How do churches grow? Not the way you might think. It’s a common myth that “if you build it, they will come.” They won’t. Yes, it worked in Field of Dreams, but it doesn’t happen in the real world of leading a church.
Sometimes we think that’s all there is to building a church. We believe that if we secure a meeting place, offer Starbucks coffee, play some good music, and then deliver a solid sermon, we will grow.
No, you won’t.
So how you grow a church?
It’s easy. Really. It’s not rocket science. But DOING it takes a lot of effort, energy, and hard work. Here’s a few basics:
PRAYER. You can do a great deal in the power of the flesh – a scary amount, in fact – but truly supernatural breakthroughs come only through prayer. A church grows when its leaders beg God for souls, when teams gather to pray for it to grow, and when members and attenders pray for unchurched people by name.
Church growth and kingdom advancement is a supernatural event. The Bible’s description of the early church is clear: “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). Who added? The Lord. Not a program, not a great series, not a tool or technique, not a fast-growing suburb, nor the latest hip factor, but the Lord.
That means it’s a prayer thing.
There is no excuse for passivity, nor am I attempting to speak into the various theological positions about just how someone is saved. I’m simply saying that prayer matters. Church growth is a supernatural activity, and we should pray like it.
MEMBERS & ATTENDERS INVITE THEIR FRIENDS. Crawl beneath the hood of any growing church and will find that the number one reason newcomers attend is because they were invited by a friend. A church attracts newcomers because its members talk about it. It comes up in their conversations at the movie theater, at work, talking over the backyard fence, or while standing around the water cooler. In growing churches, this “culture of invitation” is encouraged and affirmed.
RELATIONSHIPS. Churches need to have some Velcro that allows people to “stick.” The fancy word is assimilation. We just called it getting people connected. Whether it is through a ministry event, volunteerism, a small group, class, seminar, or social event, we want people to build friendships get connect relationally. Always remember – relationships are the glue that holds a church together.
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