Pastors who lead healthy churches have a healthy desire to reach more people with the gospel. It's not about numbers for the sake of numbers. It's not about getting big for the sake of feeling important. It's a real desire to reach people and invite them into a life that honors Jesus.
Here are seven strategies for church growth with focus on increasing church attendance.
#1 – Equip your people with tools that makes inviting easier.
Imagine you wanted me to drill a quarter-inch hole into the wall. You can declare the importance of the project, cast vision and tell amazing stories, but unless you give me a drill and a bit, it’s not going to happen.
In order for me to do the job (and do it well), I need the appropriate tools.
Many pastors encourage their members to invite, but only a few equip them with tools. And the tools make the difference.
What kind of tools can you give people? Invite cards at the doors on the way out, correctly-sized social media graphics people to share, a dedicated page on your website with information, a done-for-you email they could forward to their friends, a new series appropriate for first time guests, and much more.
#2 – Share helpful and useful stuff on social media.
A lot of churches adopt the selfie approach to their social media pages. It’s “look at me” all the time. Announcements, events, programs and ministries that obviously have a great purpose but nonetheless are all about the church.
Here’s our new series.
Check out our new ministry.
Here’s when the event starts.
It’s all about the church.
Instead of talking about your church events on your Facebook page, share community events. Talk about the farmers market or the high school chorus event. Share community news and photos, at least, three times more than you talk about the church.
Because a funny thing happens when you talk about other people…they take notice.
This is the opposite of the selfie approach to church communications, and it really works.
#3 – Make your service better.
If you want more people to come to your service, work hard to make your service better. It might not be the most important thing your church does, but it’s definitely the most visible.
Like it or not, most people in your community judge your church by your church service.
So work hard to make your church service a great experience that helps people connect with God.
Talk openly and honestly about what’s connecting with people and truly encouraging them to follow Jesus. Work hard on your opening, welcome, announcements and offering moments. Pull people together and ask, “How can we do this better?”
For many churches, the Sunday morning church service is the most important event of the week, but it’s the other stuff that gets most of our attention.
If you want a practical tool to evaluate your church service, check out the church service evaluation form. It’s a part of six evaluation forms that will help you get better across the board.
#4 – Serve your city.
Not long ago, I heard Mike Linch, the pastor of Northstar Church in Kennesaw, Georgia talk about how their church is able to serve their city.
The church hosts 150 non-church events a year in their facility, with an average of 250 more people in attendance. They intentionally open their building up to the community, and the community has taken notice. This is just one part of a community-wide strategy.
Mike said their community relationships helped them survive a really tough time in the church.
Northstar has a reputation for being a church that cares about the city and this helps them invite more people to experience God through their church services.
One of the best ways to invite people to church is to stop making it all about church and start working toward the good of your city.
#5 – Try a new way to promote.
What are you doing right now to invite people to church? How’s it working?
What you’re doing now is perfectly designed to get the results you’re getting, so if you want some different results, it might be time to try something different.
You can learn how to promote helpful posts on Facebook and target them to people in your zip code. You could send a direct mail promoting a new series or a new class. You could try email advertising, road signs, banners, and a number of different things.
Promotion and advertising isn’t evil or unspiritual. It’s a tool you can use to invite more people to come to church.
#6 – Meet real needs.
Many churches have great ministries that met the needs of the community twenty years ago. The community has changed, but the church keeps plugging away with ministries that used to work.
A better approach is to match the ministries of your church to the needs of your community.
Likewise, too many pastors preach sermons without any regard to who is actually in the congregation. In many of the Apostle Paul’s New Testament letters, he answered real questions posted to him by real Christians in real churches. In other words, Paul was responsive to people’s needs.
Don’t design church ministries to meet need that only exist in your head. Don’t preach solely on topics you deem important.
#7 – Stop competing with yourself.
If you want more people to come to your church service, you might need to consider stopping all the programs and activities that compete.
Classes, studies, and youth groups are great, but too many programs on Sunday morning keep people from participating in the church service. More importantly, it keeps people from inviting those they know.
For many churches, it’s not what you start doing, but what you stop doing that leads to growth.
Take an honest look at how well everything is working. Don’t judge based on whether it’s good or bad or whether or not you like it or whether or not people are attending. Be honest about effectiveness.
So What's Next?
Feel like your church should be growing, but it's not?
Ultimately, church growth is up to God. Are we being good stewards of what He's given us? Are we doing everything we can to ensure our church is healthy? How do we overcome the barriers we feel are in front of us?
We know you care deeply about leading a healthy growing church because it means leading more people to Jesus. So we created a free guide to breaking barriers that will bring clarity and help begin to alleviate your frustrations.
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