Archive for Church Growth

How to figure your church growth rate

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Growth rates are an important part of the diagnostic tools we have in our church growth toolbox. Part of developing your church growth strategies will be understanding growth rates.

First let me clarify what numerical growth is. These numbers we count are much more than statistics. Each one has a name and God knows them, loves them, and desires to have a relationship with them. Trying to separate evangelism and discipleship is like trying to slice a quarter in half so you will have 50 cents. You do not. We must reach people for Jesus, but also assimilate them into a loving church and disciple them. These numbers are only a tool to keep us on track, as a physician would use a thermometer and his other instruments to diagnose a patient.

Each church is either growing, on a plateau, or declining. Eighty percent of the churches in America are not growing in fact eight churches a day close in the United States and Canada. When we do a consultation we look at the AGR (Annual Growth Rate) AAGR (Average Annual Growth Rate) and DGR (Decade Growth Rate).

Before I show you how to figure your growth rate, let me explain what we are looking for. In church growth terms, a church is not growing unless it increases by five percent a year. On the other side, a church is not in a decline unless it is losing five percent a year. Everything in that ten percent window (five percent plus–and five percent minus) is considered a plateau. Most of the churches that have partnered with us and have a membership to our associate services are growing at twenty percent. The smaller a church is, the easier it is for that number to be higher. It is not unusual for us to be able to double many of the churches that have 50 or less in worship in twelve months time. My home church, Idlewild Baptist Church, here in Tampa, has around 7500 in worship. Growing five percent is a lot more work. You get the idea, and have a few thoughts already about your own church.

Now let’s look at these church growth tools and get started on the path to new church growth ideas, with old church growth principles. The Annual Growth Rate (AGR) Not to insult your intelligence, is used to tell us how much numerical growth has occurred from one year to the next, and what the trend will most likely be, if no changes are made.

At Church growth Associates, we have weekly tracking and accountability for the churches we partner with, when it comes to worship attendance. We want to make adjustments as needed and not wait until the end of the year to figure out what went wrong (or right). In my examples I use attendance, so it can’t be said we have more members than there are people. Church membership is important, but attendance is a great measure of our effectiveness. You can use members for your calculations if you like, use any criterion you desire, just keep consistent with the formula from year to year.

1. Subtract the earlier year’s average attendance, from the later year’s average attendance.
2. Divide the answer you get by the earlier year.
3. Multiply the answer you get by 100 to change the decimal to percent.
4. The answer is your AGR.

Let’s give an illustration of this example. Gracious Church had an average attendance of 125 last year. This year Gracious Church had an average of 180 in attendance.

This year    180
Last year  – 125
Increase      55

An increase of 55 in worship, divided by the earlier year average (125) is .44 times 100 (to convert to percent). The AGR for Gracious Church is 44% this year.

Now go back for the last ten years, and get the AGR for each one. This will give you a look at the trend your church is on, and where it most likely will be in ten years if no changes are made.

If you don’t have Microsoft Office or PowerPoint, you will find a link to the open source alternative, Open Office in our library you can own at no charge. This will help you to see a graph of your progress.

You can use the same formula as above to find your DGR if you desire, but I recommend working with the numbers from the past ten years. We use older history only when there are more questions that need to be answered. Ten years is sufficient in most cases.

You are invited to check out the vast resources for church growth on our main website. Here are just a few.

Church Experience Project

The Un-churched by State

Adding Another Worship Service

Check out our Library

If you would like to see if Church Growth Associates could help you with your strategies for church growth, tell us your story, maybe we can help.

Rick Robinson

 

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

How much space do I need?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Church Growth and Sunday School Space may go together more than you think. One question often asked is how much space is needed when planning a Sunday School? The needs of a church will vary according to size, and age distribution. In an average church the babies and toddlers may amount to three percent, while your church may have a greater number or even none at all. The space needed for a Sunday School will vary, but here is guide you can use when planning your small groups. This guideline is a strategy for church growth, you can get by with less if you have too, but if you sacrifice these ratios you may effect attendance and future church growth.

