How To Grow A Small Struggling Church In 7 Practical Steps

Want to see your church get unstuck and reach its full potential?

In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to grow a small church.

Let’s get right to it.

7 Steps To Growing A Small Church

1. Pray, Pray, Pray
2. Think & Act Big
3. Follow A Proven Blueprint
4. Train Your Members To Evangelise
5. Give A Warm Welcome
6. Worship Well
7. Preach Better Sermons

1. Pray, Pray, Pray

This may seem obvious, but prayer is the cornerstone of growing a small church.

By connecting with God through prayer, we open ourselves to His heart for the lost, hear His voice, and become sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.

And most importantly:

It ensures God’s agenda is our agenda.

As pastors, prayer is not only for the church but also for ourselves. In order for God to work through you, you can’t be running on an empty tank.

It’s good to pray for:

  • A heart for those that don’t know God
  • A willingness to serve in the kingdom
  • A boldness to share the Gospel outside the four walls of the church

Yes, we can work harder and smarter but without prayer, it won’t amount to anything.

No great work has ever been accomplished for God without spending time in prayer. 

2. Think & Act Big

If you want your small church to grow you need to believe it CAN grow and decide it WILL grow.

Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that “As a man thinks, so he is.”

So take any limits off your thinking and envision a large church that’s reaching 100s of people for Christ.

And do this with your team:

Hold vision-casting sessions where you and your leadership team can dream and plan for the future of the church.

Set specific growth goals and share these goals with your congregation to foster a sense of collective purpose and direction.

Create a culture of expectation and raise the faith level of your church that you do indeed have the capacity to reach more people and make a greater impact in the community.

As you lead with a growth mindset, others will catch the vision and be inspired to step up and serve to make it happen.

Can you see new families coming into your church?

Can you see young people getting connected with your youth ministry?

You must see it before it will happen. Jesus always works according to our faith and if you can see it then you can have it.

3. Follow A Proven Blueprint

If you want to see real growth in your church, following a proven church growth blueprint is going to be a real game changer.

Why reinvent the wheel when there are tried and tested strategies you can use today to take your church to new heights?

After 60+ hours of testing, here are the best church growth courses that have equipped countless pastors to grow their churches:

🏆 Best Church Growth Courses 🏆

See all best church growth courses »

4. Train Your Members To Evangelise

Right now you don’t have the “Wow factor” megachurches have…

Your small church’s greatest strength lies in its close relationships.

So instead of wasting money on expensive advertising or a fancy new sound system, focus instead on training your people to become passionate and effective evangelists.

Word-of-mouth marketing and personal invites are by far the most effective way to get new people in.

So, to grow your small church, equip your people for the work of the ministry by training them on how to become passionate evangelists.

Start by forming a committed core group and teach them how to:

You could even organise an “Invite a Friend to Church Sunday” to get the ball rolling.

Set a date and plan for it.

Getting new people through your doors is the first step, now let’s look at how you can be ready for them when they come.

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5. Give A Warm Welcome

Every Sunday is someone’s first Sunday, so do all you can to make church visitors feel welcome.

Here are 3 things you can do to get more first-time visitors coming back for a second time:

Welcome Them

Your welcoming team give people their one and only first impression of the church.

Train your welcoming team on how to treat your guests well.

Appoint a church MC or service host and have them prepare a church welcome speech or even a church welcome poem.

And if you haven’t already, consider making a church welcome pack that includes essential information about your church, upcoming events and ways they can get connected.

Connect With Them

Take the initiative to get to know your visitors. Collect their contact information and ensure that you follow up with each visitor to express gratitude for their attendance.

A simple letter or email can go a long way in making them feel appreciated and welcomed.

Follow Up With Them

Within the following week, reach out to your first-time visitors via phone call or personal visit if possible.

Show genuine interest in their experience at your church and find out if they have any prayer requests or anything you can help with.

You may also find our guide on 6 Ideas To Follow-Up Church Visitors Effectively helpful in enhancing your follow-up strategy.

If your existing members can see that the church is expecting and ready for visitors, they will confidently start inviting their friends, family and coworkers knowing that they’ll receive a good welcome and be well looked after.

6. Worship Well

Terrific or terrible, the standard of our worship services is a major factor in determining whether or not your church will thrive.

Improving your worship services is one the greatest factors to getting your church out of a rut.

And honestly, it’s not about having a fifty-strong choir or full setup, it’s what you do with what you have that counts.

There are certain skills, attitudes and practices that can help you or your worship leader lead worship better.

Here are some pointers on how to revive your worship services.

Remember, the purpose of worship is to draw the congregation closer to God and set the tone for the rest of the service.

When worship is authentic, engaging and Spirit-led, it creates an atmosphere where people can connect with God and grow in their faith.

7. Preach Better Sermons

Improving the quality of your preaching is a crucial factor in growing your small church.

Effective preaching has the power to draw guests and unchurched people to your church and keep your members engaged week after week.

“90% of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor or preaching.”

When Jesus preached, He spoke with authority and relevance, addressing real-life issues. He engaged His audience with relatable examples and captivating stories.

Investing in yourself as a preacher is a win-win:

You benefit by having a proven sermon system that takes the stress and long hours out of your sermon prep and the whole church benefits because you preach better.

If you want to improve your preaching, here’s a list of the best preaching courses we’ve reviewed to date.

What’s Helped Your Small Church Grow?

So there you have it – how to grow a small church in six practical steps.

Have I missed anything on this list?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments about what you’ve done that’s worked and not worked! 🤗

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