(August 1, 2014 via Glatfelter Religious Practice) Do you realize that if your weekend attendance totals about 90 people, you’re an above average church (at least in the United States and when measuring by such numbers)? If you’re wondering what you need to do to grow your church, Pastor Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in California, offers these eight steps that can help you break an attendance barrier:
1) Decide you really, really want to grow your church – Believe it or not, the primary barrier to church growth is desire. Do you really want to grow your church? If the answer is yes, then you must commit to this goal and be willing to accept changes. And the people in your congregation must also be willing to accept changes.
2) Your role as pastor must change – Once you decide you want to grow your church, you’ll need to analyze your role as pastor. You must be willing to change from minister to leader. If everything depends on you — if you have to personally minister to every person in your church — then the church cannot grow beyond your own energy level. And that is a barrier! You must be willing to let other people share the ministry.
3) Mobilize members for ministry – Be willing to give up some leadership and entrust ministry to the people in the pews. After the congregation has decided it wants to grow, then start teaching about “the ministry of the laity” and talking about the importance of every believer using their unique gift to minister to the body.
4) Begin having multiple services – If you’re not already doing so, I encourage you to seriously start planning for it. By offering people a choice of services, you’re effectively putting another hook in the water.
5) Multiply your staff – In order to grow your church past that 200 barrier, you must begin moving to multiple staff. You must begin to specialize the staff under your leadership.
6) Plan big days – The best way I know to break through barriers is to break a few all at one time. Plan a big day — an event — and your numbers go up. Yes, they go back down afterwards, but not as far as they were before the event. Keep doing this and you'll grow your church. Big holidays are an obvious time to concentrate on events — Easter, Christmas. Plan outreaches to the community.
7) Have multiple cells – People will often complain about not being cared for when the real issue is that they’re losing control. “There are so many people here, I don’t feel like anybody cares for me anymore” is a common complaint. Another is: “The pastor is too busy for me now.” Caring is a legitimate issue, but you can respond through the multiplication of cells — groups of eight to 12 people. Cells become tools for caring for the body.
8) Expand your facility – Many churches build too small, too fast and you need to plan for growth and project out what your needs will be. Looking for help with the unique insurance needs of religious organization insurance? Contact Regnier Religious Practice today at 512.448.9928.