Here are three quick ideas: Give the gospel every week sometime during your church service so your people know that any time they bring someone who doesn’t know Christ they will hear the Good News of Jesus and have an opportunity to trust in Christ. Secondly, train your whole congregation how to share their faith. That’s right, if you make it a sermon series (instead of an optional small group) then the entire church (not just those already engaged in evangelism) will be on the same page. Finally, have stories in every service of how your church members are engaging their friends, co-workers, classmates and family with the good news message. This three-minute segment of your service will elevate the value of relational evangelism in ways you could never imagine.
3. They’re not organized enough.
Some churches lead people to Christ but don’t have an assimilation plan that is robust enough to get these precious new believers clicked into the life blood of the congregation. As a result, there are precious babies out there without the shelter of the church and the milk of God’s Word. In a past post, I called this “Punting the Baby.” We would never clap at the birth of a beautiful new baby and then punt it! But we do the same thing when we celebrate a new conversion and aren’t organized enough to follow up. We also need to follow up with the visitors who are already believers. (Hint: The best person to follow up is the person who invited them to your church to begin with!)
And, of course, we need to be organized in our church services, small groups, parking, etc. so that things are done, as Scripture reminds us, “decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40)…just like the Holy Spirit likes it.
4. They’re not relevant enough.
Another reason some churches don’t grow is that they are not relevant enough. If I have no church context and walk into a building where pipe organs rule the day or the Scripture reading sounds like Shakespeare or the service feels like I’m a part of a museum exhibition, then there’s a good chance I won’t come back.
But even these fade into the background compared to sermons that don’t hit the mark. Not only must the Word of God be exegeted, but the needs of the people must be too. I’ll put up with choir robes and stained glass if the sermon is hitting the mark in my soul. But if the Word of God remains a distant, confusing, religious relic instead of a sword that opens up areas of my life (Hebrews 4:12-13) for the Spirit of God to change me in powerful and practical ways, then there’s a good chance I won’t be back.
5. They’re not meaty enough.
Some churches grow initially because their services and sermons are relevant but their sermons tend to be light and fluffy. As new believers grow in their faith they get a hunger for God’s Word on a level beyond the surface. Now when I talk about “meaty,” I’m not talking about hour-long doctrinal diatribes unpacking the theological implications of angelology for a postmodern culture. I’m talking about being willing to “rightly divide the Word of God” beyond just topical series that tend to skim the surface.
I’ll never forget visiting Flatirons Church once on a Sunday morning just about 20 minutes from where I live. This church is one of the fastest growing churches in the nation and has a weekly of attendance that numbers 10,000+. To be honest, I was expecting a “light and fluffy” service, but, instead, the sermons were both meaty and practical. Soon I was scrambling for a pen and taking notes. And so were the believers and seekers all packed in around me. Nobody could ever accuse this “lights, camera, action” highly produced church service, full of pounding music and tattoos, of being irrelevant. But nobody could ever accuse this church of failing to be meaty enough. Maybe this church was growing because it found the sweet spot between being both practically relevant and theologically riveting.