My parents signed me up for piano lessons when I was ten years old.
I was excited to learn how to play some songs, but my teacher just wanted to teach me scales. I only agreed to piano lessons because I wanted to play songs, not scales.
Boring scales and lots of practice.
After a year or so, I quit.
Scales sound nothing like songs, but they are the building blocks of music.
Practicing scales might be boring, but critical to learning to play for real.
You’ll see this over and over again in every area of life. In cooking, it’s quality ingredients. In math, it’s the basics of addition and subtraction. In football, it’s the four-yard carry.
It is true in the local church too.
The key to church growth is doing a few important things and doing them well.
- Having quality services that lead people to follow Jesus.
- Ministries that match the needs of the community executed with skill.
- The kind of things that feel boring but ultimately lead to success.
It’s great to put on a special event that attracts thousands, but no event will make up for a passionless worship service. It’s awesome you can raise several thousand dollars through a golf tournament to send students to camp, but the weekly offering and the annual budget have a far greater potential for impact.
Getting the basics right is far more important than doing something amazing one time.
Here are some ramifications for your church.
#1 – Spend most of your resources on the things that happen consistently.
Church services, regular programs, and ministries that happen consistently are where you should spend most of your time, energy and money.
It’s tempting to divert resources to things that make the news but the things that will make a difference happen over and over again in your church. Don’t let the shiny things take you away from the regular ministry.
Don’t fall into the trap of diverting too many resources to one-time events. It’s the things you do every week that have the most potential to impact the most people.
#2 – Deploy most of your people to the ministries and programs that happen consistently.
It’s great to engage volunteers in special events, but it’s far more important to put your best people on your regularly-occurring ministries. If you “use up” all your best people on summer events and one-time programs, they will have little time or energy left to serve throughout the year. If you have too many special events, your regular programs and ministries will suffer.
#3 – Evaluate the things that happen most often, not just the things that happen once.
One of the best ways to get better is to focus your energy on the things that happen all the time. For most churches, this is the Sunday church service.
When it the last time you exerted considerable effort into improving that?
Pull people together to evaluate and plan your services. It's virtually free to do this and the ramifications are huge. Here’s a weekend service evaluation form you can use.
These things might sound boring.
They might sound more like practicing the scales than playing a concerto.
But if you focus on the basics, you’ll make a bigger impact.
So What's Next?
Feel like your church should be growing, but it's not? From someone who used to be a pastor and church planter, I know it can be frustrating.
Ultimately, church growth is up to God. But 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. As a result we created a free guide to breaking barriers that will bring clarity and help begin to alleviate your frustrations.
Get your FREE copy of the Senior Pastor's Guide to Breaking Barriers today by entering your name and email below.