Age Group    Square Feet / Person
Babies -Kindergarten    30-35
Primary – Middle School    25-30
High School    20-25
Adults    10-15

To maximize the utility you get from existing buildings, you may need to do some measuring. I have a digital tape measure I use for such a project. You can purchase one at Lowes; they are relatively inexpensive and can save a lot of time. I have seen rooms that have not been used for a while with things stacked up in them, and this tool will avoid your having to move things around or climb over them, since it just pings off the wall. You can also work alone if you have this tool, and many pastors don’t always have someone available to help.

Once you figure the square footage of the rooms you will have available; you can use the guidelines provided to see how many people can be accommodated in each room.

Determine the ministry God wants you to do, then adopt your resources to that mission. If you are a church that operates a school during the week in your facilities, I suggest you don’t force your members, and particularly your guest, to sit in your small groups using a school desk. Get creative; get some comfortable adult accommodating chairs in those rooms even if it means more set up and take down time.

Rarely if ever can any one factor be the cause for the growth or decline of a church. It requires a combination of factors to develop a growing church. This combination of factors is called the “growth mix”. Every church has a growth mix, be it a poor one that causes decline or a good one that causes growth. When our church growth consultants diagnose a church to discover the growth mix, we use church growth ratios and principles as a guideline. When it comes to small groups and church growth, keep the following church growth principles in mind.

Every small group, including Sunday School, will eventually close itself off. This is called saturation. Saturation can be caused by many variables, but the most powerful influence is time itself. For this reason, one of the most powerful strategies we have for growth of the Sunday School, or other small group, is creating new units, or classes on a regular basis. Twenty percent of your small groups should have been started in the last two years.

Reclaiming wasted space, freshening up rooms and the environment presented by the condition and cleanliness of the rooms and properly allocating space can be a boost for Sunday School and church growth. The bottom line will be better assimilation of people into a caring church fellowship.

Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant with Church Growth Associates.

If you would like help with strategies for church growth, click here. One of our church growth consultants will call you with no obligation to see if we can help you grow your church.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.
http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

The Church Visitor Welcome Scale

By Rev. Rick Robinson

What happens to a church visitor (perhaps you call them guest or newcomers) when they attend your church for the first time? Most people don’t think about that question very often, they just assume a newcomer will feel like they fit in with the crowd.

I want to give you a church growth tool we use at Church Growth Associates to help bring a newcomer into the assimilation process of your church. When we do either an iConsultation or an onsite consultation, we use ratios and factors to diagnose your church and find out where your growth mix is. When it comes to church growth, Jesus made it clear that we are to be about the great commission. We cannot sit around and expect new people to show up in the volume it will take to achieve biblical growth.

Matthew 28:19-20
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

It is impossible to grow a church without new people, making church visitors the lifeline for the future. Keep in mind this simple church growth principle; no visitors–no growth. Twenty five percent of first all time visitors should become active members of a church within a year, while seventy five percent of second time visitors should become members within a year. We must give honest evaluation as to how newcomers are treated when they attend.

Colossians 4:5
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.

One of the tools you can use to help keep people coming back is the visitor welcome scale. There are six actions on this scale, each given a point value. The greater influence the action has on the church visitor, the higher the point value, with a total of 3320 possible points for completing all six actions. Below are the six actions with the point values listed.

1. A smile from someone. This has been assigned a 10-point value. This is so simple everyone should be doing it already.

2. A greeting from someone nearby. This also has a value of 10 points. Most of the churches in American would not score more than the first twenty points. If there were no official “greeting time” in the service, many would not even get this far.

3. Exchange of names. This carries a 100-point value. We start building more of an assimilation environment when we become more personal. Your guest must perceive this is the church where they can make friends and fit in. Remember that if a person does not make seven friends the first year, they probably won’t be there the second year.

4. An invitation to return. This is worth 200 points. You can also invite them to other church events and activities. Doing this at the end of the service will make the introduction time you spent with them more sincere, since you did not run away to talk with your friends when church was over. Instead, apply the next action.

5. Introduction to another member. This is a 1000 point action. The newcomer is going to begin seeing this church is a place they will fit in quickly and call their church home.

6. Introduction to the pastor. This is the highest point value on the scale at 2000 points. Some pastors stand at the exit of the church and greet people on the way out; you may have other ways to interact with people. At my home church, Idlewild Baptist Church, here in Tampa, Pastor Ken Whitten has a “Pastor on the veranda” time after each service on Sunday morning. This is a time where volunteer deacons and their wives meet and greet new visitors on the veranda, give them an informational DVD about the ministries of the church and introduce them to the pastor.

