking in its full God-given calling.

In this episode, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson discuss the four main barriers they see in churches when it comes to enlisting, utilizing and equipping healthy volunteers within the church body.

Jul 5, 2018

While it's not something we like to admit, at some point we have to face the facts: God did not create everyone to be a leader. And for those of us who are leaders, we are gifted to lead in various capacities. However, God gives us opportunities to grow and stretch our leadership abilities.

In this week's episode, Tony Morgan and Amy Anderson explain how to identify, label and increase your staff's leadership capacities.

Jun 27, 2018

There’s a common gap. We see it on too many church leadership teams. It results in lack of follow-through, lack of role clarity, and a “Sunday’s always coming” mode of operation.

In this episode, Tony and Amy highlight why church leadership should be a reflection of the whole Body of Christ. They break down four different “wirings” they typically see in church staffing, and the next steps you can take if you recognize you have a crucial gap on your leadership team.

Jun 19, 2018

Two weeks ago, Tony and Amy started a conversation on some unexpected findings related to ministry leadership in growing and declining churches from The Unstuck Group's latest research. As promised, they are back with more to share. While the results may surprise you, remember that the information is based on numbers and not opinion—even if the truth is hard to swallow at times.

Show Links:

Jun 13, 2018

In this week's episode, Tony interviews Amy about the most common "misses" she sees when churches welcome first-time guests. Whether it's a crowded bulletin or a lengthy message, these issues typically have easy (and inexpensive) solutions.

Jun 7, 2018

Data from 200 churches of all different sizes. What did it show? A few surprising trends related to growth and decline.

In this episode, Tony and Amy dig into some fascinating findings from The Unstuck Group's most recent edition of The Unstuck Church Report. Just to be clear: this isn’t a comparison of big versus small. The data includes churches that average fewer than 100 people and megachurches with 2,000+ people. The factors correlating to growth and decline seem to be irrespective of your congregation's size today.

May 30, 2018

Sometimes leading a multisite church can lead to being “multi-stuck”. However, having equipped campus pastors can help prevent this.

In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss the five major mistakes that lead pastors can make when hiring a campus pastor. Tony explains why he is passionate about multisite churches using video message delivery, and why someone who mostly agrees with you may actually be more dangerous to your mission than someone who completely disagrees with you.


Check out our new online course—Multisite Unstuck, or learn how we help churches get unstuck at theunstuckgroup.com.

May 23, 2018

We see them again and again: The same core issues getting churches stuck. But we don't think it has to be that way. Church leaders who make themselves aware of the pitfalls can avoid them.

In this episode—recorded live on Facebook—Tony and Amy discussed five of the most common issues getting churches stuck. They also took questions from the audience, like "What are some practical steps to simplifying if your church is too complex?" and "What do you do if the lead pastor is too involved in every decision?" Plus, Tony tells us why he doesn't care what your church's mission statement is. 

May 16, 2018

The research showed it: Only 4% of growing churches are multiplying/reproducing churches. Why is that? All churches have leadership potential sitting in their services but a culture of discipling leaders is often missing.

In this special episode, Tony talks with Dave Ferguson, lead pastor at Community Christian Church, an innovative multi-site missional church with eleven locations in Chicago, about 5 essential practices for leaders to multiply leaders.

May 9, 2018

What if Andy Stanley were your boss? When we sit lower on the org chart than a great leader—or even a not-so-great leader—it's easy to feel stuck on the sidelines waiting to be given more authority. 

In this episode, Tony talks with Clay Scroggins, lead pastor at North Point Church, about what it's like to lead "in the shadow of Andy Stanley," the difference between leadership and authority, how to cultivate influence wherever you are today.

May 2, 2018

No one gets into ministry for the money. But does that mean church leaders should be paid less? In this episode, Tony and Amy share a biblical foundation for paying staff well, how to practically make it possible, and some simple ways to evaluate how much you should be paying the staff at your church.

Tony also gives podcast listeners the very first sneak peek of a new resource from The Unstuck Group to help pastors lead unstuck churches. You'll find more at theunstuckgroup.com/equip.

Apr 25, 2018

When churches don’t have systems in place, even the smallest decisions rise all the way to the top for senior leadership to decide. And this might work for a while—but not if you want your church to grow.

