Managing Church Growth Through Relationships
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many churches went online with their services. As a result, they were able to reach a much larger audience every week than they ever did in their auditoriums. As church doors began to re-open and statewide regulations began to ease, those people were excited to come to their new church in person. This was a great thing! Churches had new attenders and fresh faces to greet each week. There were new children to move through the children’s ministry, and a whole new slew of volunteers to help out with programming.
However, big growth takes a fresh and new kind of strategy. Managing this growth doesn’t happen automatically. Growing churches need the right approach to managing growth. Sometimes that has nothing to do with analytics and numbers. Sometimes managing growth requires getting a firm grip on building relationships with the people in the church. Getting to know people as individuals will create a firm foundation for all the other things your church needs to do to grow successfully into the future.
How can you grow your church through relationships? Here’s how:
Make the main thing the main thing. Your church growth strategy must prioritize relationships authentically. This is not time for shallow talk. Church leaders cannot say they value relationships but then only create programming that concerns itself with numbers and analytics. Put relationships first above all else. As church staff members, find effective ways to get to know the people who attend your church. Treat them as individuals. Learn about their lives: the things that are going well, as well as their struggles. Learn about their pasts and their passions. Learn all about their kids. Invite them to volunteer. Pray for them. Pursue every individual in the church with an authentic fervor that will create an enthusiasm in the entire congregation. Watch the church grow and mature as a result.
Develop a Small Groups Ministry. A fantastic way to develop deeper relationships with every individual in the congregation is to have a thriving Small Groups Ministry. Small Groups allow every person in the church the opportunity to be seen, heard, and understood by a smaller group of people who can get to know them on a more intimate level. From a leadership perspective, the Small Group Leaders can then bring the needs of the individuals in their groups to the church staff leadership to ensure there is good representation of every cross-section of the congregation. This type of small church atmosphere will allow for the personalization that a growing church may not otherwise be able to give. Managing church growth through a Small Groups Ministry will help everyone involved to feel well-loved and well-cared for by the church.
Create mentorship/discipleship programs. Building the future leadership of the church is an important part of managing church growth today. There will be some people in the congregation who are good candidates for leadership development or further spiritual direction. This development and direction can be done through a robust mentorship or discipleship program which focuses on one-on-one relationships between mature believers/leaders and those who have potential. These relationships can be either highly structured or more loosely formed. No matter their structure, they should be intentional and have goals and objectives in place. Managing church growth through leadership development in this way will provide the church with the leadership it requires as the congregation grows larger and larger year after year.
Think about replication and hand-over. Managing church growth takes a special attitude: selflessness. It requires selflessness because church leaders must have the best interests of the church in mind as they lead and as they look toward the future of the church as it grows. Not only do church leaders want to develop future leaders, but they must seek to replicate themselves. Train up new leaders to take their place. Don’t feel threatened by new talent. Be invigorated by it. Be excited to hand over pieces of your role that someone new, fresh, and excited can take on and do to the best of their ability. Sure, they might be better at it than you ever were, but that’s what God has in mind. He wants to raise up the next generation to thrive and to build His Kingdom. Today’s church leaders can play a huge part in growing the church and managing it into tomorrow with great effectiveness and strength.
Our churches are growing! Rejoice! And in the meantime? Focus on relationships, building leaders, and getting ready to deliver a strong and effective church body to the next generation that’s prepared and well-cared for as they grow into the future.