I am not aware of any church that does not want to grow. Well, perhaps I should modify that statement. I do not know of any pastor that does not want the church to grow. I have discovered many small churches are small because the members prefer to attend a small church for various reasons. And any attempt to grow the church membership and ministry is intentionally or unintentionally sabotaged by those members who prefer to attend a small church.
So, what stops churches from growing? Here are five myths about church growth.
Factually, most churches swell and shrink. But most churches do not show consistent growth, whether measured by membership gain, service attendance, or ministry impact. This is why a church can exist for more than 100 years and not have 100 members attending the services. Most church do not grow. My view is most churches do not grow because they really do not want to grow. They enjoy their cloistered community and prefer it not be disturbed.
This seems logical because it is the church or ministry that is reaching out to the people. But it is really not the case that people join churches or ministries. They join PEOPLE, who attend or are engaged in the church or ministry. The most important factor for whether a person will “stick” in a church or ministry is the depth of the relationships they have with people in the church or ministry. People do not join churches or ministries. They join people.
The primary problem with using professional evangelists is the professional evangelist leaves. People, who have connected with the professional evangelist often leave when the evangelist leaves. This is not to say professional evangelists cannot have a major impact in the growth of a church or ministry. But for the most impact, there must be an intentional and timely transition from the professional evangelist to the one who will remain and pastor the people when the evangelist leaves.
Nearly every church I have ever pastored lamented they did not have enough money until I taught them what the bible says about the subject. The real issue is not about money at all. God provides His people with what they need to fulfill His will. Money is not the issue. It is a lack of focus on retention that prevents growth. The cycle is, guests come, join and become members, and leave. Then, the church or ministry invests evangelism and mission dollars to get more members, who join and leave. The church swells and shrinks but does not grow because of a lack of focus on retention and not a lack of money.
Churches and ministries often find themselves chasing programs to answer the problem of a lack of growth. This has never worked and will never work. Something more is needed. Every church and ministry needs a well thought out infrastructure that supports sustained membership and financial growth.
The Retaining the Harvest System ™ is one infrastructure that works. It is a team approach to involve the greatest number of people in a lifestyle of evangelism within the church or ministry. It is a simple to follow model to achieve the desired result of consistent and sustainable numeric and financial growth. It is a model that is flexible enough to successfully establish in any religious, ethnic, or social context. It is relationship focused rather than event or program focused. It is a proven system that produces desired results.
Most churches do not grow because of shallow relationships, a lack of focus on retention, and most members do no want the church to grow, no matter what they say about growth; so, they sabotage all efforts to grow. The Retaining the Harvest System ™ can help facilitate the changes needed to overcome these issues.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.