What Keeps Churches From Growing?
Growing a flower or any kind of plant seems simple enough. A daily splash of water, a healthy dose of sunlight, maybe an occasional helping of plant food, and nature just takes over. Plants can grow with minimal effort, or out in the wild with no help at all.
Growing a church is a little bit more complicated than growing a plant. To get a church to bloom requires more finesse, more nurturing. If nature is left to run its course, a church could slowly wither away and die. Any organization, Christian, Jewish or secular that refuses to grow runs the risk of extinction. As a leader of the church, you have to provide some kind of spiritual and physical nurturing to maintain constant growth. Do you want to grow your church, or maybe erect a new metal church building? If you identify with some of these points, it might be a good time to reevaluate your current situation.
Not challenging enough
Church isn’t just for Sunday anymore. You preach that God is present in your life each and every day, and now it’s time to prove it. Offer youth groups for kids, and Bible classes for adults. Organize men and women’s group ministries. Challenge the status quo, and your congregation. Keep them active all days of the week by ministering to the community with hospice/hospital visits, or opportunities to donate to a food bank and show God’s goodwill instead of just preaching about it. At the very least, give your congregation ‘homework.’ Don’t let them off the hook by just showing up, tuning in and tuning out after the service. Find a way to interact and break through to your audience. A stagnant congregation is a failing congregation.
Location is counter productive
Is it difficult to get to your place of worship? In fact, what do you do about a bad location? Changing a location can be one of the hardest or most controversial decisions a pastor can make. Why? The whole congregation has to be on board with a move. If you’re in a bad location, or in a rough part of town, consider expanding to a new metal church building in a different part of the city.
Leadership gives up
If a congregation doesn’t want a move, believe me, they’ll be sure to let you know about it. You’re put in a tough position because you don’t want to lose members, but you also are trying to expand your horizons and draw more people into your church family. In this situation, the biggest obstacle is you. Churches don’t grow because the leadership backs down when they meet resistance. You don’t have to give people a sales pitch, but if you think an expansion into a new metal church building is part of God’s will, then you need to talk to your flock and tell them about the benefits.
Out of date
Is there a specific goal of every church? I think if you break it down to the lowest common denominator, the purpose of every spiritual organization should be to enhance the lives of others by making some sort of a connection. Personal relationships are always best, but as a pastor, you can’t be everywhere at once. Think about growing your congregation with an internal social media platform or branching out and using Facebook or Twitter to deliver your daily message. To grow, you must make an effort to connect with the next generation. This is more of a business strategy and pertains to any company or church that wants to remain viable.
Too much vision, not enough reality
I think every church would like to reach more people with their own specific brand of teachings. But can you accomplish this goal realistically? Do you, or your congregation have the funds to expand? Do you have all the other necessary components to execute a successful metal church building program? Do you have great ideas, but struggle to convert them into opportunity? Talk options with your church committee instead of putting the load of growth solely on your shoulders.
Catering to the wrong people
The people at your church are already convinced they like the dynamic and environment. That’s why they attend in the first place. But if you want to substantiate a move into a new metal church building, you need to focus on potential church-goers as well. That means reaching out to your community, or surrounding communities. It goes without saying that you can’t treat people like outsiders, or that they don’t belong. However, that’s the way some people feel if they visit a new metal church building for the first time. Establish a welcoming committee, have current church members at the doors, and create a comfortable atmosphere. Even a greeting at the beginning of your service to all the new or visiting members goes a long way to relaxing your audience.
Don’t ever quit praying or dreaming of some sort of renewal. But they key is in your call to action, and fulfilling God’s will. If that includes an expansion into a new church metal building, then I can help you the rest of the way.Photo courtesy: D. Sharon Pruitt