You don’t have to have a hip, happening, cool, missional, purpose-driven, mega, innovative, out of the box, or simple church to double. I am in doubling churches all the time that are not doing what a lot of books tell us we have to do.
I receive email pretty regularly from normal churches that are doubling. Here is an email I received this week:
This is the BEST e-mail you have ever sent out for 95% of the churches in America. Since you were with us a few years ago, our church has doubled in attendance, sold our church, bought new property, relocated, and built Phase 1 of our new worship center. We’ve been in the new facility three months, and we’re already maxed out in space (going to two services and two Sunday Schools on Sept. 16). We must begin Phase 2 very soon.
My point is we are a “normal” church. People are flocking to us from all backgrounds and are getting saved (because we have great outreach), from all denominations (no one cares much about that anymore), ages (because we have outstanding ministry to each age – INCLUDING college age which has quadrupled in the past year), and social classes (our millionaires don’t stand out in the crowd).
We’re normal because:
1. Our “cell ministry” is Sunday School.
2. We still sing add a hymn to our blended worship.
3. I still preach about sin, grace, redemption, heaven, hell, and the Holy Spirit (which even some of our A/G churches have soft peddled in an attempt to make us more palatable to other denominations).
4. We haven’t run off all of our senior adults (they’re the ones helping us pay the bills!)
5. I still wear a coat and tie when I preach, as do our staff pastors.
6. Etc. etc. etc. You get the idea.
Being normal does NOT mean we’re stuck in the mud, refuse to change, and live in the 1950’s. We celebrate every church’s way of doing ministry if the’re winning souls and not compromising the terms of the gospel. But, we’ve found our niche, and it works for us.
Josh, there are thousands of people in every city who are sick of the break neck speed changes their pastors are making every 6 months trying to find the right combination to grow their churches. They’re tired of wondering, “What kind of church will we be this month?” People are looking for a church where they can feel secure when they come to church. They want to know their children are safe. And they want to attend a church they can trust. In short, they want a church where they can feel the presence of the Lord.
The greatest compliment I’ve heard from visitors over the past 10 years is this, “When we walked in the door, we felt the presence of the Lord.” That was true in our first little 100 seat chapel, the storefront, our first “new” church, and I just heard that comment again last week. That’s the REAL secret to our church growth. However, you are so right–all of the other elements must be in place and done with excellence.
Here’s a great idea for you to promote–GRANDPARENT’S DAY. It is the second Sunday in Sept. Hallmark makes a big deal out of it, and we’ve capitalized on it. Last year, we had the largest attendance of the year, other than Easter. The children send handwritten invitations to their grandparents inviting them “to come watch me sing at church…” We do it all that day to showcase the kids and honor the grandparents. It’s an idea I don’t hear of anyone doing–but it will work–BIG TIME.
Thanks for the wonderful job you’re doing, Josh. I recommend you all the time to our pastors and district leaders. I appreciate your friendship. If we could mix your Baptist water with our Pentecostal fire we’d produce enough steam to win the whole world to Christ. Let’s do it!
Pastor Andy Harris
Central Assembly of God
Bossier City, Louisiana
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