How to Grow Your Church Attendance – Keep People Guessing

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how to grow your church attendanceKnowing how to grow your church attendance 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.

reach teach mobilize

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.

Reach Strategically

What is the entry point to your church for the unchurched? What’s your outreach program?

It could be an invite a friend Sunday, a men’s breakfast or a small group Bible study. Whatever you do 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.

You can do this by making your visitors feel welcome and planning out relevant monthly sermon series.

Make sure you’re ready for guests.

Set the table. Be welcoming. Have good music. Make sure your preaching is powerful, memorable and life-applicable.

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

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.

Learn how to get people in your church to start volunteering, give them opportunities to serve and watch them flourish in their giftings.

Ready to raise your attendance levels?

If you want help to get from where you are to where you want to be, I have some deeper practical help.

how to solve the attendance puzzle

How To Solve The Church Attendance Puzzle is a completely FREE webinar that’s going to show church leaders how to break past the attendance barriers that stop churches from growing.

In this webinar hosted by Ben Crawshaw you’ll learn:

  • The biggest mistake churches make that costs them attendance (You’ll be surprised… it’s not what you think!)
  • How to get more people at your services (and keep them coming back)
  • The best way to get this Sunday’s guests to return next week


Slots are filling up fast so be sure to
click here to register your spot today.Whether your church is 50, 150 or 250 in number, this live event will give you insights into what action steps you can take to get your church unstuck.

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10 thoughts on “How to Grow Your Church Attendance – Keep People Guessing”

  1. I thank Simon, the founder of Grow Your Church. This is really helpful for me as a youth leader in a small church here in Pohnpei, FSM. Thank you, I need more to get my youths at our church more active and to follow Jesus deeply in their hearts.

    Reply
  2. Do you recommend great preaching when a church has just been planted and on 2-3 are in attendance or should the pastor focus on teaching? I just launched a church plant and I only have 2-3 and sometimes none during the service, therefore I’ve been teaching to build their faith and make them strong in the Lord. What do you recommend?

    Reply
    • Honestly, I don’t see the Bible differentiate preaching and teaching. It’s all the same thing isn’t it?

      With a small group focus on building disciples, start with a home group, make it strong, build strong relationships, raise a leader tot ake over the group so you’re free to start a second one and so on.

      I’m involved in a church planting organisation that works across Asia. I really like how they work in the Philippines – they won’t launch a church until they have 10 connect groups (home groups) with at least 10 person in each.

      This means you’ve got at least 100 people before having to start paying out for rent, utilities etc. Then once they have 10 x 10 they set a launch date 6 months in advance, find a building, hand out flyers and then they have 200 – 500 people on the first Sunday with great momentum.

      What do you think of this method of church planting? It makes sense right?

      Let me know if you have any more questions, would love to help.

      Reply
    • Hi pastor Pat,

      When God put the Levite priests in place at the Temple, He commanded them to live off of the proceeds of the Temple.

      I believe this is God’s plan even today. If the church is financially healthy enough to support the pastor then they should. If a pastor has to work part-time to supplement his or her income then this distracts him from the main purpose of the church – to make disciples.

      I think it is better, if possible, for a pastor to work for the church full-time so that they can concentrate all of their efforts in growing the church.

      Who decides what the wage of the pastor should be? Well, I think this should be down to a governing board to agree. The pastor should submit to the board. This shows transparency, accountability and financial integrity.

      Paul puts it very well in 1 Corinthians 9:9-14 (MSG version), he says this,

      “Moses wrote, “Don’t muzzle an ox to keep it from eating the grain when it’s threshing.” Do you think Moses’ primary concern was the care of farm animals? Don’t you think his concern extends to us? Of course. Farmers plow and thresh expecting something when the crop comes in. So if we have planted spiritual seed among you, is it out of line to expect a meal or two from you? Others demand plenty from you in these ways. Don’t we who have never demanded deserve even more?

      12-14 But we’re not going to start demanding now what we’ve always had a perfect right to. Our decision all along has been to put up with anything rather than to get in the way or detract from the Message of Christ. All I’m concerned with right now is that you not use our decision to take advantage of others, depriving them of what is rightly theirs. You know, don’t you, that it’s always been taken for granted that those who work in the Temple live off the proceeds of the Temple, and that those who offer sacrifices at the altar eat their meals from what has been sacrificed? Along the same lines, the Master directed that those who spread the Message be supported by those who believe the Message.

      Reply

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