This past fall we opened a new sanctuary with seating for 1,000 currently, with the ability to add another 500 seats in the future. We do not want that to be the distant future however. We built because our parish had outgrown our old sanctuary and we want to keep growing.
Here are 5 ways our parish will grow in 2018:
#1. Invest & Invite
This is the simple strategy that we learned from Andy Stanley (who learned it from Jesus Christ). We actively and consistently challenge our members to invest in their unchurched friends and then, when they have an opportunity, they invite them to church. It’s simple as can be, everyone, including children can do it, and it works. Not overnight, but eventually it works.
#2. Embrace Selflessness
We want to be a church in which members are more about serving than being served. When that invest and invite strategy finally gets an unchurched person in the door, we actually want someone holding that door open for them, helping them find a seat, get their kids into kids programs. We want to be all about our unchurched guests. Our Director of Ministry, Stephanie Downes, calls it “Radical Hospitality.”
#3. Create Community
Rick Warren says it best: if we actually created churches where people loved one another, you’d have to lock the doors to keep people out. Our commitment to service and radical hospitality is to create a community of people so overwhelmed with the love of God that we joyfully love and accept the unchurched where they are, but love and point them to the Lord who will make them new.
#4. Improve Our Weekend Experience
Around here we say, “It’s all about the Weekend, Stupid!” And we’re the “stupid” because we so often and so easily lose our focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. Besides, moving into a new space, with lots of new bells and whistles, we’ve had some growing pains when it comes to production issues. We will continue to develop our weekend experience so that it is truly an “irresistible environment” in which our unchurched guests can experience the Lord.
#5. Improve and Expand Our Online Campus
Our friend Carey Nieuwhof recently had a fabulous quote we loved: “If a church leader in 2018 asks does the online congregation ‘count’ it would be like Sears asking if Amazon ‘counts’.” Our on line campus will be our largest area of growth, if we are going to grow. In 2018 we will definitely be investing in this campus.
For another take on this check out careynieuwhof.com