Last Update 5th October, 2016.
Being outward focused is one thing, but knowing ‘how’ to bring more people in is another.
That’s why today we’re going to look at the practical steps and strategies that hundreds of other churches have taken to grow their churches.
Along with some tools and resources you can use to take your church forward.
Right before we jump into the tried and tested ways to get more people through your church doors, please just indulge me for a second and let me share with you two quick, important caveats:
a) God wants to grow you church.
You already know this right?
God’s heart for the lost burns bright.
God wants your church grow, not just in attendance on a Sunday, but in influence in your local community, in lives being transformed and in the quality of disciples being raised.
He wants your church to grow in love and community, in worship and in the Word.
b) Identify the types of people you want your church to reach.
Pastors, it really helps to take time to think about what kind of people God wants your church to reach.
Having a picture in your mind’s eye of who your target demographic is will influence every decision you make about your outreach and evangelistic programs, preaching, worship, follow up – everything your church ministry does.
How are you trying to reach? Young professionals? Working class families? Retired baby boomers?
Different people are reached in different ways.
I believe that these 6 ideas I’m going to share with you today will help to inspire fresh vision in you and breath new life into your congregation.
I hope the things mentioned in this article can help get your ministry unstuck and unlock the great plan that God has in store for you and your local church.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Take your church’s evangelistic temperature
Honestly evaluating your church congregation’s evangelistic temperature right now means that you know your starting point and can then begin to take solid steps in the right direction.
Ask yourself questions like:
- How on fire are the people in your church are about reaching the unreached?
- How many people are accepting Jesus as their Saviour?
- How many of your people are bringing their friends to church?
- How many first-time guests do you have?
- How many evangelistic outreaches do you have scheduled?
In their free introductory module they guide you through a step by step blueprint to help you evaluate where your church is at the moment, and working with you, they help to identify some important objectives for moving your church forward.
2. Plan several ‘big event’ Sundays throughout the year
A big event day is:
“An all-out push toward a single Sunday for the purpose of breaking the next growth barrier and setting an attendance record in order to reach as many people as possible.”
Using a calendar you can pick dates throughout the year that you can take advantage of to organise an invite a friend Sunday.
Set a specific goal that reflects how many church guests you anticipate will come to your church and be ready for them.
Have your church cover the event in prayer.
Build up expectation for the event by getting your members to pray for the people they will invite.
Here are just a few date ideas for your invite a friend to church Sunday events:
- New Year
- Your church’s birthday
- Bonfire night (UK)
- Valentine’s day
- Father’s day
- Thanksgiving (US)
3. Create An Outward-Focused Culture
As the pastor you have a great opportunity to help your people become focused on reaching others for Christ.
Use sermons, challenges, announcements, and vision casting to raise the church’s spiritual temperature.
Regularly share stories about conversations your having with the lost during the week.
Ask members to share their stories about how they shared the gospel with someone or invited someone to church.
Have monthly sermon series that place an emphasis on evangelism.
You could even share personal stories (through speaking or video) of people who’s lives have been transformed through the work of your church.
This will help raise excitement and momentum about the new direction you want your church to go in and it shows a clear picture of what the vision of the church is.
4. Equip Your Church Congregation
“Your job as the pastor is not to do all of the work; it’s to equip the saints for ministry.” [Tweet this]
As soon as you’ve cast vision for reaching the unreached, you need to equip your congregation with the skills and tools they need to share their faith and invite the friends and family members to church effectively.
Friendship evangelism is by far the most effective way to get more new people into your church.
Here are some things you could teach:
- How to create a prayer list for their unsaved loved ones
- How to share their personal testimony
- How to share the gospel in a simple and easy way
Hand each person several cards printed with information about your church and ask them to use them to invite others to an upcoming worship service or event.
Whether it be for an invite a friend Sunday or for a new upcoming sermon series, hand to each of your members several invitation flyers about the upcoming event with your church details service times.
“People come to church because other people bring them. Who will you invite?” [Tweet this]
5. Be Ready When Guests Come
So you’ve created a culture of evangelism and outreach, you’ve cast vision for reaching the lost in every way you can, you’ve trained you church members in friendship evangelism and equipped them with something in their hands that they can give to those within their circle of influence.
Expect people to come and be ready for them. This will increase the likelihood of them returning for a second week.
Before the big day, make sure you have everything in place.
Is your welcome team ready and expectant to meet first time guests?
Do they have guest welcome packs ready to hand out at the door with a smile?
Is the worship team organised?
Are your children’s workers ready to put new parents at ease who are slightly nervous to leave their children with you?
People come to church because other people bring them. Who will you invite?
“90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor or preaching.” [Tweet this]
Don’t underestimate the importance of your preaching. Make sure your sermon outline is free of jargon, relevant and engaging.
If you want to preach better sermons take a look at my number one recommended online preaching course – Preaching Rocket.
The first time a new person walks through your church doors is the first step in the process of discipling them.
So have a good follow up plan in place. Help people take the next step.
Urge people who are attending worship services, small groups, and membership classes but haven’t yet begun relationships with Jesus to make the decision to say “yes” to Him.
Help new believers grow in their faith (through church home groups etc.) and assimilate them into the life of your church.
6. Don’t Try To Do It Alone – Help For Pastors
“God wants to turn your city upside down. He wants to use you and your church to do it.” [Tweet this]
And finally, when it comes to getting more new people in church – don’t limit your growth or potential influence by trying to figure out everything on your own.
One of the major mistakes I see pastors making is that they fall into to the trap of thinking they have to do it all themselves, that they have to reinvent the wheel.
Don’t be an island. Learn from others. Copy no one but gleam from everyone.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, Launchpad is an online community of pastors helping pastors.
With done-for-you resources, excellent training and coaching and real-life case studies of what other churches have done successfully to get more people through their doors, you can glean what works and apply it to your own local church setting.
Since I discovered Launchpad for myself, probably one of my favourite benefits is the being a part of a community of like-minded pastors and church leaders.
I can ask questions and get answers.
I can bounce off other preachers and friends in the ministry and exchange ideas and inspiration – this is practical grass-roots level stuff that has helped hundreds of others churches and can definitely help you to take your church forward.
And Finally – Take Action
In quick summary, here are the 6 ways you can get more people into your church:
1) Take the free Church Health Assessment
2) Plan several big event Sundays on your calendar.
3) Build an outward-focused culture in your church with an emphasis and reaching the unreached.
4) Give your people practical skills they can use in friendship evangelism.
5) Be ready when first-time guests come.
6) Learn what works from other successful pastors and churches.
If you haven’t already, take your free Launchpad test drive here and get instant access to the tools and resources that will help you to take your church forward.
I can not emphasise this enough: if you’re not where you want to be as a church, if you don’t have what you want to have right now, you don’t need to stay in the same place.
If you’re not where you need to be at this particular moment, you need to be willing to make the necessary changes to make it happen.
Unless you attempt to do something beyond that which you have already mastered, you’ll never grow.
Can you imagine seeing new couples and families walking through your church doors in the next few weeks and become an integral part of your church community?
Can you imagine if you applied these steps and you started to see your church growing in influence and being a catalyst for change in the place where you live?
Can you imagine the lives that will be changed as your church rises up to be all that she could be and should be?
I pray that your church is a church that is giving hope to the hopeless, reaching the unreached and loving the unloved. This is our call.