The world needs the influence of the church more than ever before. And, at least in Western culture, the church faces many significant struggles as it seeks to influence its surrounding culture.
The solution, at its root, is to plant, grow, and build as many healthy, vibrant local churches possible — churches that believe and teach the biblical Good News about Jesus.
In other words, the growth of the church is for the good of the entire world, so your church needs to grow!
There are plenty of answers in terms of systems and methodologies, models and approaches. But before we go about the reshaping of the structure or ministry of a church, we first need to experience a change in our mindset.
You must develop an unshakable conviction about growth.
An opinion is something you’ll argue about; a conviction is something you’ll die for.
You need to settle the issue that God wants his church to grow. All living things grow. If a church is alive, it grows. Growing a healthy church is hard work, and unless you clarify your convictions, you’re going to be tempted to give up.
You have to develop this conviction because:
- God commands growth. He did so through the Great Commission.
- People demand it. The world is desperately looking for an authoritative message in a humble personality. That combination is irresistible.
You must change the primary role of the pastor from minister to leader.
What’s the difference? In leadership, you take the initiative; in ministry, you respond to the needs of others.
When someone calls and you pick up the phone, that’s ministry. When you pick up the phone and call someone, that’s leadership. Typically, you learn ministry skills in seminary, but you learn leadership skills in seminars.
Pastoring is a balance. Here are five skills you must learn if your church is going to grow:
- Learn to communicate your vision.
- Learn the ability to motivate through messages.
- Learn how to equip for ministry. If you don’t learn how to coach, you will not be able to equip. And if you do not equip, you will burn out in ministry.
- Learn how to raise money. Those who write the agenda must also be able to underwrite it.
- Learn the skill of managing your time and energy.
You must organize around the gifts of your people.
In the New Testament, there isn’t a clear, thorough organizational pattern provided for the church.
It doesn’t tell us how to organize the church or give us job descriptions for deacons or elders. Why did God leave the structure so vague? So that it could fit in every culture and every age.
You must build your church around the gifted people God has already given you. Whatever God wants your church to do at this moment, the talent is already there.
All of this amounts to believing that the church should grow, that the pastor should lead its growth, and that every member is responsible to carry out the ministry that grows it.
The world needs us to do this now more than ever!