All of these actions combined will give you a total of 3320 points. Let me ask you how many points did you earn last Sunday? How many are you going to earn this Lord’s day? When you use this simple tool, you will set the newcomer on the assimilation path to a meaningful and productive church experience. To learn more about church growth ideas and strategies be sure to visit the iLibrary on our website at http://MyChurchGrowth.com/library and our PowerPoint central (members only area) for additional helpful church growth tools.

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

 

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Comments off

Hidden Signs

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Are you looking for simple church growth ideas that will be worth your time? Part of your church growth strategy should be an evaluation of hidden signs. What is a hidden sign? Most people would answer that perhaps by describing a sign that is hidden by the over growth of a bush. Yes, that is a hidden sign all right, but in church growth terms there are other types of hidden signs. A hidden sign is what we are communicating to others without trying or thinking about it. That is the problem with hidden signs, we don’t think about them.

A church I worked with a while back had one of those molded plastic lighted signs out front that someone had thrown a rock through. I asked, “What does the sign out front say?” Someone responded, “It says we are closed!” They got the point. The sign was in plain view, but yet it was a hidden sign. What does the sign say when a first time visitor arrives to worship only to find no designated parking for your guest? Designated guest parking area signs send the message, “You are welcome here, we were expecting you!” No designated parking communicates, “We found our parking, you find yours!” What does no handicap access to your church communicate to those with special needs? Is there an accessible ramp and reserved parking areas? Do you have signs placed around your church to show newcomers how to find the restrooms, pastors’ office and other important areas that may make them feel like a part of your church instead of an outsider? Is your facility clean and well kept? It doesn’t have to be modern or fancy, Just clean and organized.

Paul wrote about being wise when it comes to outsiders, and in his instructions to Timothy about selecting deacons, he gives a qualification that our church should uphold.

 

Colossians 4:5

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.


1 Timothy 3:7

He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

 

Are you making the most of every opportunity? Look around your church and see how many hidden signs you find.  Many of the hidden signs you will find can be taken care of for little or no cost. This church growth idea will be an investment in your ministry to newcomers and the attitude of your congregation that will be well worth the time, effort, and money.

We can help you with church growth no matter what size your church is now. Click here to have one of our church growth consultants call you to see if we can help your church grow.

Check out some of our other free resources in our library.

See how we can help you with an iConsultation or an Onsite Consultation.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

A Cross Carrying Church

The purpose of these summaries is to inspire church growth ideas and encourage others to look at how they do church, not to criticize or exalt any church. For this reason, the church name is always omitted from the summary, but they are all true stories. When we do church growth consultations, we use what we call a “Visitor Welcome Scale” to rate the church with a value of up to 3320 points. While most churches in the United States would score 20 points or less, this church scored 320 points on our scale. Churches that use our iConsultation services, or our Onsite Consultation service, benefit by learning to become a 3320 point visitor welcome church.

Rick Robinson
Church Growth Associates

A “Candid Look” at church 3115

How do those around us view our church? Are you known as the church that sells the Christmas trees or pumpkins every year? Almost every city has a church that does that. I am not criticizing anyone for raising money by selling trees that is between you and God. Wouldn’t Christ want us to be known as the church that reaches into the community meeting needs? A place the community can find people who care when they need help. More importantly, how do they view us as members?

This “Candid Look” is about a church that starts each Sunday morning off with a fellowship breakfast. We did not attend the breakfast because that would give the members an opportunity to find out who we are. Our visit is to be done in the main worship service where most first time visitors will attend your church.

The worship service was a blend of contemporary praise and hymns along with the traditional worship culture. One thing that really impressed me, was the way the pastor brought along the visitors with an explanation of what was taking place. People do not want to feel like outsiders, they want to know they can make friends here.

At a certain place during the service the pastor asked an interesting question, “Who has carried the cross this week?” Two members stood up, each holding a wooden cross about six inches tall. The pastor explained that one way they share faith in Christ, is for members to carry the wooden cross in visible sight during the week. Not in a pocket or a purse, but right out in the open, praying for someone to ask, “Why are you carrying that cross around with you everywhere?” As I listened to the moving testimonies of how the week went for each person who carried the cross, I saw the Lord had used this tool to allow for conversation about Christ and the church. Next on the agenda, was finding members willing to carry the cross during the upcoming week. As the pastor asked, “Who will carry the cross during the upcoming week?” I am moved almost to tears, as people across the sanctuary stand raising their hands, so excited about the opportunity and not ashamed or frightened. One lady who had the cross in her hand pleaded for the opportunity to carry the cross yet another week. The pastor asked a man selected to carry the cross, “Will that be okay for you to wait another week?” I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! How many churches would respond that way? How would I respond if I were a member here? I’m now thinking, wow, this is great!

