Much of the content of this article is taken from Dr. Dan Reiland’s free monthly e-newsletter ‘The Pastor’s Coach’ available at www.INJOY.com.
Sometimes the barriers keeping us from reaching more people aren’t how we do things, but how we think about life at our church. Consider the following:
• Determine if your church wants to break through 100.
Don’t assume that because you want your church to grow that your congregation does too. Sometimes congregations think and say they want to grow, but their actions reveal that they don’t. For example, the most obvious evidence is that few people invite and bring guests to church. Another example is that when guests do come, the love and acceptance offered them is only a surface level and socially polite gesture.
The best way to determine if your church wants to break through 100 is to first gather your top five leaders and ask them five key questions:
1. Are you genuinely open to whatever change is required for our church to grow?
2. Are you willing to personally pay the price for change and growth?
3. What are you not willing to change or do to see our church reach more people for Christ?
4. What do you believe we must do differently to reach people and serve our community?
5. What do you love and appreciate most about our church?
When the top five leaders have answered these questions in a positive and unified way, then take the same questions to the majority of the rest of the congregation. For example, if your church has 65 people, you would want to gather 30-40 of the most involved people to cast your vision for growth (be sure to tell them why you want to grow, not just that you want to grow) and then ask them the same questions.
If you don’t get the responses you’re hoping for, understand that there is work to do before your church can begin moving forward. Present your ministry passion, underscore the needs of the community, and help your people see the mission of Christ toward your community. If people resist change, the leader must provide the sense of urgency necessary for them to change their position.
Beware of using guilt as a motivator. While feeling bad may lead me to relent and slowly change my position, guilt doesn’t provide sufficient motivation for long. Only genuine love for Christ can provide long-lasting motivation toward change. Remember that Jesus asked Peter to give up fishing and “feed my lambs” because of Peter’s professed love for Jesus.
Love for God and a desire for His purposes in one’s community are the only proper motivators for ministry growth. As you try to move your congregation forward, let your own heart for God and His kingdom be the model for others to follow. It may take some time, but the results will be worth the wait.