3 Simple Church Growth Strategies We May Have Forgotten About
A few years ago, I met a pastor who had a small but seemingly healthy church. People were attending regularly and week by week the attendance would creep up ever so slightly. It wasn’t exponential growth by any standards, but to use a phrase (and please don’t take this out of context), he had a nice thing going. However, there was a problem. This pastor became obsessed with growing his church. Every conversation I had with him, this was all he talked about. He consumed all the latest church growth and leadership material he could find because he was determined to make his church grow.
The reason this works and why this simple strategy to grow your church makes sense is because growing, happy members of your church will invite people to come to church with them. When people are in an environment where they are being taught and they are growing in their faith, they become willing to share with others and bring people with them.
When you read John’s gospel, you find this happening. In chapter one, Andrew followed Jesus and then went and told his brother Simon (Peter). Phillip then started following Jesus and then went and told his brother Nathanael. When you look further in John chapter four, Jesus is having a conversation with a woman at the well. After Jesus ministers to her, she went into the town and told the people, come meet a man who told me everything about me. That one encounter led to a revival breaking out in their town.
How did this happen? Jesus took the time to build up one person, and when he did, they brought others. You might think this sounds too simple, but it's not. Call me naïve, but what I have seen is when people are learning, growing, and maturing in their walk with Jesus, they get excited and they will bring people into their environment and invite them to church. It doesn’t matter how much you tell people to invite someone to church, if they feel there is no benefit for the people who come, they will not do it.
Every year a church I know gives out turkeys for thanksgiving. The line for people to get a turkey is usually long because once the word gets out, people tell others. The same principle applies. If people know there is something that will benefit them in the church and help them grow, they will tell other people.
The last simple church growth strategy is this. If you build people, not only will they tell others, but they will also serve. When you help people grow in their relationship with Jesus and they deepen their love for him, they are going to serve. People who are growing in love with Jesus want to help others do the same. One way they do this is by serving. As you help people draw closer to Jesus, they take on more of his character and one thing that defines Jesus is he was a servant. When you lead people, build them, and help them fall in love with Jesus, they will become servants out of gratitude and because they love him.
Most church growth strategies look for the short-term fix, which is why there is always another strategy around the corner. I encourage you to focus on these things, which puts the good of the people ahead of the good of the organization. This may not be the fastest way to grow your church, but it will benefit the people the most. Since the people are the church, maybe that is not such a bad idea after all.
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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.