By now you’ve probably heard most of the statistics on church growth: the 200 barrier, the failure rate of church plants, etc. And while the statistics might get overplayed sometimes, they’re there for a reason … growing a church is hard work!
But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You likely spend much of your mental, physical, and emotional energy trying to figure out how to connect people to your church and invest in the people who are already there. We talk to pastors about this regularly and we hear at least two common sentiments almost every time:
1) They’re mentally and emotionally exhausted from the constant desire to create something greater in their ministry. Deep down, perhaps what they won’t express is the feeling that “it’s just not going to happen for me.”
2) Growing a church shouldn’t be this hard.
Kevin Lloyd is now the Executive Pastor at Stevens Creek Church, but it wasn’t always that way. He’s done church planting, kids ministry, and much more. When he showed up at Stevens Creek, he targeted 3 areas that needed to be addressed in order for the church to continue growing, and more importantly, growing in a healthy way.
1 & 2: Culture & Staff
For Kevin, it all starts with culture, because “if you plant good seed in bad soil, it’s not going to grow,” he says. This may mean that the way things have been isn’t the way things are going to be moving forward. As a leader, this means having the hard conversations to set new expectations.
“You know, it seems like every church in America runs two hundred people, and a lot of times, these things are why,” Lloyd says. “Any time you get to a growth barrier and stall, this is why, because you’re talking to people that you’ve done life with, done ministry with, and you’re having to be honest and own the fact that they’re going to go with you, but they’re probably not going to go with you in the way that they’ve been with you thus far.”
Lloyd says systems are the next area on which to hone in your focus. You have to be willing to take an honest assessment of how you do things and what the return you get from them is.
Our initial vision here might be overhauling things and implementing new goals, processes, etc. While there will be some changes, Lloyd points out that it’s often simply finding something that’s important and that works and repeating that structure as long as you’re having success.
He gives the example of small groups. They don’t have an extremely complex system at his church. But they focus in on the details and repeat their process in a way that has made it extremely successful. As a result, they’ve seen successive growth each year.
At One Big Church, we help churches implement a process to clarify their vision so they can rally their staff, culture, and systems around it. When your church core is united on a simple, clear, and compelling message, growth almost always happens. Register your church now for free!