Last month I gave you six of the twelve key areas needed for long-term real church growth; below is the final six key areas needed. Growth ceilings are found at different stages of church growth. A healthy growing church must take the necessary steps to stay off the plateaus.
7. Building for Growth and not Maintenance
Three decisions congregations must make to stay off plateaus:
- More building space.
- Additional pastoral staffing.
- A conscious willingness to allow more people into the fellowship than any one person could ever know personally.
This means spending more money, relinquishing control and associating with strangers. Overcrowded space, overloaded pastors and people reluctant to develop new relationships will kill a church faster than anything else.
We must build for the future, not the present. We must build structure, employ pastoral staff, set in programs based on anticipated growth (not actual growth). Programming on the basis of actual growth is to be at least two years behind momentum.
8.The Pursuit of Excellence
The work of God cannot be represented with anything less than the standard to which the culture is accustomed. Poor preaching, music, administration and programs will quench a growing church’s momentum very quickly.
The newcomer’s first impression is lasting and decisive. As a church grows larger, it must have the highest quality giftings available for major services. The mindset that, “everyone ought to have a chance” cannot work in a larger church’s major service setting.
9.Systematic Pulpit Ministry
Long-term real church growth rests heavily on a systematic ministry of preaching that feeds people. This is basically a one man pulpit ministry, not a team effort. The Word preached must be Biblically based, relevant and gracefully confrontational. People need to know how to live, and deal with the pressures of life.
Long-term growth depends upon whether or not the senior minister can preach well enough to feed the inner spirit of the congregation members. People should leave full.
10. Disciplined Membership
The kind of church membership that assumes responsibilities and compels involvement is essential. It tests integrity through interviews, classes and confrontation with the needs of the church. Members should be expected to:
- Be loyal to the major services of the church.
- Be willing to use their giftings when needed.
- Be faithful tithers, and generous in offerings.
- Be positive toward (supporting and encouraging) church leaders.
11. Relational Emphasis
Church warmth supersedes church programs. It begins with the senior pastor and his wife, who must show sincere warmth and honest love for the people. It flows from the top down.
Focus must be on the family structure and meaningful friendships that support people in times of need. Set up special needs counselors for marriage, troubled teens and financial budgeting. No one should feel lost, unneeded or uninvolved.
12. Bold Decisions
“Without faith it is impossible to please God...” (Hebrews 11:6 NKJ).
A climate of faith to make difficult and even risky decisions is essential for long-term real growth. Our decisions cannot be based only on the obvious, and certainly not on the safe, but rather on faith in a great God and His unchanging Word to us. “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it…” (Matthew 16:18 KJV).
We all have the privilege of being co-laborers with Christ to build His church. Bold decisions are made by people, who are not totally sure of the results, but they step forward in faith, and God responds. Long-term real church growth depends on it!
Yours for Bold Decisions and Long-Term, Real Church Growth,
Dr George Hill
Victory Churches International