Posts Tagged church growth consultant

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

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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

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