According to The Barna group the average Protestant church in America is 89 adults. Which is interesting because I have yet to meet a Pastor who doesn’t want to experience church growth.
So why do churches struggle to grow? And is there anything we can do to overcome our challenges?
After observing growing churches, meeting with Pastors from different cultures that have experienced amazing growth, I’ve been able to learn 6 secrets to Church Growth. I’m sure there are about 50 different things churches can do to see church growth, but these 6 strategies I’ve seen common among the many churches I’ve been able to visit and learn from.
So here they go:
The 6 Secrets To Church Growth
Secret #1: The Senior Pastor delegates
Pastors that do everything, keep their volunteers and staff from growing (this is the biggest mistake you can make). If you don’t delegate then every decision must come from your office, every strategy must come from you, and if a volunteer fails – you end up picking up the slack. No offense, your calling doesn’t make you all-knowing. So delegate and utilize the knowledge and insight of the people God has provided for you.
Secret #2: Set Barrier Breaking Goals
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” – Benjamin Franklin. If you want to break a barrier you’ve got to set that as a goal. By making it a goal you’ll get the entire church behind it. Get the congregation praying about reaching more people. Get your staff to fast and pray. Plan outreach opportunities. The point is you want to orient your church around this goal. If you do not, then do not be surprised when you miss hitting the goal.
Secret #3: Community Outreach
Coupled with Secret #2, if you are going to grow your church you must have a way of reaching your community. Churches that do this well clearly understand the needs of their community. The know how best to provide help for the communities and as a result, the community responds. So talk with members of your congregation that live within the community – what are they afraid of? Where is the community struggling the most? Figure out their biggest issues and do something about it.
Secret #4: Make Assimilation Easy
Churches that experience consistent growth have a system that makes it easy for people to go from attending to becoming a member. They understand the difference between assimilation (goal is to get people to belong) and discipleship (goal is to get people to become more like Jesus). One of my favorite quotes came from a meeting I was in. Where a Pastor, talking about our membership process, said it was easier for someone to get into heaven than become a member of our church. Make it easy for people to join.
Secret #5: Focus on small groups
“According to Dr. Thom Rainer, Small groups make a significant impact on long-term discipleship.” Small groups is a great way to grow people spiritually. You can overcome building limitations by launching groups in homes. The great thing about groups is that you can have a small group study that lines up with your weekend service. The result is that your weekend feeds your groups and your groups emphasize the weekend. You can also subgroup (split a group into smaller groups) for the purpose of getting everyone to pray with someone. You can easily create prayer partners. And provide accountability for everyone in your group.
Secret #6: Develop Leaders
According to Eric Geiger, “Effective organizations take the people they have, develop their capacity, and hand increasing amounts of responsibility to them.” If you want to grow your church, you need volunteers and staff members who can lead ministries and help accomplish goals. In order to have those great leaders, you’ve got to develop them.
Here’s a quick hint:
These 6 Secrets aren’t so difficult to implement. The real issue is the challenge of reaching your goals while trying to run a church. If your church is like most churches, the important gets trumped by the urgent. The only way to overcome that is by having someone from the outside of your organization that will hold you accountable to your goals.