As a pastor or church leader, the first of the year is a busy time for you and those on your staff. It’s the time when you often ask those you serve to reevaluate many of the programs, processes, and technology solutions your church uses, but don’t let one of the most important goals your church should be focused on lapse. Remember to focus on the health of your church body. The fact is this: healthy churches grow! But how do you expect to grow if you don’t know what you need to know? And, further, have you thought about how outreach and growth have a very symbiotic relationship? Essentially, outreach is anything and everything your church does to connect itself with the community.
How is your church connecting with her community?
Know and Grow, a brand new ministry resource for 2022, sheds light on three areas requiring focus:
- Learn more about your current congregation by leveraging your church management software to know who they are (singles, seniors, etc.). And know their involvement, giving trends, attendance trends, volunteers, small group engagement, etc. And, look at other churches nationally with similar congregations to see what they’ve done successfully and not.
- Understand your community better with current data, including demographics, socioeconomics, religious preferences, proximity to your church, population density including growth hot spots, church-type preferences, and even social media practices. We know that people have a strong desire to be in a community with others with similar interests. So let’s bring them together.
- Evaluate outreach and communication tactics now that you know the landscape of your congregation and community by asking the following questions and being prepared to think differently about the answers with the goal of healthily growing your church:
- Are you offering programs and events that will attract new people and further engage members?
- Do your local outreach activities meet the most important needs of the community?
- Are you leveraging social media or other channels to attract new people or increase engagement?
- Are you delivering relevant content based on interests, behaviors, and demographics?
- Does your worship style match the preferences of your community?
- Are you personalizing your messaging to specific audiences?
To know and grow
You must have a holistic view of your church and its members, and your community. This data will prove valuable and will help inform the decisions you make at your church. It will allow you to start the right additional small groups, choose which ministries to invest in to a greater degree, and communicate more effectively with your community. It will help you better understand what activities or topics your members and your community enjoy or care about. This knowledge can shape your worship, care, missions, outreach program, events, egiving, and so much more as you purposefully invest in the people.
Growth is exciting but it takes time and isn’t always comfortable or pain-free if we’re being honest. Programs we value that were established 20 years ago, may not be valid today, so it needs to be cut off. A style of worship that seems a little more progressive may need to be grafted in. Healthy growth with pruning and planting will produce beautiful fruit to the glory of God.
In future Church Growth blogs, we’ll be addressing how to effectively communicate your vision along with the role Biblical stewardship plays in church growth and development so that we can go and make disciples!
Steve serves as ACS Technologies’ Vice President of Technology. He has been with the company since 1982 and started in the programming department. Steve has a degree in management science from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in Human Factors in Information Design from Bentley University.