Weekly Reflections

Growing a Church 21 Nov 10

Growing a Church

I was at a meeting of one of the Mission Plan groups this week and we discussed what was necessary for an established church in Perth to start growing again. The question is important because most churches plateau soon after they start. Although there is a turn-over of people and small fluctuations in attendance, most churches don’t keep growing.

In a one congregation-one minister model like ours there is a numerical limit of around 80 – 100 people (quite apart from the obvious physical limits of the building).  The reasons for this are fairly well known and are mostly related to relationships: people  want to know and be known by the minister.

What is needed to grow beyond these limits? Here are some ideas. What do you think?


1. A desire to grow (this is code for a willingness to give up any of the treasures we have become used to).

2. Meeting in (multipliable) smaller meetings of the church (say up to a dozen) so everyone can know and be known by one of the leaders – and can minister to each other through the Word of God.

3. Multiplying the main Sunday meeting if the building is effectively full (this means 80% of the seats are usually filled) by starting different services.

4. Using a variety of ways to help people hear the gospel and connect with Christians. This can be thought of in terms of a series of concentric circles, with the centre circle made up of committed believers. Outer circles give non-members opportunities to meet Christians and to be involved in some church activities such as a fete, Mainly Music, or Carols in the Park. Closer in are events such as a FAQS night or Alpha which allow them to hear and discuss the gospel itself. The main idea here is to help people move closer to the centre, not just to keep attending at the same level all the time.

5. Encouraging each other to be praying for opportunities to share the gospel and to act in the name of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. (This is code for committed prayer that the gospel will be heard through us).

6. The conversion of many regular and part-time attenders to become full-time members of Christ’s body and off-the-bench players in his mission team.

7. The provision and encouragement, by the leaders, of opportunities to take part in ministries that help the church grow.