Something that’s great about young churches is that many of them are pastored by ambitious individuals who are eager to learn about the best way to make their churches grow. These pastors are not bitter or bored or burnt out. They’re fresh and ready for the challenges that come their way. They’re also open to listening to the wisdom of pastors and church leaders who have gone before them. Their energy and excitement are palpable and contagious.
When meeting with these young churches, this is what we tell them they should consider:
Most likely your church is still growing into itself. The culture and the vision might not be solidified. Since you’re still establishing who you are as an organization and in the community, it is valuable to have the ability to pivot. Don’t rush into making any irreversible decisions while you’re still a young church.
We were fortunate to work with 18 of the Fastest Growing Churches in America over the last 18-24 months. Want to know what ten of them had in common? They were in portable venues (schools, movie theaters, etc.) moving to permanent facilities. Know what all of those ten had in common? Abnormally high volunteer and giving participation rates (40% or more served on average every Sunday). Is there a link between church growth and volunteer participation? You better believe it. The time when your church is first being formed and operating as a set-up and tear-down venue could be the most valuable time in terms of developing your core group of volunteers. These are the people who will be bought-in to your church vision for the long-term. Don’t rush to move past this precious time when your church family is being knit together.
This may not be a popular statement, but it has to be said. The people who start out with you, will most likely not be the same people who will take you to the next phase of your church growth. You also probably don’t have your church model completely nailed down yet. That’s okay. Take the time you need to figure it out and make do with the building that you have. Don’t rush make permanent decisions on things that you will later consider, “learning opportunities.”
The Cost/Culture Dynamic.
This is especially important when you are establishing yourself with your community and congregation. You don’t want to make a culture shift from reaching people to paying bills. This will kill any trust or identity you have established. Be ready when it’s time to go before your leaders and congregation to ask for money for a building plan. Again, don’t rush. Take the time needed to think it over, plan, and pray. Don’t make a building the most important thing in your ministry. Remember that Church is the people, not the building.
The key words here are simple: Don’t rush. Be patient as your young church finds its place in the community. Prayerfully consider the options before you. And if you think you’re ready to learn more about intelligent church growth, download our eBook below for more tips.