I have identified 12 kinds of churches in North America, in order to provide a practical look at the growth challenges of today. As an introduction to a series, I provide a peak at the list and a few opening thoughts. Each future post will walk through the three groupings; 4 kinds of growing churches, 4 kinds of plateaued churches and 4 kinds of declining churches.


#1 This is not a research project. George Barna, Ed Stetzer and others do a fine job at providing this information. The categories that follow were created from an intuitive synthesis as a result of personal engagements over the past 10 years with over 300 churches. The experiences range from one-day onsite deep dives with church staffs to one-year relationships of monthly onsite work. The only exception to my onsite work is the co::Lab coaching network which has enabled me to develop relationships and track strategically with scores of church planters and small churches in a virtual context.

#2  While the list may categorize most churches it is not designed to be comprehensive. As a blog post ,this list is a subjective, personal reflection. I do hope it provides insight for any pastor.

#3  My language is not creative to be novel, but to provoke thoughtfulness and to set-up application from the point of view of clarity and vision. As I train ministry leaders to create worlds with words, so I hope to open new perspectives with new language.

#4  The growth dynamics of any church body are related to size, life-stage and inherent characteristics stemming from denominational association. While some of these attributes are more prominent for a few of these categories, most of these designations transcend size, life stage and denomination.


  • Neo-transcendance attractionals: Big crowds are coming this Sunday.

  • Micromentums: Lots of variety, seed vision and redemptive passion.

  • Faithfully-focused: Faithful to the gospel, the saints & the surrounding community.

  • New-world traditionals:  Historic patterns for a new generation.


  • Mega-mores: We built it and they didn't come.

  • Over-competents: Smart leaders with all-things-to-all-people approaches.

  • Succession stalls: Who's our leader?

  • Strategic multipliers: Great influence but its not in the numbers.


  • Die-visions: More differences of opinion and less people.

  • Havens of care: It's all about us!

  • Target transplants: Someone moved but our address is the same.

  • Denominational allegiants: If 1950 rolls around again, we'll be ready.

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Topics: Date: Jan 12, 2011 Tags: church growth / church models / church vision / growth challenges