The message the pastor delivered that Sunday was down to earth and relevant to today’s living, but the message I received from the congregation was one I will never forget. The excitement and attitude of these people, who would some three months later attend our workshop, was refreshing.

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Loose Pews & Parked Cars

The pastors I talk with don’t often get a chance to experience what a worship service in another church is like. Sometimes they don’t even think about what the worship service in their own church is like. I am not talking about the content of the message, but what does a visitor experience? We want to inspire you with church growth ideas that will help you with your church growth strategies.

I want to share some of the “Candid Look” articles that have been published in our “Attitudes!” magazine from Church Growth Associates. These reports are all written by one of our associates that made the “Candid Look” visit to the church. The name of the church is never published, but they are all true stories. We have a simple visitor welcome scale we use to evaluate, with a possible total score of 3320 points. Most churches in the United States would score 20 points or less on our scale. Such is the case of the church in this story. Churches that use our iConsultation, or our Onsite Consultation service, benefit by learning to become a 3320 point visitor welcome church.

Rick Robinson
Church Growth Associates

A “Candid Look” at church 2363

What do visitors see when they attend your church? If you are anything like I used to be, that question never really enters your mind. I know I never really thought about what a visitor went through, at least not until I had the opportunity to work for Church Growth Associates. One of my responsibilities is to pose as a church visitor, as part of the consultation process. Let me tell you about my first assignment as a “visitor”. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

I left that Sunday morning in plenty of time to find the church I had never seen before. I knew the general location of the church and figured I could stop and ask directions when I got in the vicinity of it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The first place I stopped was a small gas station. There were two people working and neither one of them had a clue as to the location of my destination. My second stop was a food store and gas station combined. One of the ladies that worked there told me where she thought it was. I looked, it wasn’t there. I began to think I wouldn’t even find the church, at least in time to attend services that morning. As I was driving back to where I thought the church was I noticed a sign just off the side of the road and partially blocked by some trees. I could not read that side of the sign because it had a big hole in it. Once I got passed the sign I was able to look back and see that it was indeed the sign of my elusive church. By the way the two places that I stopped and asked directions; one of them was two blocks away and the other, one block away.

I drove up to the church and looked for a place to park. I didn’t see one at first. I did see other cars parked on the grass beside the church, but I couldn’t tell how they got there. I didn’t see a driveway. It ended up that I had to drive completely around the block and attempt my landing once more. This time I got lucky, I got behind someone that was going to the same place I was. I watched as my fellow church go-er drove onto the grass, around two trees, and parked beside and partially behind another car. “I can do that,” I said to myself, so I pulled my car onto the grass, around the trees, and to my amazement I was blocked. My fellow church go-er had not pulled up far enough. I guess he did that so he could be the first one out, because he made sure nobody else was going to come in that way.

Well believe it or not after my ordeal with finding a parking spot I still had enough time to freshen up before the service started. I began to look for a sign that would point me in the direction of a restroom but to no avail. I finally asked someone where it was and they pointed to a small black and white “Restroom” sign hanging from the roof of the walkway. Obviously a sign that only a church member would know was there. Anyway, I splashed water on my face and reached for a towel and, guess what? You guessed it, No towels! “You’ve got to be kidding,” I said to myself. I walked out shaking my hands trying to get them dry case I would have to shake someone’s hand.

I make it to the front doors of the church about 5 minutes before services started. I walked in and noticed about 8 men standing around talking. I was handed a bulletin and greeted with a simple “Good morning.” I sat down on the right side about 6 pews from the back. At that time there was no one sitting behind me and a lady and child sitting two pews in front of me. The service started on time, and for a while I was enjoying myself. Then came time to welcome the visitors. “Ok,” I thought to myself, “Lets see just how friendly these people are,” besides, that was one of the reasons I was there. Exactly 3 people greeted me. The lady that was sitting two pews in front of me leaned over and stuck out her hand. What was I to do? I leaned over my pew to take her hand, all the while holding on to my pew hoping not to fall. Little did I know my pew was not bolted to the floor. No, I didn’t fall but it was close. The other two people that shook my hand greeted me with a “Good morning” and that was it.

