You got into church leadership because you wanted to introduce people to Jesus. That’s pretty much how all of us begin, isn’t it?
And yet every year, it seems to get harder to reach people.
It’s not for lack of effort. Most church leaders try hard, pray hard and do their very best to advance the mission of their church.
But the facts speak for themselves. The majority of churches are in decline, and 94 percent of all churches are losing ground against their community (that is, their community is growing faster than the church is).
And yet, even in the midst of that, some churches are growing.
In those churches are the early clues to what future church growth looks like.
Here are seven factors that will drive almost all future church growth.
- Personal Invitation
One of the things that fly under the radar of most growing churches is how much personal invitation fuels church growth (and discipleship).
A great social media presence is important, as are services unchurched people can access.
But at the heart of it all, in almost every growing church is this: people inviting their friends.
Personal invitation fuels much of future church growth. Conversely, if your church members don’t invite their friends, don’t expect to grow.
This assumes Christians actually have non-Christian friends they can invite. Shockingly, too many Christians don’t.
Many Christians cocoon in their little bubble, distraught over the direction the world is heading and angry at or indifferent toward people who don’t hold their values and beliefs.
Don’t miss this, Christians: It’s hard to reach a world you don’t love…or know.
- Refusing to Settle for Mediocre
It’s one thing to invite your friends. It’s quite another to have a great experience to invite them into.
Many churches settle for mediocrity. Don’t.
Battle mediocrity instead. Too many churches allow what’s good to stand in the way of what could be great.
To some extent, that means a service with decent music (decent to outsiders, not insiders), authentic, compelling preaching, a solid next-gen ministry and a good guest services approach (making your guests feel welcome).
An awkward reality of stuck and declining churches is that they choose inclusion over excellence. We let a not-very-gifted singer sing because no one has the courage to tell him he can’t. We let non-leaders lead because they’ve been there the longest, and they’re bossy, and we’re all afraid. (I wrote more about this dynamic that here.)
I’m not judging. I’ve led in that context before, and that’s one of the first things a leader has to change.
God designed some people to sing. Get them singing.
He gave others the gift of rhythm. Get them drumming.
He gave some the gift of leadership or communication. Get them leading and communicating.
It’s a mistake to dismiss that as entertainment. It’s called gifting. And the body of Christ works best on gifting.
The price you pay is a service nobody really likes, except the insiders, kind of like a school play parents endure because they know their kid is in it.
If your worship service is something only insiders love, don’t be surprised when outsiders walk away.