 Leaders are problem-solvers, and often want a say in every decision that is made. In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss why this isn’t always the best thing for the team, and how putting healthy systems in place can alleviate the issue.

Apr 19, 2018

A lot of the time, the churches we work with aren’t truly stuck—just stalled. Why? They've failed to properly staff their critical growth engines.

Every growth engine and priority ministry in your church needs a leader and champion—paid or volunteer. In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss when to staff ahead for future growth, and how you can put this into practice even with limited finances.

Apr 11, 2018

No one sets out to pastor a church that splits, but leaders operate in ways that ultimately take their churches there.

Can church splits be avoided? In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss five things church leaders do that set the stage for irreconcilable differences. 

Apr 4, 2018

We all have this tendency—to hang on tightly to current methods and hope for different results. In churches, it can happen just as often in "contemporary" circles as "traditional."

What indicates that how you do church has become a sacred cow? In this episode, Tony and Amy unpack the primary reason we see churches get stuck.

Mar 28, 2018

It's ultimately a matter of stewardship—but churches rarely fire people. Even Tony's young son asked the question one time: Why is that? In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss some basic principles every pastor needs to understand, and why performance and character issues aren't the only reasons you should consider letting a staff member go.

Mar 21, 2018

Growth barriers. Every church hits them. How do you respond when what was working no longer is? In a recent webinar, Tony Morgan hosted a conversation with leaders from several very large churches about breaking barriers.

In the second part of this conversation, you'll learn about common multisite model missteps and how they set you back, as well as the all too frequent issue of "complexity creep" that can undermine your vision.

Mar 14, 2018

Growth barriers. Every church hits them. How do you respond when what was working no longer is? In a recent webinar, Tony Morgan hosted a conversation about breaking barriers with leaders from several very large churches.

In this first part, you'll learn how to recognize a toxic culture and turn it around, as well as how to overcome a leadership void in your staff and volunteer teams. 

Mar 7, 2018

Church splits. Ministry silos. Lack of giving. Doing ministry without a strategy can create serious pain.

In this episode, Tony and Amy share why not having a plan is the same as having a plan to do nothing, and they highlight some of the most common—and most frustrating—things leaders experience when they refuse to develop a clear strategy.

Feb 26, 2018

You sense it—even when others don't. True leaders have a gift from God to see what the congregation and even lay leaders haven't seen yet. In this episode, Tony and Amy talk about the gift and responsibility pastors have to lead change for the health of the Church.

Feb 19, 2018

Every church has them—ineffective systems. Why? Partly because systems must constantly be evaluated and edited for results. In this episode, Tony and Amy share how to differentiate a systems problem from a people problem, the most common clogged systems churches have (One is vitally important!), and a 6-step process you can follow to fix them.

Tony also shares a story about a broken system at a popular restaurant chain. The key phrase was "clogged beef tube." You won't soon forget the analogy. 

Feb 12, 2018

Unstuck churches never stop looking to improve their weekend experiences. Tony and Amy discuss why it's important to provide compelling and memorable services every single week.

Feb 5, 2018

Greater impact sometimes requires an outside perspective. Tony and Amy share why so many churches get comfortable with the familiar and how it keeps them from making the necessary changes for growth.

Jan 29, 2018

Based on our recent data, there's plenty of room for optimism for today's church! Attendance and baptisms are increasing and many churches are expanding to multiple services and locations. Although these are all positive indicators, there are still some red flags that stuck churches are ignoring. Tony and Amy discuss some key trends and takeaways that churches may be overlooking.

Jan 15, 2018

Teaching is just one way to help people take their next steps toward Christ. But churches have a tendency to get stuck in a cycle of teach-promote-teach-promote: Each next step we invite people to take is another teaching environment. In this episode, Tony and Amy discuss some important discipleship elements that will help people put what they are learning into practice.

Jan 8, 2018

Our mission is simple—What church doesn't want to grow by helping more people meet Jesus? But structuring a team for growth doesn't necessarily come naturally to most church leaders. In this episode, Tony and Amy share 3 key areas you need to optimize to structure your church for growth.