Last Update, 22nd October, 2016.
Growing the size of your congregation starts with getting new families through your church doors and then making sure they come back.
At the birth of the church there was so much debate regarding the Jewish customs and whether or not circumcision was still necessary as gentiles were being added to the church more and more.
After much deliberation in the Jerusalem Council it was decided that they should not put stumbling blocks in the way of unbelievers coming to Christ.
You can find it in Acts 15:19:
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
We should make Jesus as accessible as possible.
The Bible gives us Jesus’ exact blueprint and step by step method for making disciples and if we need to follow it’s instruction it’ll going to work wherever you are in the world.
1) Reach (Luke 5-6)
When Jesus called out his disciples and asked them to follow Him He met them were they were.
He found Matthew whilst he was collecting tax then held a party for all his tax collector friends. Peter, James and John were fishing when He called them. Jesus didn’t set up a booth with a big sign saying “Recruiting Disciples Here“.
We laugh but that’s exactly what we do today – we set up a building, open the door and expect people to walk through the doors…
Where did Jesus do the most miracles? It wasn’t in the synagogues.
Jesus didn’t wait for people to come to him; it was outside on the streets, markets, public places.
What is the entry point to my church for the unchurched? What’s our outreach program?
It could be a battle of the bands competition, a theatre production of Heaven’s Gates & Hell’s Flames (how I got saved:), it could be a monthly men’s breakfast or home group BBQ.
We talked more about having intentional church systems in How To Grow Your Church Systems
Have bridge events that get your church seen, attended or thought about.
Study your culture of your area – find out the biggest needs of your local community and meet them.
In my opinion, the best way to do evangelism in the western world today is not done through tent revival meetings, street preaching, leaflets drops or door knocking – I just don’t think these are effective. (If you think I’m wrong, let me know in the comments.)
If you really want to build your church you need to have an entry point for your church and then once you get people to your church you need to make your Sunday program an event.
Then, when people come to your church make sure you’re ready for guests.
KJV English is not today’s English, use a modern translation.
Be careful of the songs you choose,“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” does not mean much to the unchurched.
2) Teach (Luke 7-8)
Then we see in Luke 7 that Jesus started teaching his followers very relevant, applicable life-skills – loving your enemies, not judging, bearing spiritual fruit and so on.
This is how he begins discipling his disciples…
In Luke 8 Jesus exposes them to practical ministry. The disciples where there watching as Jesus cared for the down and outs and outcasts of society, they were there as he healed the lepers, they heard Jesus say “Get up and walk!” and watched on as he healed the blind eyes.
The disciples learned from Jesus’ demonstration that every human being, regardless of their status, is loved by God, they saw Jesus operating in incredible, scandalous grace.
Jesus was always a very practical teacher, he used common everyday objects to illustrate his points, He created amazing images in the minds of his listeners, He told memorable stories that people would remember years after they heard it.
Teach Passionately – Making Sunday an Event
If you really want to build your church you need to have an entry point for your church and then once you get people to your church you need to make you Sunday program an event.
“The Big idea” – Why not set a sermon series or teaching theme for each month? Seek God for what He wants the church to learn in the next 12 months.
That way you can be organised and have time to be creative. For example, January might be good to teach how to set goals, February is good to talk about relationships, Easter to talk about ‘How good is good enough’ or ‘Why did Jesus have to die?’ and so on.
Whatever your theme, make sure the whole church is going in the same direction – teach ‘The Big Idea’ in the youth, worship, home groups, children’s church.
You could have a complementing book to go with it and recommend people ready that throughout the month. Everything you do is to underline ‘the Big Idea’ for that month.
Create an image for your month’s theme, create flyers and give them to your people so they can invite people. It makes it an event people can invite other people to.
Have you monthly theme on your newsletters, get it as your PowerPoint background, Tweet it, stick it on your Church’s Facebook page.
Be Creative – Introduce the ‘confusion factor’: keep people on their toes and guessing – get ideas and mix things up!
You don’t always have to have worship, notices, offering, preaching and fellowship in the same order.
Change your music style, have video announcements.
Since you know what your sermon series will be in 6 months’ time you now have time to prepare. Show a dance or a drama, use memorable illustrations to back up your point.
I’ve known pastors talking about marriage whilst sitting on a bed at the front of church, complete with side table and lamp!
People always get a little worried when I preach; talking about being focused instead of distracted I’ve had someone call my phone at a set time and another person disrupt the service ‘unexpectedly’.
I was preaching once on ‘Character under Construction’ and I filled the church with traffic cones and men at work signs.
Talking about faith I walked very precariously across a plank at the front of church 10 feet high!
You want people to remember what you’ve said. The key here is to just make sure anything you do is emphasising your point and not taking away from it.
- We never compromise the message – but our styles, methods of getting that message out are always subject to change.
- You know you’re on track when the people in your church feel comfortable in inviting their unsaved friends.
3) Mobilise (Luke 9)
Moving onto the next chapter, after they’ve heard His teachings and watched Him minister , Jesus sends the disciples out to minister together.
He gives them the opportunity and space to grow before they come back and have a debrief.
Now we see the disciples in full-time service; Luke 9 shows the disciples handing out food baskets out to 5,000 people.
Mobilise for Global Conquest?
We discussed the discipling process of your church in much more depth in the previous article. See again here: How to Grow Your Church’s Systems – here we raise the topic of designing a simple process and how to grow the numbers in each step.
In my post entitled ‘Growing in the Spirit‘ further on in this series we will discuss how we can equip the saints for the work of the ministry and what ‘equipping‘, according to Ephesians 4:11-12 actually means.
I hope this makes sense and is helpful!