When the service ended I made it to my car with no “trouble”. What I mean is, no one stopped me to introduce himself or herself or invite me back. No one except the Pastor. You know how they all stand at the door after the service in order to see everyone on their way out. He was the only one to ask my name, give his name, and invite me back.

Now let me ask you again, What do visitors see when they visit your church? One of the purposes of this magazine is to help churches grow. I hope this true story has raised in you, some questions about what visitors go through when they visit your church. Maybe more important, what we as Pastors or lay people can do to make that visit a little more pleasant. Next time you encounter guests at your church remember – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

 

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Comments off

Basic Principles in Recruiting Workers

By Rick Robinson

Strong leadership is essential for church growth. I have seen far too many churches, where a pulse and a Bible can get you a volunteer position. If you don’t have a Bible they will get you one, but the pulse is not negotiable. If this is somewhat how you have been recruiting workers, you are building a foundation for disaster. When you are working on your church growth strategies, do not be afraid to expect commitment and to set a standard of expectation for leadership. Remember these simple instructions from Paul to pastors about leadership.

2 Timothy 2:1-2

You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.

Titus 2:1-3

You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine. Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance. Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.

Building your leadership may start slow, but God will grow your church when you are being obedient to the instructions outlined in His word. You cannot expect God to bless something He has not established. When building your leadership, keep in mind this simple church growth principle; churches tend to grow in homogeneous units. That is, churches attract people that are most like the leadership you have in place. When you put weak leadership in front of the congregation, it communicates something contrary to God’s word. You send a message of how easy it is to become a leader, and there is a low standard of expectation. This will attract people who do not like commitment, and it will repel people who believe God has a standard of expectation to become a leader. If you want to attract qualified leaders, set this standard in place and watch how God begins bringing qualified leaders into your church. If you don’t have anyone qualified, then do not go back to the “pulse and a Bible” standard. God will begin sending the workers He wants you to have so you can get things done, but you must have a high level of commitment also.

I want to give you five simple things that are needed for enlistment of workers into any ministry area in your church.

 

  • Workers should be given a job description. Workers must understand what is expected of them. Don’t be afraid of frightening potential workers off with the word “commitment”. Workers without commitment will only cause more work for you, and give poor testimony of what a leader in your church is.
  • Workers must be provided with appropriate training.Some workers God brings into the church will know exactly what to do. God has their heart and has given them experience. Don’t assume they know what to do in your church. When I became a deacon in my home church, (Idlewild Baptist Church) I had been ordained as a deacon for almost thirty years and had been an ordained minister for almost twenty years. I still was asked to take training classes to be involved. That excited me, because I was thrilled to be a part of a church with a high standard for leadership. I don’t want to go into spiritual combat with deacon brothers that only have a pulse and a Bible.
  • Workers should be given a name of someone to go to for support. Even if getting started means you are the only one to come to for help, people need to know what to do when they have questions or need help. Don’t throw them to the wolves.
  • Workers should be given a date the responsibility will end. Workers burn out when they feel they have an eternal job. When the last feelings they had of ministry work is how bad they felt when they quit; you will find it difficult to recruit them in the future. I always recruit workers from January to December. If someone in November, I still re-enlist him or her for the next year starting in January. This can protect you in the event that if you have a worker misplaced; that is they cannot do the job effectively, it is easier to replace them at the end of the year without hard feelings. You can then place them where God has called them to serve.
  • Workers must have an understanding why the role is important. No ministry can be successful when it is viewed as busy work, or non-essential. If it is important enough to ask people to commit to, then we should be responsible enough to tell them why.

Follow these basic church growth ideas as principles in recruiting your workers, and see how God begins bringing the work force into your church.

Matthew 9:37

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.

