Four secrets to Church Growth

First published on: 9th October 2018


As Church Leaders we’ve all been there; we notice a new person or a new family in Church for the first time. Initially we go through the mental checks to make sure they actually are new and you’ve not just forgotten who they are, and then you get the little flutter of excitement and begin to wonder whether this is the first sign of a great revival coming to your town. However, the next Sunday rolls around and a pang of disappointment sets in as unfortunately the new person from last week hasn’t returned.

I’m well aware that conversations about Church growth, programme development and Church Statistics can all sound very corporate and far from the powerful and dynamic movement that’s described in the book of Acts. But at the same time, if we’re truly taking the great commission of Matthew 28 seriously and giving our all to fulfill it, we need to be considering all factors. So here are 4 tips to consider transforming Church Visitors into Church Members and increasing your retention rate.

Feeling over function:

Consider; what is the Church to you? Is it the building, is it the meeting and the procedures and practices you go through or is it the community and people or maybe even something else? What is it that people are visiting, what are the key features of this. Don’t become so focused on getting through the programme and ‘doing Church’ that you forget to ‘be Church’.

“Do I belong here? How do I feel as a visitor and guest? Do I understand what is happening? Do I feel welcome and acknowledged?” These are all questions that guests will be asking themselves. How can you answer those questions?

Do we focus too much on gathering information in order to follow up at the cost of actually making the guest want a follow up? Having a great follow up procedure is important, but chances are the guest will have made up their mind as to whether or not they like the Church and whether they want to come back within the first few minutes of walking through the doors! Certainly long before the worship experience has begun!


Know the Guest

What is your community around your Church like? Is the Church community reflective of this community? If not, don’t worry! If your Church has a different demographic make-up to the community around you, it may struggle to seem relevant to those on the doorstep. Many Churches have a large percentage of their membership travel into the gatherings from outside the immediate community. This is great and shows amazing commitment from those members, but maybe consider why God has planted this Church where it is. What can you do to tap into the world on your doorstep?  

Like attracts like; If you want to be a family Church, how are you promoting this? Are you utilising the families in your Church at the moment? In the same way, if you’re seeking to increase the younger generations in the Church, but all they see from the ‘front’ or Pulpit are older people, are they going to feel like they belong? Maybe this a great chance to give an opportunity to a member of your youth group to host the service, or someone else to step up.


Consider the visitor journey

This may seem very corporate, but first impressions really matter! The journey to sitting down in the Church Hall begins long before the guest walks through the door.

From research on the website through to parking the car, finding the entrance, booking Children into child care (if this is provided) all the way to the actual welcome, all of this builds up how the guest will feel when they sit in the hall.

Firstly, how accessible is the information for your Church? Is it hidden away on an obscure web page or a flyer on a notice board? With the recent explosion in popularity of social media, you can broadcast the key information for your Church. Grab the reader’s attention and give them what they need to know. Consider the physical approach to the Church too. How tidy is the street? If you have a Car park, is it well laid out and tidy? We’ve heard of Churches who make it a role for a team to litter pick the local area, not just to bless their town, but because the first impression makes a difference!

If you really want to grow in this area, don’t be afraid of asking for feedback too. Ask a guest honestly how they found the whole experience. Maybe even ask friends to be a ‘mystery shoppers’ for your Church!    


“I will build my Church”

Chances are, we all know the scripture. In Matthew Chapter 16 - Jesus says that ‘He will build his Church’, we need to submit all of our processes and procedures to Him. It’s his Church and he chooses to include us in his plan for restoration. Everything we’ve discussed above is important and should all be considered; but at the same time, ultimately it’s God who builds the Church. Let’s not take him out of the equation.


And there we have it. 4 ways to turn your Church Visitors into Members. We’d love to hear it if you’ve got any more suggestions! Let us know how you’ve found this journey...


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