If I’m preaching elsewhere on a Sunday I will receive a text message from a staff member at Kings at the end of the day which gives me the numbers of people who attended and the numbers of responses – all this comes in as I drive back. I’m motivated that way. Some of my team think that at my funeral people will say, ‘Well… Steve would have been pleased, you know, because we’ve done the count. There were 415 at the funeral …’
I believe if we’re going to impact a nation we have to be intentional about mission. I live in a big city with 250,000 people in the borough of Lewisham alone, so King’s needs to reach thousands of people. I don’t know many pastors who say ’I want my church to be smaller’ - in the end it’s about having a heart for people - you must prioritise growth and mission right up front and this will impact your Sunday programme.
We know that historically our church grows most in September and January - we have also had times when we’ve grown very fast and the usual trend has gone out of the window. We build what we’re doing on Sundays around that knowledge. We plan quite far ahead and we aim to be Spirit-led too! So in September we have a Vision Sunday and prior to that date a personal letter goes out from me to everyone in the church and also to everyone who’s visited the church in the last 12 months, inviting them to come along for the Vision Sunday. I sign a lot of invitation letters in the run-up to those particular Sundays!
I find there is a need to repeat our vision to the church - time and time again - this is very important because people often just don’t get it first time – or the second! So I keep telling the story and explain why we do what we do, keeping the vision before the people - constantly.