Church growth has been on the decline for many years, but there has been a recent uptick in congregation members in the last year. However, attendance still remains lower than it was before the pandemic.
If you’re struggling to fill your church chairs with members, we’ll explain a few ideas that can help boost your attendance.
Understanding Church Growth
Church growth strategies revolve around a basic understanding of why growth and contraction occur in the first place. An entire book on this topic was published in the 1970s by Donald A. McGavran to help understand why growing patterns change so much.
In essence, there are three main types of growth that can occur:
- Biological growth, which is when couples enter a church community together. Churches cannot rely 100% on children of members becoming long-term members because there are too many variables at play that can cause these would-be members to go somewhere else.
- Transfer growth, which occurs when one congregation loses members to another. You cannot rely on this trend because people may transfer from your church to another one in the area, causing your membership to contract.
- Conversion growth, which is what the author of the book recommends that churches focus on in the long term. You can and should try to reach people who are outside of the church and convert them into believers.
Now that you understand all of the ways that church growth can occur, it’s important to look “within your church” for improvement ideas.
Church improvement ideas
Many of the ideas for church growth revolve around improving the space. We’ll be covering this in greater detail in just a moment, but before you can focus on the space, it’s even more important to review and adapt your worship experience.
Enhancing Worship Experience
Worship is an experience, and it must hit on the key pain points of your congregation. You can enhance the service in a few ways:
- Add screens to the room to allow people far away from the pastor to be able to see and hear what they’re saying
- Invest in better audio equipment if people are struggling to hear the pastor
- Create intimate environments for worship groups and to study the bible in smaller groups
You never want to be afraid to embrace technology when trying to grow your church. Email and text are more common in church settings and should be embraced, too.
You can enhance the worship experience by reaching out to members when you know that they have hard times. Even a weekly prayer newsletter can help your congregation feel more connected to one another.
Community Engagement Activities
Fresh ideas for church growth should include community engagement. If you want to bring in new believers and convert them, you need to show that you are a part of the local life. A lot of churches rely on their service alone to grow their congregation. This is a mistake.
Instead, you’ll want to:
- Hold local fundraisers and events for people who are in need in your area. For example, if a family had their home burn down, you could work to help them by raising money, collecting donations and providing food.
- Work with the local hospital to go around the space and pray with patients and their families.
- Run food pantries that help people in financial need put food in their stomachs.
If you help the local community, you’ll show how powerful the church is and what your true intent is as a congregation.
Church Building and Aesthetics
A beautiful church is one that attracts members organically. However, there’s also a lot to say about the “underdog,” who may have started their own church but doesn’t have the financials to outfit the space like some of the mega-churches.
Perhaps you want to add church chairs or church pews to create a certain aesthetic in space.
Work with your members to:
- Create ideas of what the church’s aesthetics should be
- Hire members to do the work
- Raise money for the changes you have in mind
If you’re able to get your congregation to be a major part of your building’s new look and feel, they’ll have an emotional attachment that keeps them coming back week after week.
One of the ideas for church growth that is often overlooked is technology integration. Many churches are finding that growth is higher when they offer:
- In-person service
- Online service
You can and should begin live streaming your service to attract people to your service who may otherwise not attend. Churches can even accept donations online, which is a great way to keep church coffers full.
Children and Youth Programs
You can boost church growth with youth programs. Bible school is a very common option because it empowers you to:
- Teach children the word of God and help them read scripture
- Attract new, younger members
- Keep spreading the Word and allowing your religion to grow
Many families that have children will pick a church that has youth programs over one that does not. If you offer these programs, you may end up being a top choice for families with children in your area.
Inclusivity and Accessibility
Evangelism programs will help grow your church membership through outreach. These programs can organize events that help the church achieve its evangelism goals.
One of the underappreciated ways to grow the church is to offer inclusivity and accessibility. Older members or those with disabilities must do a lot of research when choosing a sanctuary to attend because it’s much harder for them to attend services.
If you offer wheelchair ramps and church chairs with arms or that are higher, you’ll make it much easier for these members to attend.
You want to attract people of all:
Accessible churches should have spaces for members in wheelchairs and also work on outfitting the bathroom to create an accessible space.
If you want to grow your church, you must balance faith and financial stewardship. What is stewardship? You have the responsibility to manage the church in a way that is moral and ethical.
You must make prudent decisions with the church’s finances because your members are the ones who help you remain open.
On top of managing finances wisely, you’ll need to:
- Run fundraising events
- Invest in the church
- Create annual budgets
- Work to meet financial goals
A lot goes into running a congregation efficiently. If you take the time to keep your church’s finances as transparent as possible and the coffers full, you’ll be well on your way to being a good financial steward.
Church growth is something you’ll need to work on routinely to keep new members coming into your church. If you follow the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to building the best community possible within your congregation.