Wednesday, April 16, 2008
From Church Leaders Intelligence
Church Growth Barriers
As megachurches grow larger, smaller churches are struggling. Many churches deal with the same inevitable growth barriers that keep them from filling their pews and reaching more for Christ. “They essentially find themselves stuck,” says Nelson Searcy, lead pastor of The Journey Church in NYC.
The most fundamental barrier churches face is space. When a room reaches 70% of its seating capacity, it’s full. Searcy observes that most churches face growth barriers when attendance reaches 65, 125, 250, 500 and 1,000.
The second barrier is self-development. If the church’s leaders have stopped maturing spiritually and progressing personally, the congregation is not far behind.
Barrier #3 is focus. Churches stop growing when they become inwardly (instead of outwardly) focused. Healthy churches should have a 5:100 ratio of first-time guests to regular attendees.
Weekly worship service can be growth barrier #4. Searcy calls it “the front door” through which people get their first impression of the church. “To keep your service strong, always try to look like a church twice your size,” he advises.
Barrier #5 is often staff. Many pastors want to put off staff hires until they have the money in place to support the positions. This seems practical, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. Searcy says, “You will never have enough money in advance to hire the staff you need.”