One of the most powerful tools God has used to grow Saddleback Church in profound ways over the last several decades has been the spiritual growth campaign.
We usually move through seven or eight major sermon series per year, which gives us the chance to cover all five of the purposes of God for the church. Typically, two of those series are what we refer to as spiritual growth campaigns.
These campaigns have been responsible for thousands of baptisms and tens of thousands of spiritual decisions, as well as major waves of growth for our church.
One of our campaigns always happens in the spring while the second is in the fall, when people are finding their routines and starting to re-engage after summer vacation season has ended.
The end of summer, for us, is always a season of preparation for the fall campaign.
1. Identify the areas of growth your church needs most.
In a season of prayer and reflection, look back on the series you’ve preached in the last couple of years and identify areas that might have been neglected or opportunities that need a fresh focus.
We’ve dedicated campaigns to going deeper into the Word, stretching our faith in daring ways, experiencing renewal through prayer, and of course, living purpose driven lives.
2. Mobilize the whole congregation to pray.
While you’re still a couple of months away from the start of the campaign, share your vision for the upcoming season with the core leaders and volunteers of your church and challenge them to begin to pray for renewal and growth during the campaign.
Closer to the launch of the campaign, lead the entire body to be praying earnestly for God’s Spirit to move through the campaign. Absolutely nothing is more vital to a successful campaign than depending entirely on God’s power through prayer.
3. Recruit and train potential small group hosts.
When it comes to small groups, we don’t look for expert leaders or Bible scholars. Instead, we look for people willing to do four things:
- Have a heart for people
- Open their homes
- Serve a snack
- Turn on a video
We produce a video-based small group study for everyone to use, which keeps the entire congregation on track together and makes it easier for people to begin hosting their own groups.
Just before the campaign begins, we host a gathering for potential new group hosts for a night of training and inspiration, which gives another opportunity to share the vision for the campaign with key leaders.
4. Plan the series with your creative team.
The more advanced notice your team has about the messages in the series, the better they can plan for high-impact services.
If you’re sharing stories of life change during the series, you can interview people and edit their videos in advance. If you’re going to utilize creative visuals, you can work ahead and get materials ready in advance. Your worship leaders may even want to write or find songs to support the theme of the campaign.
It’s never too early to start getting ready for the fall, and the downtime of summer affords a little extra preparation time for the wave of growth that the fall season can bring.