How do you grow a church? Why are so many congregations declining in attendance, ministry, and mission support?
Dr. Thom Rainer, an expert in church growth and decline, says there are five reasons that churches are not growing. He points out those five points as:
1. Cultural Christianity is declining rapidly.
2. The exit of the Builder generation.
3. Migration from rural areas and small towns to the cities.
4. Faster church transfers.
5. Slow response to change as change accelerates all around us. (You can find Dr. Rainer’s complete blog at Five Reasons Why Churches Are Dying and Declining Faster Today.)
With all that is going on relating to church decline, is there any hope for churches that would like to grow?
Yes, there is!
There are many churches that are doing well. These fellowships have made decisions to simplify their ministries and focus on a strong biblical foundation for the development of their congregations.
Those churches that are doing well are those that have decided to follow three positive behaviors.
1. A Clear Vision Based On God’s Word is Needed to Grow a Church
If a church is planning to see healthy growth and success, there must be a clear vision that is based on scripture. Those churches that are doing well make no apologies in trusting in the Bible for their direction, goals, ministry, and focus.
A vision based on Scripture gives a clear direction for any congregation.
Does the vision of your church have a scriptural foundation?
2. A Clear Plan That Focuses on the “Most Important” is Needed to Grow a Church
To accomplish a vision, there must be a clear understanding as to the direction of the vision.
• What is the plan to fulfill the vision?
• What scripture is this vision founded on?
• Can the church staff, deacons/elders, and church leaders share the vision with other people?
• Does the congregation have a clear understanding of this vision and plan?
Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he left a clear vision for his disciples in Matthew 28:19 when he told his disciples to “go into the world.”
3. A Clear Strategy That Makes the Vision and Plan Clear is Needed to Grow a Church
What are you and the church doing this year this? Does the church calendar show a strategy that makes the vision clear to the entire fellowship? Is it possible to do away with some of the events on the calendar so the vision can be fulfilled?
For a vision to become the most important thing a church does it must develop it’s strategy of ministry to be clear, direct and abundantly clear to the entire congregation.
The vision must be repeated over and over and over again. To assume that the whole congregation gets it the first time is a major mistake. A clear vision will never be clear until it is repeated until the church takes ownership.
Jesus told his disciples that the vision of going into the world had a simple strategy. As they were going the disciples were to –
• Make disciples of all nations
• Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit
• Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.
Does your church have a clear vision?
Does your church have a clear plan?
Does your church have a clear strategy to fulfill the vision and plan?