The Red Letter Disciple Episode 10

010: Rich Birch on The Number One Factor to Grow Your Church

Often we benchmark our growth against ourselves when the real indicator of growth is if you are matching the growth of your community. Rich Birch breaks down ideas of tracking church growth and what actual measurements to use.

Join the FREE webinar on August 11th at 1PM CST called “Fund Your Vision—Don’t Let Money Limit Your Ministry.” Phil Ling, President of The Giving Church, will be joining me and we’ll dive into how The Giving Church has helped more than a thousand churches raise more than a billion dollars. They also commissioned a study with more than 4000 churches and uncovered some incredible data that we will bring out in this webinar. Phil will talk about what he has learned through both his experience and through this unique study. You won’t want to miss it. We will be giving away loads of free stuff as well! You can sign up at and you can grab a FREE PDF “5 Ways to Grow Your Church’s Giving,” while you are there.

Resources mentioned in the episode: 

Unseminary Blog 

Unseminary Podcast

7 Facts About Church Growth That Will Make You Think Twice 

7 Startling Facts: An Up Close Look at Church Attendance in America

Church Growth Flywheel master class

Church Growth Flywheel book

Gallop Survey: Sermon Content Is What Appeals Most to Churchgoers

Warren Bird

Key insights from the episode:

It’s the practical things that hold churches back from growth, not theology.Rich Birch

Executive pastors and those leading from the second or third chair live at the intersection of vision and execution.  – Rich Birch

The way fast-growing churches think is not just to get first-time people in the door, but how do we build a community that ultimately moves people into a growing relationship with Jesus. – Rich Birch

Churches that are growing are benchmarking against the wrong thing: don’t benchmark against yourselves, benchmark against the growth of your community.  – Rich Birch

Only 6% of churches in the country are growing faster than the community they are in.Rich Birch

Our church attendance is in decline. If those trends continue, the actual church attendance in 2050 will be half of what it was in 1990 while at the same time, the population will double.  – Rich Birch

No growth and staying small are not OK, if you remain where you are you will lose ground. – Rich Birch

The sweet spot is growth just over the growth of the community. – Rich Birch

Online giving presents a new challenge of a “set it and forget it” mentality. – Rich Birch

The healthy and ideal way to grow that is reasonable and sustainable is to grow 10% a year. – Rich Birch

The local church is the only organization that exists for people who are not here yet, every other business exists for its members. Rich Birch

Fast-growing churches equip their members with all kinds of resources to help them invite their friends. – Rich Birch

70% of why people come to a church is because of the teaching. – Rich Birch

People will talk to their friends about what they are hearing at church if they think it will make a difference in their lives.Rich Birch

Invitability: It’s not about you, it’s about your friends. – Rich Birch 

People like to be a part of something that makes a difference. – Rich Birch

Rich’s Challenge of the Week: Practice inconvenient hospitality this week. 

Lead yourself (and your church) to become greater followers of Jesus. Red Letter Challenge

For so many Christians, the discipleship process isn’t very clear.

They know they need to go to church, pray, not sin, and maybe attend a small group. While these are great things, they don’t outline a clear path leading people to live more like Jesus. 

We’d love to introduce you to the 40-Day Red Letter Challenge.

When you and your church take the challenge, you’ll have a clear 40-day discipleship path that will help you master five key areas of discipleship.

You can learn more about the challenge here!

Some not-so-key insights:

Omaha is a slice of heaven. – Rich

McDonald’s has the best poutine in Canada. – Rich

Petting zoos (including turtles) can grow your church. – Rich

I don’t want to build a better mousetrap to catch a bunch of church followers. – Rich 

I can watch church now with my egg sandwich and a mimosa. – Chris

Those that eat poutine have a three year longer expectancy. – Zach

If it wasn’t for Canadians we would be pulling our shirts and jackets off because we couldn’t fasten them. – Chris

Watch the entire season for free: 

We’ll be uploading every episode of season one of The Red Letter Disciple on our YouTube Channel. If you aren’t subscribed already, you can do so here!

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