Posts Tagged churches

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

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

That’s No Way To Act!

By Rev. Rick Robinson

This week on the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly had an atheist as a guest on his show. The atheist claimed the church today has many atheist worshipping in it, they just don’t feel comfortable admitting it. I guess he wanted to encourage atheist to “come out of the closet” and out of their churches. I think the church is full of people that act like atheist much of the time. I am guilty of that sometimes just like you are. We don’t share our faith, we don’t believe God will provide our needs, we don’t spend time in prayer, reading the Bible and having fellowship with God. Neither does the atheistic guest that appeared on O’Reilly this week.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

It has been my experience in talking to atheist; they don’t usually come to be atheist by studying the facts. Genuine hard fact research (not opinion) will lead you to Jesus. The self-proclaimed atheist I have talked to, come to the belief there is no God through a hurt usually inflicted by a church member. Once when I was going door to door sharing Christ, an 83-year-old woman told me she did not believe in God, or heaven or hell, when you are dead it is over. While I talked with her I discovered that when she was a little girl, her parents got a divorce. The church they attended told them they were going to hell and could not be members anymore. At that point this woman decided it was easier to believe there is no heaven or hell, and no loving God, than to believe her parents are in hell. Friends, nobody is going to hell for getting a divorce. It is only possible to get there by not accepting the gift God gave us through Jesus Christ.

You are not all that likely to have a conversation with the rare atheist, but you are very likely to come into contact with another people group, called the un-churched. It is usually much harder to detect if This group of people are saved or not. (That word “saved” means “rescued from certain death.”)

The latest numbers on church attendance reveal that 60% of the people in Florida don’t attend church on a regular basis. (The national un-churched rate is about 58%) Florida is not even in the top ten states where people do go to church on a regular basis. Here are two positive things for the Florida church attendee to think about. First of all, we are not at the top of the bottom of the list. Vermont is the number one state in the U.S. for people who do not go to church with 77% un-churched. The second thing is–six out of ten people you come in contact with in Florida, are prospects for you to invite to church. Don’t proselytize, there are plenty of un-churched people to go around.

I have had a lot of conversations with un-churched people about spiritual and religious things. I also came up with a survey I use to find out how the un-churched are thinking. To the question, “If you were looking for a church to attend, what would you look for?” The number one answer is “Someplace I could feel accepted just like I am.” Now, this could indicate an un-willingness to change a lifestyle, but I think it is something those of us inside the church need to take to heart. I have lived in Florida all my life, and I have never seen workers picking oranges with a baseball bat. When we don’t take the time to talk with people who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are doing just that. It is like fishing with a scaling knife. Trying to clean the fish before you catch them only scares the fish away. Charles Roesel, (the man who led me to Christ) told me something a long time ago that has forever stuck in my mind. He said “Rick, I only catch the fish–I let God clean them.”

Are you guilty, like I am, of acting like an atheist at times? Do you live your life daily like the majority of un-churched, allowing a need to be accepted by the people around you to control your decisions? Are your picking fruit with a baseball bat and fishing with a scaling knife? There should be something very different about us that will speak clearly to the atheist and the un-churched around us. It will speak clearly to those of us inside the church to encourage us all to live the new life we have been given. It is the love of Christ. May it be evident to all that are around us.

Romans 12:9-13

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

http://MyChurchGrowth.com

Comments off

5 Reasons To Use Church Growth Associates

With 20 plus years of church growth experience focused on the Word of God, you will receive a personal partnership with Church Growth Associates, bringing you the results you need with exceptional value.

Experience

Rarely if ever does one factor cause church growth or decline. Church Growth takes place when successful combinations of factors are in place. This combination of factors is called your church growth mix. Church Growth Associates has the experience to help you adjust your church growth mix to be successful. You have probably found many of the hundreds of books we have collected and read on the subject of church growth, but have not been able to transfer the ideas in the books into reality. We have been helping churches of all sizes grow through using the tools and methods we have developed and proven since 1989.

Focus

The best book ever written on church growth is the Bible, and the best consultant is Jesus Christ. In only one sentence, here are four important things Jesus said we should know about church growth.

1. Jesus owns the church

2. Jesus will build the church

3. Satan will fight against the church

4. Jesus will bring victory for the church

Matthew 16:18

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

The main focus of church growth must be centered on Jesus Christ. We will always focus on Biblical solutions for growth above paradigms or experience alone.

Results

Results are always the bottom line when it comes to implementing church growth plans. Churches of all sizes, in large cities and small towns alike have seen results using our services. Rural churches, such as one that had 12 members, but now has over 120 in worship in the small country church. We have helped other churches that were going to give up because they could not afford the rent for their building.

Tell us your story, and let’s discuss how we can get results for you.

Personalized

Church Growth Associates gives you personalized progress and response to get the results you are looking for. The personalized touch doesn’t stop with the analysis and leadership for church growth, but we are also available when you need a friend, or have questions. We have a network of prayer partners that are praying for the churches and people we work with. You can send prayer request 24/7 on our website. You can also e-mail or call with questions at any time. Be part of Rick Robinson’s circle of friends on Facebook, (http://facebook.com/churchgrowth) read devotional thoughts, or follow the restoration of his 1929 Pontiac on the blog. (Life is not all work.)

We know being the wife of a pastor is a demanding call. Ladies can read Victoria Robinson’s daily devotionals on the Girlfriend’s Oasis on our site. There are a lot of free resources available on our website, even if you are not a member of our church growth plan. Get more information about us at http://mychurchgrowth.com

Value

All this ads up to exceptional value for your church. We have onsite Consultations and church growth workshops to choose from. (http://mychurchgrowth.com/onsite) You can save even more of God’s money when you get help through the Internet, using our innovative iConsulltations. (http://mychurchgrowth.com/iconsultations) Every church can afford help using our iConsultation. We also have a scholarship program for qualifying churches.

Call or click and let’s talk about church growth for your church.

813.920.0586

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

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