Around here we like to talk about our “Rally Cry” or what our friend Patrick Lencioni calls “the thing that must be done now.”
This time last year it was obviously finishing the new church building (which we did, ahead of schedule, under budget, and with no debt). Next, it was our annual signature event, Christmas Eve at the Maryland State Fair (our biggest ever, with 10,000 in attendance), and then our REBUILT Conference (which was sold out).
As we wrap up this momentous year our Leadership Team has formed a new Rally Cry, that will carry us through the coming year. We want to grow attendance on our Ridgely Road campus and our On-Line Campus. In other words, we want to be a deliberately growing parish in the coming year. For a number of recent years we were not a growing church, because we had outgrown our building, there was no place to grow. Now we have empty seats at optimal times, as well as a balcony we one day will build out, not to mention endless growth opportunity online.
As our friend Carey Nieuwhof notes, there are differences that mark churches that are growing from churches that are not growing.
- The first difference is a difference in attitude.
And the first attitude we have to adapt is a positive view that we really can do this. We really can grow. Growing churches make a way when there’s no way, forge a path where no path existed. We have to believe we can, because we have to believe we’re going where God is blessing.
- The second difference is focus.
Declining churches focus on themselves. Growing churches focus on the people they’re trying to reach.
If our team is all about the needs and wants of our members, it’s a sign that our parish is insider focused, and it can easily happen. Growing means putting our evangelization strategy above members preferences. And that won’t always be easy or popular.
- The third difference is discipline.
Most declining churches are so busy reacting to problems other people raise or internal conflict that they never get around to charting a course for the future. To be a growing church we must be proactive in an entirely disciplined manner. We must choose and maintain agenda for growth, come what may. We know we have to focus on our growth strategies and prioritize them above everything else we want to do. In the coming year this will include an “Invest and Invite” Evangelization Campaign, better promotion of upcoming message series, including video promotion and social media, and a more intense focus on our weekend experience, including fresh efforts at guest services and hospitality. Online there will be an investment in upgraded technology.
For another take on this check out careynieuwhof.com