Sean Morgan

When Is Your Room Full?

About The Episode


“Leaders are waiting around for their rooms to fill up, but newcomers to your church are waiting for you to make room for them.” In this episode, Sean leans into a question that so many church leaders and staff are wrestling with on this side of the pandemic… “when is our room full?” If you’ve thought maybe the rules have changed since the pandemic, you’d be right. But actually, maybe the rules we had been following were always wrong. Sean challenges listeners to think about what feels best to the newcomer, not to you or your staff, and equips us with leadership principles to support this shift. 

Welcome to Episode 064 of the Leaders in Living Rooms Podcast with Sean Morgan.

Insights From Sean Morgan

The 80% Rule Is Now Dead

  • The 80% Rule = If you have 100 or 1,000 seat auditorium – you can fill approx 80% of those seats on a regular basis. That’s your “lid.” 
  • Post pandemic – that number is lower than 80%. But it’s actually ALWAYS been lower than 80%. We’ve misunderstood what that number represents. 
    • 80% full in the room is a number where the people who call you their “home church” is true for them. They’re “insiders.” 80% feels pretty full for them. 
    • You grow a church by reaching “outsiders.” Less than 80% feels full for them. Anecdotally, that may be upwards of 50%, but certainly a max of 80%. 
  • “Leaders are waiting around for their rooms to fill up, but newcomers to your church are waiting for you to make room for them.”

You Want The Room To Feel Full...Right?

  • We’ve been taught that you want the room to be full, right? Wrong. 
  • The room being full feels great to a Pastor, a Teacher, the Staff… not to the newcomer. 
  • If the room is “full” the newcomers may feel like you don’t have room for them. And certainly like you didn’t think about them before they got there.

Leadership Principles

  • Leadership Principle #1: As a leader, you only need to address the critical path or the most restrictive bottleneck. 
      • Create the room so that when you’re at your maximum point of attendance, you’re no more than 70% full. 
      • If you’ve hit the capacity with youth on Wednesday, or in the nursery on Sunday morning, or auditorium in any of your services – it has become the most restrictive bottleneck. 
      • Re-look at what you think a full room is. 
  • Leadership Principle #2: Once you hit 70%, you have lost momentum, you have acted too late. 
        • Leaders are waiting to hit 80%… you’ve already sent the signal to the most valuable connection in the room… there’s no room for you here. 
        • 50-70% is where you need your rooms to be at. Which doesn’t feel great… but it’s right. 
        • Is it more work for you and your staff, for your volunteers? Yes. But we have to stop living in the past. We have to create the margin and the room so people can begin filling it. 
        • Post-pandemic everyone wants a bit more personal space. 
        • 5-10 minutes into your service, you need to measure your attendance.
  • Leadership Principle #3: You grow a church by reaching newcomers.  

Episode Links

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Who Is Sean Morgan?

Following a successful career in healthcare change management, Sean moved from success to significance and joined the staff of a San Francisco area church that he helped plant, as their Executive Pastor.  New Life Church is known for a dynamic, multiethnic ministry that has grown from hundreds to thousands. After being written about in Thom Rainer’s book Breakout Churches, Sean found himself hosting and coaching leaders from NorCal and around the world. Sean is a nationally known coach who has developed a reputation for connecting ministry leaders and being a catalyst of fresh vision; he founded and curates


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Quotes From Episode

“Leaders are waiting around for their rooms to fill up, but newcomers to your church are waiting for you to make room for them.”

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About the Host

Sean Morgan is a coach and speaker with a national reputation as a catalyst of fresh vision. His passion is to help ministries navigate obstacles and turn them into opportunities.

Throughout his career, Sean has pioneered initiatives impacting thousands of leaders across the country. He started out serving as Executive Pastor and CFO at New Life Church in northern California.

As host, Sean gives you access to amazing conversations, hard-won wisdom, and poignant insights from world-class leaders in intimate “living room” settings.

Your Host

Sean Morgan

Leaders in Living Rooms
Craft & Character

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