Welcome to today’s post on how to build a strong church.
Congratulations on your heart and dedication to building God’s kingdom!
This 5-step guide is designed to assist you in identifying the key areas of focus as a leader to drive real change and growth.
By understanding how to build a strong church, you’ll make a greater impact in your local community and positively transform lives.
Are you ready?
Let’s dive in!
What Makes Churches Weak?
In my experience, one significant reason stands out: lack of focus.
As a dedicated church leader, your time can be stretched thin, with numerous demands pulling you in various directions.
It’s a constant balancing act between taking care of your existing congregation and actively reaching out to new members.
Ever had one of those days when your ‘to-do’ list seems to vanish amid the chaos of daily tasks?
Remember the old Stretch Armstrong toys?
Sometimes, it can feel like you’re being pulled and stretched in every direction…
However, being busy with everything is a surefire path to pastoral burnout, which is not good for you or your church.
(I’m sure you’re already aware of this, but it never hurts to be reminded!)
If your goal is to build a strong, healthy, and growing church, it’s crucial to clarify your main priorities as a pastor.
You can’t do everything.
By knowing your primary objectives, you’ll free yourself to concentrate on what truly matters in your ministry. Let’s explore those key areas to help you steer your church towards strength and growth.
Growing A Strong Church Starts With You
In growing a strong church, I think it’s better to think about church growth in terms of getting ‘unstuck’, rather than thinking you just need more people.
Getting unstuck is the answer, which means there will be certain things that need to change.
As a pastor and leader, you’ll find more solutions to what holds you back if you think in terms of getting unstuck, instead of just getting bigger.
The Great Commission challenge is not about growing bigger congregations but growing more spiritually significant people.
In the US, 80% of churches have less than 200 attending members. Without a major shift in focus starting from the senior pastor down, the chances are, these churches will only ever see slight growth (if any).
They’re just stuck…
We’ve all been stuck at some point.
Like that time our tyres spun uselessly in the wet mud, or the time that tricky math problem stood strong and resilient despite our best efforts – until we tried a different approach, came at it from a different angle and got unstuck.
Have you noticed we only learn when things don’t go our way?
Getting stuck forces us to adapt our approach to life.
In fact, one theory of learning says the brain is wired to solve predicaments, and true learning only happens when the mind tries to figure something out.
God designed us to keep at it; to ask, seek and knock.
Take Your Church To The Next Level 📈
But Doesn’t God Grow His Church?
A healthy way to think about church growth is to leave to God the things only he can do (the stuff we pray about), and accept the responsibility he has entrusted to us to do something about.
God gave me teeth, but I brush them.
This being said, now let’s take a look at what you as a leader can focus on to unstick your church growth:
5 Key Areas Of Focus To Grow A Strong Church
Just as most computer glitches can be traced to a small number of common problems, as a pastor, you’ll find that focusing 95% of your time on a few key church growth factors will significantly enhance your effectiveness.
Here are the big 5:
1. Preach Better Sermons
You win when you invest in yourself as a preacher because you master the art of prepping and delivering sermons and claim your Saturdays back.
And your church wins because research shows great preaching grows churches.
The best way to preach better sermons is by taking a step-by-step preaching course.
As well as your personal devotions, put time aside during the week to study God’s Word with a heart of asking God what He wants you to say to the church.
Why not develop monthly themes for the next 12 months? That way you avoid the stressful last-minute preparation because you’re organised ahead of time.
Here are 12 sermon series ideas to get you started.
Equip your congregation with practical, life-applicable teaching that will get them motivated enough to study and search the Scriptures for themselves.
A church full of people full of the Word makes for a very strong church indeed.
2. Inspire People To Step Up & Serve
As pastors, we can easily fall into the trap of thinking we have to do everything ourselves.
However, the true role of a pastor is not to do the work of the ministry, but to equip your church members to do it.
When your serving teams grow, your church will thrive.
Whether it’s your worship team, follow-up team, home group leaders, welcoming teams, or multimedia team – as a pastor, it’s your responsibility to gain, train, and retain volunteers to serve in these crucial areas.
Inspiring your congregation to take that extra step of responsibility can be a challenge and many pastors struggle to get their members excited and engaged in the life of the church.
Check out this post for practical tips on how to encourage more people to step up and serve.
3. Get Your Church Outward Focused
In order to grow a strong and thriving church, it’s crucial to be outward-focused in everything you do.
From the moment someone approaches your church building to the way your services are conducted, the focus should be on making visitors feel welcome.
Start by ensuring your signage and church website are inviting and easily accessible to newcomers.
Train your welcoming team to warmly greet visitors and make them feel at home.
Consider creating visitor welcome packs that provide helpful information about your church and what’s going on.
You can also emphasise personal friendship evangelism to create an outreach culture.
Share personal examples of conversations you’ve had with non-believers during the week to demonstrate how everyday interactions can be opportunities for witnessing.
By fostering an outward-focused mindset, your church can make a lasting impact on the lives of those both inside and outside the church walls.
“Any church not seriously involved in the Great Commission has forfeited its biblical right to exist.”
4. Automate Your Giving
Sure, sharing an offering message certainly helps but according to a recent survey of over 1,000 churches, it was found that the number one indicator of churches whose income surpassed their ministry expenses emphasised automated giving.
It’s not enough just to offer it, you need to emphasise it and create an intentional communication strategy that moves people to that option.
You’d be amazed at what happens to your church budget when you give people a new way of giving.
Giving people the option of setting up a monthly or weekly automatic bank transfer will do wonders for your church’s finances.
The truth is finances and resources can make ministry happen, and the more money you have, the more ministry you can do.
If you’re interested in finding out more, check out How To Encourage People To Tithe.
5. Create The Right Systems
The fifth and final key focus area for growing a strong church is all about creating the right systems.
Just think, if you have to do something more than once then it’s better to create an effective and efficient system for it.
Just take a quick look at creation and you’ll see how God is a God of systems; the solar system, the ecosystem, our skeletal and digestive systems, I could go on…
Life as we know it doesn’t just happen.
It’s all self-regulating, following a sequence of patterns and laws. Our God orders chaos and He’s very intentional about it.
Your church should have good systems because you can’t solve all of your problems by preaching (I know we preachers think we can sometimes!) but more often than not, the issue requires a system solution.
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What Will You Focus On To Build A Strong Church?
I believe that by getting your pastoral priorities in the right order, you’ll free yourself up to focus on what you need to grow a strong and healthy church.
What are the biggest areas you need to focus on to get your church unstuck?
We’d love to hear from you! If you have any questions, insights, or success stories, please share them with us in the comments below!