February 9, 2010

EPM and church growth

I've been part of a church community for many years now, and have served as a leader in several different capacities. I want our church to grow. I want it to be successful. I want it to be full of people!

There are many reasons to be part of a faith community, many reasons to lead one, and many reasons to support one. I'll try to explore those issues (and the theology behind them!)  in this space, but I want to start with one assumption: a growing church/synagogue/mosque/temple is better than a shrinking or dying one. If your faith community is committed to growing, not dying, then each person matters.

In The Purpose-Driven Church, Rick Warren describes how each person might become more engaged in your faith community.
  • Each person in the community/neighborhood/town around your church could be reached by your events, ministries, community services, or other outreach and become part of the crowd.

  • Each person who is in the crowd could be invited to become a member of the congregation.

  • Each person in the congregation could be invited to commit to deeper study, leadership, or service.

  • Each of those committed followers could be invited to take large leadership roles, until they form the core of your organization. In the evangelical church, those core members are often the ones who are asked to serve as missionaries or to start a whole new church in a new area.

Core volunteers and superstar staff don't arrive out of the blue. They show up because, at several points along the way, they bought into your mission and were invited to take another step toward making it a reality.

If your church doesn't have enough leaders to get the work done, then you might want to start by getting some more followers!