TEN CONDITIONS FOR CHURCH GROWTH
Gordon McDonald The church is facing whether it has the faith and energy to break through a natural growth ceiling. Many churches fail to take the steps needed, and they flatten out at that plateau. Later they may move into a state of slow decline both in numbers and vitality. The plateau is when a congregation reaches a regular attendance of 1 ! in its ma"or services. # second plateau is attained at $ !% !!. &till a third appears somewhere in the range of ' ! ( 1,!!!. )aving broken through a plateau or ceiling, a church usually begins a steady trend toward the ne*t ceiling. There the same kind of trauma sets in again until people feel certain of themselves and God+s leading. , am convinced that a large ma"ority of the following conditions must be in force within a congregation, or whatever growth there is will be forced and probably temporary. To be sure, a church can grow on the singular strength of a charismatic personality or a local situation in which there is an influ* into the community or a kind of momentary programming fad. -ut is this the kind of growth we wish. /ertainly not0 1e seek honest, long%range growth in which disciples are being shaped in the image of 2esus /hrist. Condition 1: _____________________ # growing congregation has somehow made a decision that it will pro"ect a ministry to its people built not on the present but the future. This means that it builds structures, hires pastoral staff, and sets in motion programs ba ed on anticipated !ro"th, not actual growth. The same, obviously, could be said about buildings and programs. -uilding for growth in terms of staff, space, and strategy is an act of faith. -ut as in miracle of the fishes, 2esus fills only those nets that are out of the boat and in the water. # church wishing to grow builds space, staff, and strategy today for tomorrow+s needs. Condition #: 3333333333333333333333 1hen a "et plane crashes through the sound barrier, it sets up an aerodynamic tension. 4ngineers tell me they must design an airplane for this possibility. Many churches are based on a constitutional and programmatic structure put together when they were one%fifth their present si5e. They wonder why growth is not taking place, and the answer may lie in that yesterday+s configuration makes them incapable of crashing the growth barriers. # larger church re6uires centrali5ed policy making but decentrali5ed policy implementation. 2ohn Gardner, in an article on organi5ational renewal, said that a growing organization reviews its constitutional and strategic structure annually with an eye to changing virtually anything that limits growth and efficiency. Today a church should be willing to change anything except its doctrinal distinctive . ,t should be prepared to conclude any program the minute it does not reach its expected potential. #nd it should be prepared to put into action anything wise leaders feel can work to achieve biblical objectives for the health of the believers.
o one has to know everyone< "ust make sure you are a member of a subcongregation. The 6uestion of e*cellence is fre6uently confused with )ollywoodism. The choir of a church can be a subcongregations. or professional interests.Conditional $: 333333333333333333333333 The instant a church pushes through a ceiling of 1 !. the more subcongregations will appear. read. The greater hidden need in many churches may be in the area of administrative coordination. #llowing un6ualified people to carry out leadership functions simply because 9everyone ought to have a chance: cannot work in a large church. and the subcongregational structure allows for relationships within a large church. the person in 6uestion should be e*posed to other opportunities in which his or her gifts can be better used and appreciated. . business. youth staff workers. . The work of God cannot be represented by anything less than the standard to which the culture is accustomed. it needs to make sure that participants in ma"or services sing.: The 2erusalem church was obviously a large church. =nly after the pastor has begged and ca"oled. and the evangelistic calling team are subcongregations. music. music. it consists of at least two or more subcongregations. and lead at the highest possible caliber. These are groups with an affinity7geographical location. A sensitive and prayerful leadership will―in conjuction with the pastor―determine the need for staff well ahead of the panic moment. only after he has worked himself into e*haustion is the congregation willing to respond. but the fact is that a growing church has newcomers each week who are making long%range decisions on first impressions. &habbiness in preaching. and programming will 6uench a growing church+s momentum every 6uickly. Many churches wait far too long to implement this.: Condition %: 33333333333333333333333333 Growing churches must give serious attention to the multiple%staff concept. Condition &: 3333333333333333333333333333 #s a church grows larger.: the answer is simple8 9. similar tasks within the church structure or shared similarities of age. They are the basis of fellowship for each believer. administration.
