If you are a pastor or church planter, you should be getting all sorts of emails and advertisements about church growth. Some seem legit, others… not so much. The ones that are clearly written by a marketing expert (rather than a practitioner of church planting) go something like this: “Plant a Church in 3 Easy Steps” or “3 Simple Steps to a Church Growth.” Yeah ok… I totally trust those headlines. Can you feel the sarcasm in my voice?
There are principles that can help with church planting and even church growth, but they are far from “easy.” I like to call this 1) Front Door (Getting People into the meeting space), 2) Back Door (Cast a vision and give people a reason to stay), and 3) Growth Opportunities (People go and stay where they are thriving in their spiritual walk) So there it is – 3 “easy ways to church growth.”
1. Front Door: Building Bridges and Creating Welcoming Spaces
The first step to church growth is attracting new members to your congregation. This task demands a proactive approach to outreach and evangelism. Here are some strategies to consider:
a. Community Engagement:
Get involved in local events, volunteer opportunities, and social gatherings. This not only showcases the church’s commitment to the community but also opens doors for meaningful interactions and invitations to attend church services and events.
b. Digital Presence:
In our digital age, a strong online presence is paramount. Ensure that your church’s website is user-friendly, informative, and inviting. Utilize social media platforms to connect with potential members, share inspiring content, and announce upcoming events.
c. Personal Invitations:
Encourage your current members to invite friends, family, and colleagues to church personally. A personal invitation is often more effective than a general advertisement or announcement.
d. Atmosphere of Encounter:
Creating an inviting atmosphere can make a difference in whether visitors return to your church or not. Create a place where people can have a true encounter with the Living God. This is done in many ways, such as through music, worship, and teaching that encourages members and potential members alike to connect with God at a deeper level.
2. Back Door: Fostering Belonging and Community
Once a first-time guest has walked through the doors, the focus shifts to making them feel valued, connected, and engaged.
a. Warm Welcome:
Ensure that every person who attends your church feels welcomed and noticed. Have a dedicated team of greeters and ushers to assist those who are new to the church and create a welcoming environment.
b. Small Groups:
Encourage participation in small groups or home fellowships. These settings provide opportunities for deeper connection, mutual support, and spiritual growth.
Develop a system for following up with first-time visitors. A simple phone call, email, or handwritten note can go a long way in making someone feel noticed and appreciated.
3. Grow People: Investing in Spiritual Development
Church growth is not just about numbers; it is about the spiritual maturity and development of each individual member.
a. Discipleship Programs:
Offer structured discipleship programs that guide members in their spiritual journey, teaching them the fundamentals of the faith and how to live out their beliefs in daily life. These programs may not be ongoing but a once-a-month seminar about a heartfelt need. Examples: Parenting, Finances, Workplace Ministry.
b. Leadership Development:
Identify and encourage potential leaders within your congregation. Provide training and mentorship opportunities to equip them for service and leadership roles.
c. Service Opportunities:
Create avenues for members to serve within the church and the broader community. Serving others is a powerful catalyst for personal growth and spiritual development.
There you have it. Easy right? Not even close!
Church Planting is tough! Pastoring is tough. But it can be done with a proper mindset and a heart to help those who the Lord places in your life.