3 Steps To Breaking The Growth Barriers In Your Church

IMG_2578Every pastor that I have ever spoke with wants to grow their church. If they didn’t, they probably shouldn’t be the pastor at the church.

Growth is something that everyone wants, but not everyone experiences.

Now, growth in church is always a touchy subject. Here is what I am not saying in this post:

  • I am not criticizing small churches – I am not at all suggesting this. I have been a part of smaller churches, and have loved it and seen God do incredible things. I also think that some pastors are built and created to pastor smaller churches. I also believe that the city in which the church resides is a factor so I am not criticizing small churches.
  • I am not saying the favor of God is not at play – When you talk about growth, you always have to remember that God’s hand of favor is in play. I believe this and above anything else you read, you should want this. Sometimes He grows our churches in spite of our behaviors.
  • I am not saying that numbers are everything – This is the never-ending debate, and I do not plan to solve it, but in my experience, smaller churches are usually the ones saying “numbers aren’t everything.” Sure, they are not, but numbers can indicate health and we should track people because every person has a name, every name has a story, and every story matters to God.

Growth barriers are common and change as you face new barriers. For example, what got your church to 200 won’t get your church to 400.

As you grow, things change and the way that we do ministry changes.

The message never changes, but the methods have to if we intend to continue reaching people with the message.

1. As You Grow, Systems Must Become The Norm 

Think back to when you were small, like 100 or less in your church. Do you remember, you could text every guest every week. You could manage things without hardly any systems.

As you grow, systems must improve. Weekly reports must become regular. The path to connecting people must become crystal clear and easy to navigate. The way that you do hospitality and first impressions must be manageable. The way that you check in kids and follow-up with kids must be clear. Security must be done well. Everything that you do at your church must have a system.

Many struggle in this phase, because the larger your church gets, the more business minded it must become. This is uncomfortable for many, because for years, the church did not want to function like a business.

Businesses have systems and a way of doing business. Churches must have clear systems if they want to grow.

Some churches do not grow because they are afraid of implementing systems in fear of losing the personal connection that small churches have.

2. As You Grow, You Must Evaluate Everyone And Everything

As I research and speak with growing churches, there is a common theme found in them and it is regular evaluations among their leaders.

For example, if the kids ministry is not being managed with organization, professionalism, and growth, an evaluation should occur.

If a church is not capturing guests, evaluation needs to happen.

What you want to duplicate, you must evaluate.

Small churches tend to keep leaders in positions longer than they probably should, because we are afraid of having the difficult conversation that could hurt a family but potentially help your church cross a growth barrier.

If you want to stay at 300 or less, don’t evaluate much. If you want to grow further than 300, you must evaluate everything and everyone. Call out what needs to be changed and if it doesn’t get better, you may have to let go of an employee or move the employee to a different department in order to move past the growth barrier.

3. As You Grow, You Must Engage As Many People As Possible

Carey Nieuwhof has been known for saying that attractional is not the new driver of attendance, engagement is. I totally agree with him.

If you want to grow, spend a lot of time, resources, and money on your connections process.

You need to be creative and try to engage as many people as you can to continue to push through the growth barrier that your church is focusing.

If you don’t want to get beyond 200 in weekly attendance, keep the launch team the way it is and don’t add anyone. If you want to continue to grow, you must be constantly adding people to groups, teams, and owners of your ministry. Engage them and make them a part of the community at your church or they likely will fall out of the community.

What are you doing to push through the growth barriers at your church? 


Published by Josh Evans

Josh is the connections pastor of the Oakleaf campus of Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. Before that, Josh had been a mentor and pastor to students for 10 years. Josh is passionate about empowering church leaders to make a difference. Josh and his wife Abby have two children. You can connect further with Josh on this blog or send him a direct email at joshhevans@gmail.com.

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