. children. education. .n addition to senior pastor of some kind must be appointed for every >!! regularly attending persons. @outh is one e*ample. and its subcongregations met 9from house to house.f reasonable e*cellence cannot be achieved. 9The church is getting so large . The point is this8 the larger a church becomes. am aware that . &unday school teachers. &o are the young married group and the senior adult class. They are confronted with e*cellence every day of the week in entertainment. don+t know everyone. 1hen someone says. administration. ?sually a church responds to the most critical need on the surface. # good formula for multiple staffing is this8 . and community.o one can relate to more than forty or fifty people anyway. &taff pastors offer a church speciali5ed styles of ministry8 youth. shall never convince all the skeptics on this one.
am talking about at least two things8 membership that is not cheap. . there will be growth. classes. The preaching must be biblical in base. and membership that compels involvement. and confrontational in terms of re6uiring a constant series of decisions about personal living standards and relationships. Eull%spectrum education implies not only a massive effort toward good teaching.t provides a curriculum in which all parts of the -ible and /hristian doctrine are e*amined. &hort%term artificial growth can be achieved by making membership a simple matter. #nd it offers practical courses on ethics and ideas. applicable to life. This is not "ust &unday school. # growing church sets high standards for anyone wishes to identify with the church family. am convinced that most #merican churches demand a one%man pulpit ministry that systematically teaches the 1ord of God.t makes every wise effort to ascertain a person+s personal relationship to God and God+s people. =ver a long period of lAtime. .
. . Deople need to know how they should live and how they should cope with the pressures crushing down upon them each week. Condition (: 333333333333333333333333 Growth in numbers must be accompanies with total commitment to church education. and confrontations with the needs of the church.t is education aimed at every human being in the church. -ut long%term growth depends upon whether or not the senior minister can preach well enough to feed the inner spirits of worshipers. but it demands that no reasonable costs be avoided to provide the most comfortable and effective learning facilities. . Eull%spectrum education includes classes and learning e*periences for new /hristians as well as mature /hristians. it cannot be shared by a team of preachers Balthough they are few unusual e*periments across the country that speaks to the contraryC. /hurches can grow for a period on the basis of attractive programs< they can momentarily benefit from the work of specialists being flown in for special functions. to the most aged member sitting in a class on -ible e*position.t tests integrity through interviews. beginning with four%week%old infants. although it begins there. . #nd it is not education targeted only at children. Long%term real growth cannot happen without everyone involved in /hristian education. 1hen there is a pulpit giving honest answers to real%life 6uestions based on e*position from God+s 1ord. but long%term growth cannot happen unless the 6uality of members is ensured. . it is a ministry that comes from one preacher. Condition ): 33333333333333333333333333 1hen . although it includes term. -asically. speak of a disciplined membership. who are brought to a warmly lit and comfortable nursery to gain their first impressions of church.Condition ': 333333333333333333333333333 Long%term real church growth rests heavily on a systematic ministry of preaching that feeds people. where /hristianity challenges the modern world view.
%rowth demands it.f he is genuine in his love and capable of e*pressing it. and that churches everywhere might grow.genuinely hope for your success. -ut it begins with the leadership. #s the disciples put nets into a sea seemingly bereft of fish.o church has ever been blessed by God+s &pirit if it restricted its decision making to the obvious and 9safe:. They step forth in faith. .then I will rejoice in your success.plan for your success. the effect will be contagious.#n involved membership is also part of discipline.7Gil Beers
. 1hen they find it in a church fellowship. or professional difficulty. They are not the result of one person who wishes to build an organi5ational momentum to himself.ntidote for En/0 If I think about your success. and work for your success. that more might be won to 2esus /hrist.old De-i ion /hurch growth is ultimately accomplished in a climate of faith. and God responds. they are the believing decisions made by a prayerful leadership of men and women of faith who are trusting God for great things. )here these conditions prevail" the plateaus of growth are easily passed . This condition begins with the pastor" who must show a sincere and honest love for people. Condition *: 3333333333333333333333333333 (o church that is relationally cold will grow for very long.ord" and where he leads it will be his concern. Members should be e*pected to contribute at least four things8 ( ! their loyalty to the major services of the church" (#! their willingness to use their spiritual gifts when called upon" ($! their financial gifts on a proportional basis to %od&s blessing in their lives" and ('! their positive and encouraging support of church leaders.n a world that tends to e*ploit and dominate. +old decisions are made by people who are not totally sure of the results" but they know their church belongs to the . %rowing churches must find ways to break people down into small caring groups7perhaps different from subcongregations % where immediate attention can be given when a person faces a need caused by sickness. 1armth can be easily engendered in a large congregation as well as in a small one. The church grows more significant to all of us as society becomes more anti%/hrist. so the church is called upon by %od to make bold moves to which %od can respond with power and approval. death. The relational emphasis must pervade the church program. . they wish to be part of it. Gather. 1e cannot wait another moment< we must bring these conditions to pass than more might hear. . %rowth cannot happen without this. . Condition 1+: . -old decisions are not stupid ones. people crave to be loved. . emphasi5ing the family structure and meaningful friendships that support people in times of need. *aith demands the willingness to take large risks" which aren&t really risks at all . )ith such a relational emphasis" no one will ever feel lost" unneeded" unloved.pray for you success.