One of the ways we show a love for God and for the people He loves, is to have a passionate, organised, Spirit inspired attitude to reaching lost souls for Christ and growing them into disciples – which means growing our churches. I have noticed 5 main aspects where ever church is growing:
1. COMMITMENT TO THE COMMISSION
Jesus left a divine command ringing in His disciples ears…Go, Go, Go! Preach, publish, broadcast the good news to all creation and make disciples of them, baptising, healing with signs & wonders. Though every church mission statement can be slightly different, at the end of the day every department of every church and every person in every pew, must be challenged, inspired, taught and shown how to live a life that fulfils this command. It must pump like blood through the veins of your church, so you have a congregation that is a pioneering revolution taking place, not a hospital ward (Though every church needs a hospital ward!)
2. A BRINGING CULTURE
This will result in people bringing people to church. “Bringing” is found all over the Gospels, as people brought others to Jesus. From the leaders perspective, there must be loads of events, big or small/attractional or relational, to bring people to!
When a place is alive with vision, energy and momentum, it can’t help but be attractive. Places that are energetically positive, excited, bounding from week to week, excited about what God is doing among them – these places grow.
Now you might think “I wish our church had that!”. Truth is, you build it. Leaders create this environment on purpose. They get vision from God, throw the vision at people, and throw people into the vision. Get people working, focussed on the Great Commision, working in their skill set areas, celebrating successes and laughing about failures – and you will develop a place with energy.
4. FLOOR SPACE
Real practical in the West – floor space affects your growth!
Someone asked me the other day “Why isn’t my church growing?”. I said “How many come along?” “About 75” was the reply. “And how big is your hall?”. “It’ll take about 100”.
“You’re pot bound” I replied. “It won’t grow any more. If you are 70-80% full, apart from special events, it is unlikely you grow beyond your floor space. You need more meetings or a new hall to grow”
I studied and discovered this when I first took on our church. If you have the previous three points in a church, then this fourth one is the bottleneck that will stop growth. You have to keep adding floor space and service times in order to grow.
Apart from the first three points being evident in our church, the main practical decision that has grown our church has been the continued addition of multiple services, multiple venues, extension services and church plants. It is well proven that every growing church has “multiple” services of some sort, whether in the same venue or in satellite congregations.
Nothing has released the pioneering vision for our 90 year old church, like pioneering new meetings and churches in different places.
Be brave. Pick a village or town nearby with no church like yours – and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and go plant an extension service by just booking a hall, and putting on worship, speakers and hospitality. Tell everyone you’re coming (One year we put 120,000 fliers through doors and rented 10 billboards!) … and pray for people to come!
Get yourself some more floor space, and you’ll grow.
(PS.. Usually a Sunday night service in addition to your Sunday morning, is not a “multiple service” in the best sense for church growth, as it is often the really committed ones from the morning, plus a few others. To really push for growth, put two services on a Sunday morning, either one after the other, or in two venues. That will create proper space for growth).
5. A CYCLE OF LIFE
Once you’ve got people coming to your service create the net to catch them. This requires something like:
a) Good clear altar calls.
b) Good follow up and conversation, retaining names and addresses. Giving people bibles, CD’s, teaching aids.
c) New Arrivals Course, for new comers to your church
d) New Believers Course, giving people the basics of the Christian faith.
e) Connection through small groups and team membership. We try to get people working ASAP!
f) Pastoral Care: As a church grows, not everyone can connect to the leader or leader couple. Every person must have their own pastor if you’re going to get beyond 120 in size as a church.
Have fun on the adventure of church growth. It’s all about souls that Jesus loves deeply!