Seven Characteristics of Growing Churches
What is the magic formula to make a church grow in attendance? Is it a dynamic preacher? An awesome awe inspiring worship band? Is it state-of-the-art facilities? No, not necessarily. There are many churches that have these things, but still have low attendance. Indeed, there is no magic formula except the will of the Almighty Living God and the movement of his Spirit. It is by the Lord's sovereign will that one church reaches tens or perhaps hundreds and others touch thousands.
Still, church leaders of both large and small congregations have a responsibility to faithfully serve those whom God has given them. And, there are some characteristics common to churches that grow beyond the normal 100 to 200 members/attenders. This hub looks at seven characteristics that typify growing churches that honor God.
Growing Churches are Grounded in a Consistent Vision and Message
The first characteristic of a growing church is that church leadership formulates and dissimenates a consistent vision and message. When church leaders define and consistently communicate a clear cut vision and message, the people of the congregation will in turn internalize the message and over time will live it out. However, when the vision is not communicated or is constantly changing people become disoriented and uncomfortable. This is not to say that the core vision and message of the church will not shift every once in a long while; of course it will. But when the church leaders formulate and live out a consistent message then the people will feel more comfortable and stick around.
Growing Churches Passionately Preach the Word of God
The second characteristic to a growing church is the preachers and teachers are passionate about the the Word of God. They preach the Bible and are not ashamed of it. Of course, this characteristic is tied to the first one. For any message a church formulates should be founded on the Word of God. And, it does not matter much if the preachers and or teachers are eloquent speakers. It matters that they are passionate and sincerely believe what the Bible says with all their hearts.
Growing Churches Love to Celebrate God's Presence through Worship
A third characteristic common to growing churches is that they love to celebrate God's presence through inspiring and intimate worship. Like KIng David before the ark of God, leaders of growing churches yearn to bring their congregations into the glorious presence of God. They want them to know the deepest intimacy with their Lord and Savior both in the assembly and when they walk in the affairs of every day life. Like Moses stepping out of the Tent of Meeting; their faces glow from the glory of God resting in their souls. Members of growing churches love to celebrate the presence of the Living God in their lives.
Growing Churches Fellowship in Small Groups
A fourth tip to church growth is that growing churches fellowship in small groups. Leaders and lay people alike need to gather in small groups to pray and encourage one another. They meet in small groups to help one another keep the fire in their hearts burning bright. Life is full of ups and downs and each member of the church needs a safehaven of fellowship where he or she can enter into each week to share their joys annd sorrows. Sometimes the big assembly can be overwhelming and impersonal. In small groups, members of the congregation can become grounded and made to feel like a person who matters.
Growing Churches Quickly Assimilate Newcomers
A fifth characteristic of growing churches is that they are friendly to outsiders and quickly assimilate them into the church body. Church leaders love newcomers. They have a passion to reach everyone for Christ. They want everyone in the neighborhood to find faith in the Lord and loving fellowship in the body of Christ. Leaders of growing churches recognize that the Lord has uniquely fashioned each person with special gifts and abilities to share in the life and work of the church. Growing churches quickly assimilate newcomers.
Growing Churches Keep Their Leaders Accountable in Personal Life and Ministry
In the 1990s, Yorba Linda Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California was one of the fastest growing churches in Southern California. They went from less than 200 in 1985 to close to 6000 in 2001. One of the practices of the church staff and leadership was to write personal and ministry growth goals each year. Throughout the year, the executive pastor would conference with each staff member to see how they were progressing in their goals. Of course, it was all done in grace and love. Growing churches keep their leaders accountable to keep growing in personal character and ministry skills.
Growing Churches Take the Great Commission Seriously
A seventh characteristic of growing churches is that they take the great commission of Jesus Christ seriously. Before Jesus ascended into heaven, he commissioned his disciples to go out into the world and share the message of Jesus Christ with everyone from every tribe and nation. Nearly every church gives lip service to this concept, but growing churches live it out every day. They get out and love on people even if those people reject them and the message of Jesus.