Church growth methods are an ever-evolving list from establishing the vision to igniting the mission, and can differ based upon our church’s individual goals and needs. One perspective we always must have as priority on our growth list is to remember that as The Church, we are always reaching people and journeying alongside them as they cultivate a relationship with God ultimately to serve and minister to others to do the same. This is foundational and biblical according to our call to Go and make disciples in Matthew 28:19.
The pandemic challenged and inspired us to “go and make” with even more creative ideas to help church growth and make lasting connections with people. Moving forward in a fresh way, we want to share 7 powerful strategies to grow your church in 2023 for your consideration and preparation to try something new. It will take time, money, effort, prayer, and people. But, anything worth doing is worth doing well.
The vision will come to fruition when you succeed in the mission. Think about it like this pertaining to a church expansion strategy: vision determines the mission that informs the plan and is then categorized into goals to determine the tasks that need to be done.
- Vision unifies and reveals how people link into something bigger than themselves.
- Vision leads people and compels them to step forward in faith.
- Vision is grounded in principles to keep the flow of people on track.
- Vision causes an excitement with people wondering, “What can I do? What’s next? Where are we going from here?”
- Vision builds on the past and moves forward into new territories.
Seek & Find
There are a myriad of ways to invite someone to church: in person, via text, email, ads, social media, and mail. We have no excuses for churches to not see new visitors coming through the doors every weekend. If you want to see more people coming to your church, you have to be a church that invites and genuinely welcomes the community. Furthermore, if you want them to get connected, you need to help them develop relationships in the body of Christ. The No. 1 reason the Church has grown throughout history – through the drawing power of the Holy Spirit – is by people sharing their faith and the truth of the Gospel. If you want to know how to increase church growth, you must prepare and empower your people unapologetically to invite their friends into the community of faith.
- Carey Nieuwhof shares this valuable insight: “Turn ordinary attendees into passionate champions of the mission. People who serve (as a rule) get the mission. They’re on a mission. And they love the mission.”
- Determine to be part of a cooperative effort to let those outside of the church walls know that you want to know them and that they, too, belong inside.
Look at the Data
Look at the Data- to love your neighbor, you have to know your neighbor. To be able to bridge the gap between data and decisional information by answering the “where” and “what about” questions in your organization and community is one of the most valuable 2023 church growth strategies. What made an impact for your friend’s church and community in a different state, may not translate in your neighborhood. That’s OK. But, you have to bring your unique picture into focus. Sustainable church growth is an initiative versus a flash in the pan attendance record, and the data will help you lead with confidence so you can:
- Expand ministry options
- Develop mission generosity
- Revitalize your church
- Increase ministry impact
Define the Next Steps
Whether it’s visitor follow-up, new member education, personalized discipleship, or volunteer training, you must define and oversee the steps, activities, and outcomes of any process. This not only answers the question of how to increase church membership, but also helps congregants feel cared about and included and keeps them moving forward.
Talk About It
Growing churches are finding ways to share real testimonies, tackle tough issues, and speak plainly about societal woes. The Church, of all institutions, must weigh in on what matters most and not shy away from engaging in discussions that are shaping our everyday lives.
- The Bible paints relevancy as a godly attribute that’s required for disciples to communicate the gospel of Christ to an ever-changing culture.
- The mission of the church should be unchanged, how you go about communicating the mission should evolve over time.
- Newness in and with those in the conversation brings energy and a fresh perspective to improve your ministry.
- This authenticity has the potential to attract a wider variety of people to your services and events.
As far as church growth strategies go, families are key to the future of the church, first, because it preserves history from generation to generation and, second, because it is unquestionably the best place to grow disciples.
- Parents must be serious about the task of passing on their faith and about living the way God calls them to live in front of their children and others, all day, every day.
- A healthy family ministry provides opportunities for putting Christ’s teachings into practice. We must be doers and not merely hearers of the Word. Nothing discourages young people more than adults who are all talk and no show.
- When young people have significant adults in their lives, they are more likely to stay faithful. A youth minister may come and go, but members can be like extended family. Their love and influence anchor us in the faith.
As we found out during the pandemic in a way we may not have had it not occurred, technology has grown and become more efficient making the ability to connect with people anywhere and at any time more feasible. Think about it like this, the ancient Roman roads expanded the reach of people in their time, and it was laborious and mysterious but they managed to accomplish it.
As church technology continues to grow, it’s reasonable to expand the reach of your church. Technology is not a replacement for interaction. It is a tool to promote church growth, further engagement, and build a better community. Technology can’t do it all, but it can thrive in the right role. Work with your ChMS company to ensure you’re getting the most from the platform to make your ministry easier and more effective.
- Develop the discipline of putting everything in your database and then decide the key things you need to know (from personal contact info to church committees and volunteering) and customize the information.
- Your website is the virtual front door of your church. Most visitors will check out your website before they decide to attend, and your congregants will look at the site to find out what is happening in the life of the church. Everything from pledge campaigns to mission trips and serving opportunities should be updated and refreshed to reflect the nature of your ministry.
- Live streaming sermons helps to reach people where they are. Because YouTube has an embed option for live videos, you can actually embed and stream your live videos on your very own website.
- Social media offers much more space for congregations to engage actively with sermons by tweeting along, asking questions, sharing photos of church activities, or continuing discussions throughout the week, not just on Sundays.
- Connect your church to share life together with a church mobile app. You can quickly communicate with members of a group or start conversations with one person or multiple people in order to keep them in the loop.
Cast the Net
Growing churches see the golden opportunity in casting the net into the local community, which may or may not include a spiritual component. Nevertheless, they are always welcoming to those who are near and far from faith. It’s not about making things “attractional” as much as it is about fostering real relationships to strategically build the Kingdom and manage church growth. Growth can take many forms, depending on the ministries and mission of your church. Create a culture that’s consistently dedicated to taking advantage of every opportunity for outreach and connection from the inside out, to go and make disciples.
Growth is exciting. More people show up, which means more people are reached.
Having more people involved means complexity creeps in. No one wants this to happen; it’s a byproduct of growth. Without diagnosing this problem, it festers. Ultimately, confusion and complexity reign, making it harder to grow a stronger church.
Thankfully, after working with tens of thousands of churches, we’ve seen other paths.
Our latest resource, Fighting for Simplicity as Your Church Grows, shows a path you and your team can follow.
Dean is ACS Technologies’ VP of Corporate Operations. He is responsible for Information Technology and all campus facilities. Born and raised in South Carolina, he has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems Management. He serves on the board and in leadership for a few local non-profit organizations. His passions include helping others succeed.