Do not be afraid to preach biblical stewardship and how to handle money. If you do not know how, acquire resources to help you. Stewardship and generosity are sure signs of the health of your church. A stifled church, no matter how many are attending, will always have financial problems, where a small, poor church with real conviction and purpose will usually have enough! (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Do you desire to have your church grow?
We all desire to see our churches grow. If they are not, there is something wrong. Your call and profession might need a review. Growing a church is biblical, and an imperative from our Lord. However, we also need to discover what it means to “grow a church.” Most people consider numerical growth, and for good reasons. Most of the time, numbers indicate success, and the more you have, the more to whom you are ministering. Nevertheless, is that the main reason for growth? Well, see for yourself.
Carefully read Matthew 28:18-20. Diligently examine each word. What does it say? The emphasis is on spiritual growth! Discipleship! When we are reaching all we can, all over the world, we need to be teaching them, not just corralling and counting them.
These principles take into account the American way of life and culture. It is sad, but true that most Christians are not very mature in their faith. Over 80% come to church just to sit in the pew—either because they do not have the time to be further involved, or they do not want to be convicted or bothered. In any case, the secondary goal of the Christian life and experience is to grow in maturity and sanctification. This is rarely sought. The first goal should be our salvation and acceptance/election of our soul.
Thus, the primary goals in church growth are the spiritual growth of the congregation, and growing in the Lord. When this is taking place, the numbers usually follow, because people are following the Lord and reaching out.
When I say, immaturity, I am comparing U.S. Christians to the early church, and the people in the world-wide persecuted church. There is a vast difference between Christians suffering in Sudan, in mortal danger, or meeting in tents and basements in Pakistan or India to worship Christ, versus the Christian in the U.S., who complains about the color of the carpet and then is attracted to a charismatic personality, unconcerned about biblical truth.
Because of our immaturity, we have to realize how our culture works and work within it while still being true to the Word. We must also cater to people’s comfort level. If people are not comfortable, they will leave. You do not want people to leave for merely immature reasons. We cannot expect Christians, even those who may be mature, to have the focus and strength of a Christian in the underground church in China. Now, this is not to say that these things are shallow or wrong. They are not; they are facts of life. A genuine, committed Christian may or may not desire to spend all day on a cold floor, or meet in a basement. They may prefer to be in a comfortable room. We must strive to provide a comfortable environment, so that it will be conducive to outreach, since people are drawn to comfort rather than discomfort. (I need to say this, even though it may sound harsh, but keep in mind that I work with and minister to and visit with pastors all over the world for this ministry. There is a big difference in having visited a worship service in a cold, damp basement with members hiding from political authorities in a Middle Eastern county, people willing to risk their lives for the faith, and then coming back to my church here and hearing people complain because the room temperature is five degrees off!)
To use these Growth Principles suggestions, ask yourself, your leadership team, and your people this one question, “What Does a Healthy Church Look like?” Then listen for the feedback. Go though each of these suggestions, find out where you and your church are, and what will it take to implement the suggestions. For further help, read Preparing the Pastor and Church Leadership to Grow! and, A Primer on How to Lead and Manage the Church on our website on the Church Leadership Channels.
Forty-four Proven and Effective Biblical Church Growth Principles that Work!
Ideas to consider: (Romans 12:18; 14:18-19; Ephesians 4:3; Hebrews 12:14)
1. The number one reason for church growth is the preaching ability of the pastor. (Luke 3:1-7)
2. The number one reason why people stop coming to your church is conflict and gossip! (James 3:5-6)
3. The number two reason that people leave a church is poor “people skills” of the pastor or leadership, or because they do not manage the conflicts and gossip! These poor “people skills” will cause the majority of conflicts between that pastor and the people. (Matthew 5:9)
4. The Bible must be taught in such a way that it is real and can be applied to the lives and situations of the people. You are to equip and disciple people, not just in the basics of the faith, but also in how to be Christians in their families, work, and relationships. They must be taught how to be effective Christians, and how to live their lives to His glory! (Psalm 119:9-12)
5. Preach holiness, how to worship, how to deal with sin, how to relate to one another, and how to love one another, while modeling it yourself! Evangelism, stewardship, and discipleship come out of these! As people are transformed, they can be taught and motivated. (Jeremiah 33:6; Romans 7:12; Galatians 3)
6. The best growing churches in the world have solid biblical preaching at their core. These churches do not water down the Gospel so much that one cannot see the lifted cross! They do not overemphasize the seeker and ignore discipleship!
7. Real, heartfelt, God-exalting adoration must be the focus of the worship service. It must never lift up the leaders or be a performance to entertain. It is God who is the audience and we are the people who are to praise and glorify Him! We are still to make our services friendly and innovative, as there is nothing wrong with plays and contemporary themes as long as the service glorifies Christ and is not just a medium for entertaining the people. Remember, the congregation is the performer, the worship team is the leader, and God is the audience! Don’t mix these up! This is where all of the church growth and spiritual growth principles come to their focal point—the reason for discipleship and maturity. All that we do in the church—from faith, fellowship, and outreach to facilities—come to this point and reason: TO WORSHIP CHRIST! (Psalm 138:1-4)
8. You must have a well thought out, empowered vision and mission statement with a clearly defined purpose, and strategies on what God has called you to do and be. It must be real and authentic, and you must be willing to act on it. It is one thing to write it out, but another thing to act it out (see the article on Preparing the Pastor and Church Leadership to Grow)!! (Hebrews 11:1-2)
9. Teach and model passionate spirituality. The Christian life is not meant to be dry and mundane. Even the Puritans were vibrant, just read their writings! Your job is to convince the people in your church to grow beyond just doing their duty to achieve spiritual passion and conviction. (Phil. 3:7-11)
10. The training, discipling, recognition, and encouragement of the church are critical roles for the pastor. If the senior pastor feels he does not have the gifts and abilities to equip and train others to do ministry, then he needs to build a team around him that does! If the training is not done, the church will fail! Some pastors are great teachers, but cannot do anything else. A pastor must operate in his gifted area, and encourage others who will compensate for him in the areas where he is weak. He must always strive to give support and to do the rest of these bullet points! (Romans 7:4-6; 1 Corinthians 10:14-16; 12; Ephesians 4:9-16)
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