There are many opinions floating around pertaining to church growth and church health. Some people do not believe that older, established, congregations have any hope for the future. In fact, there are some that believe that the starting of a “new church” is healthier and more productive than trying to “resurrect” an older established congregation.
There was a time in my ministry that I may have believed in many of the statements above, however, over three decades of church involvement, my attitude has changed. I have come to believe that older congregations can be revitalized.
Many years ago I talked to an elder pastor regarding the “old, established congregation” I was working with. I shared with this wise man the frustration I was experiencing. I had already made up my mind that I was going to resign and start a new fellowship. After sharing my desire with this pastor, he asked me a few simple questions, “Are you sure you want to do that?” My response was quick. “Yes, I am sure.” After this response my friend started laying out a few things for me to think about. He said, “The church you now pastor owns the property they are on, correct?” “Looking for a place to worship is not a challenge for you at this time, correct?” “The salaries of your church staff are being taken care of at your present place, correct?” My response to each of these questions was, “Yes.” My next question to this experienced pastor was respectfully, “So, what is your point?” He went on to explain that a new church start does not have to start from scratch but rather can take a present situation and watch the Lord do a miracle, like turning water into wine.
After this conversation my eyes were opened to how older congregations can grow as well as a new fellowship. Here are six principles that evolved from my talk with this wise pastor on how to grow an older congregation just like you would grow a new congregation:
1. It Takes Time
2. It Takes Commitment
3. It Takes Purpose Over Practices
4. It Takes a Clear Vision for the Future
5. It Takes People Who Believe in the Power of the Holy Spirit
6. It Takes a Ministry Team That Believes in Marathons More Than Sprints
Can an older congregation grow? What do you think about these 6 points?