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The Covid-19 pandemic had a major impact on in-person church attendance.
Churches of all sizes are struggling with getting members back in church and growing their membership. Churches strive to grow because of the Great Commission.
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Google searches for church growth are up 23% since a year ago. This means churches are looking for new strategies to increase attendance and, ultimately, their influence.
Church Growth Strategy
Hopefully, your church has been preparing, planning, and writing church goals for 2022.
Post-pandemic church growth may be one of those goals.
Churches want to reach more people and reaching more people is an outcome of growth.
Growth doesn’t happen by accident but requires a vision, thought, and strategy.
Identify Your Unique Qualities
The beauty of the body of Christ is that God uses everyone in a slightly different way, and those unique qualities that each church possesses are what God uses to create a beautiful tapestry of churches.
Church growth is not about competing with the ministry down the street but more about developing the people God has planted in the local church to be used by God with their unique gifts.
I believe people are called to churches for a specific purpose.
We are all on a journey, and the church helps us develop as Christians and supports our unique calling.
In his book, Purpose Driven Church, Rick Warren says, “….since the church is a living organism, it is natural for it to grow if it is healthy…If a church is not growing it is dying...” This can be a scary concept for a small local church.
With growth comes many challenges, but the exciting thing is that with God, ALL things are possible, and He gives wisdom freely!
Some churches don’t grow simply because the leadership gets comfortable with the way things are and doesn’t do anything to change the status quo. And sometimes churches merge to consolidate resources.
This may be okay – but it may not be.
Could it be that there are people who could benefit from a particular church body that is stagnant?
8 Keys to Church Growth
1. Know Where the Church is Going
There is an old saying: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
This is true in business as well as churches.
People are drawn to a compelling mission and vision and get excited about being a part of an organization that is making a difference!
It is exciting when a church member can share stories of the early days and celebrate the journey of how the church matured, developed, and grew.
2. Create an Inviting Atmosphere
It is unfortunate but true that we are a consumer-driven society, and people are naturally drawn to an aesthetically appealing environment.
People like to be proud of where they worship, so providing an environment that is comfortable, clean, and orderly is important.
Paying attention to things like clean, stocked restrooms, clean glass surfaces, and freshly vacuumed carpeting can go a long way in creating a comfortable atmosphere for members and guests.
3. Create a Welcoming Experience
There are not many things as awkward for a church visitor to be ignored or to be overwhelmed with attention.
Everyone wants to be greeted, but not everyone is comfortable being inundated with unwelcome attention.
Try to remember that most people who visit a church are looking for something – time with God.
They might be exploring the Christian faith for the first time or checking to see if the church culture is a good fit.
Regardless, it is important to make the experience as positive as possible.
There is a tender balance between creating a welcoming experience and an awkward one.
But, with socially skilled people and a little training, it can be done.
4. Care for Church Members
Church members are one of the key customer groups in a church.
Understanding their unique needs and ensuring their needs are met – within the scope of the vision – is critical to church growth.
For example, if the church has volunteer opportunities, make sure the application and communication process is a good experience.
Or if a volunteer is given a job or responsibility, try to make sure they know what is expected of them and have what they need to do their job.
The goal is to provide support for their needs.
Having said that, there are people who sometimes make unreasonable demands for things that don’t line up with the vision or strategy of the church and can be difficult to deal with.
I had a pastor friend who once said he would respond to this kind of person with “either love me or leave me, but don’t stay here and fight me…”
Some people are unreasonable, and you need to just let them move on.
5. Provide Opportunities to Serve
At the core of all of us is a desire to serve others. Jesus did it, and as Christians, we need to be provided with opportunities to help other people.
So whether it is serving meals to the less fortunate, organizing mission trips, or helping others in a time of crisis – opportunities to serve offer members the chance to use their gifts to help God’s people.
A well-defined strategic plan can help identify the kinds of service opportunities that support the vision of the church.
6. Proper Management of Church Resources
There needs to be good oversight and management of God’s money!
God provides financial resources to churches, and there is a responsibility that comes with managing those resources.
Churches that are good stewards of ministry funds, and are diligent with their budgeting processes are better prepared financially for the needs of expanding facilities, updating equipment, and other necessities to operate a church.
God’s money is the most important money in the world, so manage it well!
Being a good steward of ministry funds is an important responsibility of the call.
7. Embrace The New Normal
Church has changed drastically since March of 2020. Churches scrambled to facilitate streaming services during the peak of the shutdown.
Many people still choose to worship from home because of fear and health issues.
Embrace this new normal and find ways to engage with these members.
For instance, assign someone to engage with members during a streaming service. Provide volunteer opportunities in the digital world.
Consider this new era of the online church as an opportunity to reach more people.
Use your social networks and YouTube channel to share encouraging messages of hope.
COVID has changed the church forever, so make a point of embracing this new normal and find creative ways to engage with those who may never step foot in your church.
8. Enjoy the Ride
Whether you are a senior pastor, a business administrator, or a church secretary, the call should be enjoyable, fulfilling, and balanced.
Spending time with God is what fuels the call and the anointing to do what needs to be done in a church.
I have a quote written in the back of my bible that says, “Don’t get so caught up in the ministry of the Lord that we forget the Lord of the Ministry.”
If God called you into ministry, don’t take that call lightly. Spend time with Him, and He will instruct you in the way you should go!
If you take that instruction, write the vision down, and map out a plan to get there – biblical church growth is inevitable!
Learn more about managing your church by enrolling in our Fundamentals of Church Administration Course.