 

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth strategies and evangelism ideas.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Copyright 2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

From the iLibrary at http://www.MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

Adding A Worship Service

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Adding an additional Worship Service may not be “The Final Frontier”, but it may be a place where no man in your congregation has gone before. This material is designed to help you understand the effects of what some may consider a radical change. No consultant should presume to tell you when to add a service, God’s wisdom overrules mans wisdom, experience and statistics. I want to help inform you about this process because facts can be a great tool, but you must get your direction from God. There are many reasons to consider an additional worship service, but the motive must be reaching out to a greater number of people, that is what God blesses.

Many churches decide to add an additional service because they are out of space. When it comes to space, if your church is eighty percent filled during worship, an additional service will likely help you reach more people for Christ. Some consultants believe you should have about fifty people, before adding a service will work. I have seen a church with less than twenty people start a second service and now they have well over one hundred people in worship. The decision was made first to reach more people for Jesus. They prayed for God to work through them, and added the early service in advance as an act of faith. Now, they are praying about a third service. Don’t let your numbers be the final answer for action.

Some consultants think the traditional church is too ineffective to revive. The statistics they use as proof do not say, “quit” to me, they just reveal we need a renewal of God in our hearts. It is our hearts that need change more than our traditions. During our consultation process we use a tool we call “Thoughts & Perceptions” surveys. These surveys include questions that refer to adding an additional service. This gives us a good idea what type of receptivity there would be to the concept while we are discovering your growth mix. We ask these questions because you may want to use an additional service as part of a new growth strategy even if you are not out of space. There are many variables in your growth mix that contribute to the growth of your church, adding a service is only one idea.

If you do want to add a new style of worship service to reach more people, I have this advice. Separating evangelism and discipleship is like slicing a quarter and thinking you have fifty cents. You do not. Jesus told us to go make disciples.

Matthew 28:19-20

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus said “go” here, not that we should just expect them to “come” to us. He also said we are to teach them, not simply make them feel comfortable with how they live just now. Think outside the box without forgetting what’s inside the box. It’s all about making disciples, not just gaining converts.

If adding a second worship service is expected to increase attendance by fifteen percent in the average church, does it make sense that the devil will want to fight such a significant decision? Each church will have a different set of objections that will present themselves to confront any change. Some of the most common objections to adding an additional worship service are:

That idea will never work here.

We can’t get enough workers for one service.

We still have plenty of seats in the sanctuary except on holidays.

Two services will split the congregation.

Many of our leaders, “big givers” or most of the congregation will oppose the idea.

There won’t be enough people in the early service to make it worthwhile.

The cost of heat/air and lighting will put us over budget.

Most churches do not have enough people that feel this way to stop the excitement of reaching new people. I have found the biggest barrier to adding an additional service is the pastor and staff willingness to commit to the additional time required. This is a big decision and should not be taken lightly. Adding a second worship service can be advantageous for many reasons:

It is an opportunity to have multiple worship styles to appeal to more people. (Remember what’s in the box!)

It can free up valuable space to make room for new people.

It will create more jobs and thus combat “spiritual unemployment”.

It is more cost effective than remodeling, relocating or building a new worship facility.

This goes back to the heart of your people. Our iConsultation will help you discover and deal with emotional and spiritual barriers effectively. Church Growth Associates can help you grow your church with a clarified vision and hope for the future.

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

The Simplicity of Writing a Mission Purpose Statement

Rev. Rick Robinson

Matthew 28:18-20

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The mission purpose statement of a church is a very important part of your church growth mix. One of the reasons people drop out of church is from a lack of affinity. When people don’t know what the purpose of the church is, it will lead to confusion, fragmentation, and disappointment. This lack of affinity goes virtually undetected and cost the church unknown times in members, because it is often an overlooked part of the growth mix.

Philippians 2:1-2

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.

So what is a mission purpose statement? Before making church growth plans for the future we must have an understanding of where God wants us to go. The direction God wants us to go, is our mission purpose statement. Isn’t that a simple enough concept? Don’t get the mission purpose statement and the plan or church growth strategies of accomplishing your mission confused. This is where most churches go wrong, and why most mission purpose statements are of no use. Your mission purpose statement is a very important part of your church growth mix, since it is the anchor of what you do. All your church growth ideas and strategies will be based on that mission.

In my home church, Idlewild Baptist Church, we have four words that explain our mission. This is the best example I can give you, and I didn’t write it. (I wish I had.)

The four words are:

  • Attract
  • Connect
  • Grow
  • Serve

 

Wow! What more do you need to communicate your purpose as a church. Not only is it simple and easy to remember, it is also in order of a continuous cycle. Notice how short and simple this example is. How does it compare to others you have seen or heard?

