Church growth is a consequence of both acquisition and retention efforts. The acquisition of new members, without well-designed strategies for retaining those people in the body, is a fruitless task. Similarly, retention programs implemented without regard to how the church might attract new members may result in a stagnant, in-grown congregation. A successful church — that is, a body that is adding new members consistently, and nurturing those who are already part of the congregation — is one which utilizes its limited strengths and resources toward a targeted effort at finding new members who fit the culture and personality of the body.
Pursue growth, don’t wait for it.
Experience has shown that the attitude with which a church approaches growth is critical to making numerical expansion occur. Those churches that wait for growth may have people visit.
Pursue growth, and do so with a well-formed philosophy of why growth is important. How does one pursue growth? Growth is most likely to occur in those congregations in which a vision for growth has been clearly and consistently articulated bythe pastor. A key aspect of the vision must be that the burden of church growth does not rest upon the shoulders of the pastor and staff, but upon the shoulders of the church members.
- Develop a growth plan.
You’ve probably heard the expression “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Trite as it sounds, research has demonstrated the truth of that perspective. Those organizations that fall by the wayside are usually the ones that failed to create a detailed, organized plan for action.
What should the plan entail? Begin by stating your goals and objectives, specifying what you want to achieve in terms that can be measured. Then devise strategies by which you can achieve those goals. Strategies are the general approaches you need to take. Finally, determine the tactics that you will employ to carry out your strategies.
Prepare the congregation for growth.
To grow, the congregation needs to believe that growth is not only possible, but inevitable. They have to own that vision. But more than that, the role of pastors is to prepare the body to deal with every element of growth that occurs.
4. Pray for church growth consistently and specifically.
Telling a church to pray may sound foolish, like telling a fisherman to bring his rod. But in all honesty, how many members of the average church regularly ask God to bring visitors to the church? How many people in your congregation do so? How many pastors, despite their interest in growth, pray daily about that desire? The Bible teaches us that we have an open invitation to ask His blessing upon those things we seek to do for His glory. But all of us need to be constantly reminded that we have to consciously ask God to bring new people to our churches.
5. Do everything with excellence.
Philosophically, we must agree that if we are going to do anything in the name and service of God, it must be done with excellence. Scripture commands it (Col. 3:23) and God deserves only our best efforts.
Some churches argue that while excellence is an attractive goal, it is impossible to attain because they place so much reliance upon the performance of volunteers to make the church’s programs come to life. Both research and experience underscore the fact that volunteers want to be recognized for doing good work, and do not want to be embarrassed by their performance. Churches that expect volunteers to meet high standards — and that work diligently with them to meet those standards — have been successful at achieving lofty goals.
(The above material was published by National and International Religion Report.) Christian Information Network