Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing – Quick Review

After starting Geoff Surrat’s Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing: How Leaders CanOvercome Costly Mistakes (I love the first half of the title) months ago and setting it down, I recently picked it back up and finished it. The book does not take a high reading competency to get through. It is not overly academic, and is littered with personal experiences. I have served in a few churches over the years that have had leadership commit a lot of the “stupid things” that Geoff details. I myself (and my wife) have even been on the receiving end of one or two of them. And I have seen myself falling into the trap of some of these practices myself at different points in my ministry career.

The mistakes that Geoff writes about are very easy to commit, and can be very damaging to the life of a congregation. And he does not claim to have all the answers (he himself has committed all ten mistakes). Each chapter ends with a pastor from another church who has found ways to avoid making those mistakes at their own churches. The tone of the book is very humble, very confessional, and very practical. Geoff truly wants his readers to avoid his shortcomings and help their congregations be healthy.

The only real potential drawback for the book is that all of the other pastors interviewed seem to be from very large churches. Growth seems to be (at least subtly) equated to numbers. Geoff does make a point a few times in the book to speak about how numbers are only part of the picture, but there is a subconscious thread that runs through the book which says a church has to grow by leaps and bounds to be termed successful. It does not seem to be intentional, but it is easy to walk away from the book with that impression.

Overall, this is a very good book for anyone in leadership within a church to read. There is a ton of useful advice for any pastor who oversees a church, and a lot of very engaging stories to help warn us away from doing those 10 stupid things.

Have you read it? Share your thoughts!