“Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong. This also applies to churches.”
Every time I read the book of Acts, I am completely blown away by the early church’s growth. By the end of the second chapter, thousands of people gather to hear the gospel and three thousand people are saved (Acts 2:41). That means a church of 120 believers (Acts 1:15) grew to a church of more than three thousand! That’s a mega church by my standards. I don’t know about you.
I don’t know about your church but one goal that is common in many churches is growth. Churches want to reach more people and reaching more people is an outcome of growth. Growing a church requires a vision, thought and strategy. Growing churches are those that follow a God-given vision and mission, define and implement growth roadmap. Since a 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 some churches, but it is true. Church growth is not about competing with other churches but about fulfilling the Great Commission. The Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. There is no way a local church can be fulfilling this instruction without desiring growth within their community.
This platform is designed to empower churches in their growth efforts. But first we would like to present our understanding of the building blocks to a sustainable church growth. We believe that sustainable church growth can be achieved when a church focuses on these 6 things;
1) A robust evangelism and outreach strategy
2 ) Well trained and attentive visitors welcome and ushering teams
3) A no nonsense culture for collecting information on all visitors to church services and activities, including those activities away from the church premises
4) Standardised and robust visitor follow-up protocol led by a committed and well-trained follow-up team
5) Standardised and robust protocol for ensuring that all new members are well integrated
6) Church leaders who are committed to build an engaged church where members are not spectators but important players in the vision of the church
You can call this list of 6, Church Growth Elements. These 6 Church Growth Elements are by no means easy to achieve, as a matter of fact there are 5 hindrances that work in antagonism. It will be helpful to look at these 5 hindrances as leakages or holes in your church growth pipeline. As simple as it sounds your growth as a church is dependent on how well you turn visitors into members. Those churches who are able to do this consistently, efficiently and effectively will experience sustainable growth.
This growth process is actually a cycle that start with Evangelism or Outreach and ends with some Visitors making a decision to be members of your church family. A good way to illustrate this path is to use a funnel as shown below;
The funnel structure, wide opening and narrow end is a great illustration of church growth because it shows that more visitors get into the funnel and only a fraction eventually become members. In the figure below we will put the growth funnel together with the 5 leakages,
Below is a description of the leakages and how they relate to your church growth.
This happens when a church lacks a methodical Evangelism and Outreach Strategy. Without this strategy, a church has limited audience and this will affect its potential growth. Every church should have an evangelism and outreach department whose main role is to ensure that the church is reaching out to the community either with the gospel or through community charitable needs.
This happens when a visitor come to a church and leave without the church having captured their basic details for follow up. Without this information, no follow-up can be done.
This happens when visitors are not properly followed-up because of lack of methodical and predictable follow-up protocols.
Lost New Members
This happens when visitors who have chosen to join a church leave within a year because there are no structures and systems to ensure that all New Members are properly integrated into the church family.
This happens when members who have been with a church for a long time decides to leave because of a lack of engagement. When members are not engaged they are at risk of leaving.