Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Growing a church - Your front door - a door to growth...

If your church size is under 150 the primary way it will grow is through relationship with the senior leadership, particularly the pastor. The best way for you to reach people, and for your church to grow in that situation, is for you – the leader – to have people round to your house.  Guys - that is the best outreach strategy you can follow!  Now, you will also need to run Alpha and provide other things - but the thing that will really make your church grow is you opening your home. Your front door could be the door to growth! Running discipleship groups, gathering young men - these are the ways to grow your church.  Become involved with unbelievers, people making recommitments, new Christians – these are the people I’m talking about.   When I first came to King’s I ran the Alpha course as I wanted to be among those unbelievers. 

When you get to a size of around 150 and above then the way you will grow is likely to be through multiplying ministries. You reach a critical mass where you run a kids’ club or toddler group or something like debt-counselling. You have all those different avenues which get you into pools of different people.  So that’s what you have to do at that phase of growth. 

The last phase is if you get over 500-600.  The bigger you get, then your Sunday meeting (or meetings!) becomes THE growth engine.  People join your church through that front door.  Of course you will need all these other things going on that I have already mentioned – toddler groups, Alpha etc.  At every stage you need to be aware that the impact of church size is massive.  

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Growing a church - Size matters

So if you want your church to grow you’ve got to work and build to momentum moments - these can be a whole range of things. How do you create this? I believe local church-based evangelism is the way. 

A few years back I got into trouble for an article I wrote about para-church organizations. The heart of the article was that we should build missionary churches.  If we are building missionary churches and doing what I believe God has called us to do, then para-church organisations will be less influential.  Fewer resources (money and people) would go to them because we are fulfilling what God has called His church to do.  Because I believe in the local church the article was actually more of a challenge to the church than a comment on para-church organisations. The church is the best way to reach people, to disciple them and see them come through and integrated into the body of Christ. 

A comment on church size here. If you don’t factor in an awareness of the impact and influence of your church’s size then you can attend conferences on church growth and either go away really disappointed at the end of it or you can misapply to your situation the exhortations you have heard. So, the size of your church will determine the best way for it to grow and be effective.  You may have heard an exhortation to preach the gospel on Sundays.  You may build it into a guest service programme - but then the exhortation comes to do so every week. Added to which you hear someone like me tell you that we see people respond practically every week when we preach the gospel.   

The difference is often the size of the church. Some of you know the name of every single person in your meeting and you will know as you preach that there is no unbeliever in the room - or perhaps there’s just one person. How you implement such an exhortation will depend on your church size and on your understanding of the impact that will have. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Growing a church - Behind every 1, another 10...

We have at King’s a good friend in Steve Nicholson, a leader in the Vineyard movement in the US.  Years ago he said to me, “Behind every 1 person there are another 10” and that would be our testimony.  Time and time again we find that one person comes through and gets saved.  One person comes in and gets restored in God and recommits to Christ.  One person moves into the area.  One person is worshipping God in another part of London and then starts coming here instead.  Behind each of them are another 10 people – family, friends, work colleagues. 

Each Sunday we look for new people to step towards us – that’s what I pray for every Sunday morning. At the end of each Sunday I know how many ‘Like to Know More’ forms have been given in that day.   And I know that my church will grow by 10% in a year if I have five people step towards us in this way every week - because we’ve done it so long now we know that’s the trend.  That in turn becomes 250 people through the year. Nine forms given in – a very good Sunday,  so if the following week there are only two, it’s OK because there were nine last week. 

We have a process behind the ‘Like To Know More’ forms because of the current size of our church. In a smaller church you can spot any new people there.  In that situation I would strongly encourage you – engage with them as soon as you can! Talk to them before the beginning of the meeting! 

At King’s we have a break in the middle of our meeting so we can talk to new people and then at the end of the meeting we talk to new people again.  I never talk to established attenders in the church on Sundays.  In fact, after about 10 minutes normally I feel a bit lonely and lost because the church is so well educated not to talk to me because they know I don’t want to talk to them – I’m looking for the new people.  Most of you are pastors, so your tendency can be to be immersed in the existing people and talk to them.  Fight that tendency! 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Growing a church - Momentum moments

John Maxwell says that the power of momentum makes an average leader look good and that the lack of momentum makes a good leader look average.  Such is the power of momentum - leaders will know what I’m talking about.  If you can get some momentum it makes things much easier for you in fuelling change management within the church. An example…

A couple of years ago we needed to further extend our Catford site – we were looking at raising £100,000.  We had gone to two meetings on Sunday morning and were talking about bringing in a third meeting. Despite the fact that we had already gone to two meetings, we had space issues for our children’s work.  We needed the extension to accommodate the kids - everyone recognised that and said, ‘Fine!’  We had to raise another offering and momentum made it easy to lead in that situation.  So, as a leader I crave and pray for momentum moments. 

When we started out at King’s we could provide a momentum moment maybe once a term - there was so much to do in the church here. At first there were no elders, when it rained the water came in, I was new and didn’t know much, had young children and was exhausted and we could just about muster a momentum moment about once a term.  As you gain momentum and resources increase you can get such a moment perhaps twice a term. Now it feels like sometimes every Sunday is such a moment.