Before I came to work with Infinity Concepts, I was an executive pastor at a large multi-campus church. One of my main responsibilities was to develop strategies and initiatives to grow the church. Over the years I realized it wasn’t just one thing that caused growth to occur, but several components working together. It’s what I call the Net Principle.
The Net Principle is derived from Luke chapter 5 when Jesus instructed Simon to let down his nets for a catch. As a result of Simon’s obedience, he experienced a boat-sinking, net-breaking catch of fish! That’s increase!
A net is made of multiple fibers woven in a grid-like structure, therefore, I realized I needed to employ multiple initiatives, programs, and efforts to help grow the church. Often, I speak with church leaders who are looking for one marketing campaign to open the floodgates of visitors, but it takes casting a net of multiple initiatives to cause sustainable and lasting growth.
7 NET ELEMENTS TO EXAMINE FOR CHURCH GROWTH
For any church to grow, a steady flow of visitors needs to be coming in. Special events, guest speakers, radio and TV ads, social media marketing, mailings, broadcast phone calls, touch cards, etc. are ways to get the word out about your church. Many of these don’t require a large budget to do! The key here is consistency. Frequency of impressions is vital for an effective marketing effort. 5% of a growing church’s total weekend attendance should be from 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time visitors. Remember the Net Principle – use multiple marketing channels. I am a big proponent of social media marketing, but not everyone is on social media, so this is why you use other marketing channels in tandem with social media to reach as many people as possible.
2. THE CHURCH SERVICE EXPERIENCE
Evaluate your church service experience often. Arrange for church secret shoppers to visit and give you honest and frank feedback. Or call your visitors from the last 6 months and ask them for their feedback. You may be surprised by what you hear. Of course, there is no perfect church and you can’t make everyone happy, but always develop an attitude of listening and commitment to improve. Are the parking lot attendants out in the parking lot just chit-chatting? Is the music too loud? Did the visitors feel you were a friendly church? Are all your branding points (every point you interact with the public) all communicating the same message?
Do you have programs in place to follow-up with visitors? Are you reaching out to regular attendees who haven’t been at church for the last 2 or 3 weeks? When a church reaches over 200, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember who hasn’t been at church, so make sure to have systems in place to follow-up with people. Follow-up takes a lot of effort. Proverbs 27:23 says be diligent to know the condition of your flock. Follow-up helps close the backdoor.
What percentage of your church is participating in small groups or actively volunteering? A healthy church does a good job in moving visitors to becoming regular attendees, from regular attendees to active volunteers, from active volunteers to leaders. Without an awareness of assimilation, you will struggle to accurately determine the retention rate of your church and its ministries.
5. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
If your leadership base is not growing, not just numerically, but developing their leadership skills, then the church will only grow to the capacity of its leader base. Implement a leadership development program that helps discover leaders, then develop, train, and release them to function as leaders in the church.
6. GROWTH MINISTRIES
Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, Men’s and Women’s Ministries are ministries that can be entry points for new visitors and help with retention and engagement of the church family — ultimately contributing to the growth of the church. Therefore, it is critical to examine each of these ministries to ensure they are vibrant and effective.
For a growing church, communicating all the great activities, programs, and events becomes vitally important. Cool video announcements during the service is one way, but remember the Net Principle – use multiple communication channels. A bulletin, regularly updating the website, a weekly e-bulletin, broadcast phone call, social media, etc. are helpful channels to keep the church family informed and aware.
In my experience, it took time, a lot of hard work, and a focused staff to mend our net and repair the holes that we discovered existed. Over the years, more elements were added to the net that helped grow the church into a multi-campus church with thousands of people in attendance.
But start with the above 7 essential elements and prepare to cast your net to bring in a harvest of growth for your church or ministry!
Let us know if Infinity Concepts can help your church growth experience today!
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