You may be asking if the mission purpose statement is really that important. Would you buy property, build a factory, and hire a thousand workers without telling them what they were to build? Keep in mind, telling the factory workers what they are to build and how they are to build it, is two different things. In the same way, we cannot expect to mobilize a church by letting everyone presume what our joint purpose is.

I want to share this story that was first published about fourteen years ago in one of our church growth newsletters. In my daily travels I am in hundreds of churches each year for various reasons. During the week I was gathering notes to write “How To Write A Mission Purpose Statement”, the Lord gave me an interesting experience. As I entered one church office, the secretary asked me to wait a moment while she answered the phone. I could not help but hear the answers given promptly by the secretary to the obvious prospective visitor on the other end of the line. The time of worship, the location of the church, the style of worship, and the mission purpose statement. Yes, they asked the mission purpose statement of the church. The secretary answered all the questions with enthusiasm, even that last one about the mission purpose statement.

I wondered how many secretaries, receptionist, even ministerial staff around the country would have been able to answer that question? Could your staff answer that question? How many of your members could answer that question? Could you even answer that question?

I felt as though God had put me there in that church at that very time to hear this conversation. It was a great experience, although I have opportunity to see many mission purpose statements throughout the year. Some are very good, and others, an attorney and an insurance agent together would have trouble reading those documents. (No offense to you professionals!)

Sometime last year as I worshipped in a Wednesday evening church service with excess of 1,000 in attendance, the pastor did something I had never seen before. He took some money out of his wallet, held it up and said, “If anyone can quote the mission purpose statement, I will give this to you.” The response would have made an extremely boring episode of the game show, Jeopardy. This church has published the mission purpose statement on every bulletin, so it is available to all members and guests. The “winner” of the pastor’s money was only “close enough” to the idea of the mission purpose statement.

Why could so many people not respond? In my estimation the mission purpose statement of that church is too long. In writing a mission purpose statement, don’t make it difficult to remember. Don’t use reams of paper, just keep it short and simple. You don’t want to confuse your mission with your technique or tactics.

How does a church get started? The first thing I would suggest is preaching sermons dealing with the subject. This will prepare the church for the process. A scriptural basis, is a must. There are resources available to help with this important task. One resource is the workbook, “Planning For The Next Five Years In A Southern Baptist Church”. If your not a Southern Baptist like I am, it will still be a useful resource, but this article may well be enough to help you.

Next, prepare a tentative mission purpose statement. You may be using a long range planning committee to do this depending on how your church is structured. If a committee of sorts will be preparing the statement, each member of that committee should write their own statement to be reviewed and edited later in the group.

Here are some suggestions for editing the statement:

  • Does your statement match the mandate of Jesus Christ?
  • Be certain the wording is simple.
  • Will this statement communicate clearly the direction the church will take in the future?
  • Is the statement brief enough for the average church
  • Be certain the statement defines the direction God wants the church to go and not the methods to be used to get there.

 

Once the process is complete, more ownership should be generated through circulating the statement to deacons, church counsel, and other groups. Discuss with them the tentative statement.

We have a great statement, now what? You are ready to present the mission statement to the church for adoption. Once approved, publish it on everything possible. Above all, use it to determine actions the church will participate in. If the action does not work toward accomplishing the mission, then it should not be considered as an official activity of the church. Imagine every activity of the church working toward your mission. Would your church become less like a club house and become a more powerful force in your community? The answer is yes!

I pray this lesson will help you to understand the mission purpose statement and bring a confidence to tackle the task of revising or writing a mission purpose statement for the first time. You can use it as a guideline, adjusting the details to fit your church environment. Following these simple guidelines, you will be able to lead your church in creating an effective and useful mission purpose statement.

To see if Church Growth Associates can help your church, click here;  Can Church Growth Associates help my church? A consultant will contact you to hear your story.

Rev. Rick Robinson is a church growth consultant helping churches of all sizes with church growth and evangelism strategies. Check out our iconsultations and Onsite Consultations   http://MyChurchGrowth.com

 

From the iLibrary of MyChurchGowth.com

copyright ©1996, ©2010 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

Where the complexity of church growth intersects with the simplicity of the gospel

Comments off