We are all looking for a secret formula for taking our church to the next level, whether spiritually, numerically, personally, or all of the above. While there is no substitute for hard work, here are three easy practices to implement in order to positively impact your church’s growth.
Regardless of how big or small your ministry is, you should be praying daily over its direction. Specific, directed prayers can be intimidating (for a myriad of reasons), but the God we serve is both specific and direct. As He speaks to you about your ministry, be obedient. Don’t be afraid to try out that new worship song, launch that ministry outside of your comfort zone, or revamp your first time guest welcome routine.
Even if something doesn’t go as well as you had hoped, God honors your efforts. The people of this generation need to see leaders who are not afraid to fail. You want to reach this new generation of millennials? Try new things. Try them and fail; try them and succeed. Show them that you are unafraid. Your obedience will always yield fruit, even if it’s not in the way you expected.
2. Let Go.
Letting go is key to taking your church to the next level. You can’t control and micro-manage every area of ministry (this is admittedly extremely difficult). You should hire staff that you trust to hear and respond to the direction of the Holy Spirit as selflessly as possible. Give your staff the autonomy to make those decisions and support them whether or not the decision is “successful.” This will leave you with an empowered staff that trusts and respects you as a leader. Guide them; don’t micromanage them. You’ll be shocked at the ways this will take not only your staff but also your church as a whole to the next level.
If you haven’t already, become a mentor and leader to your staff and ministry volunteers, rather than a taskmaster. Develop people rather than direct them, and then let them go and watch them fly. Let go of any desire to control, and watch your ministry skyrocket.
The only way for any ministry development plan to be successful is persistent follow-through. You need to really commit to living out these principles, or you’ll end up worse off than when you started. The people serving under you will, of course, appreciate you vocalizing your desire to grow, but they will respect you for actually doing it and sticking with it when the going gets tough. And there will most certainly be moments that are tough. Trusting your Worship Leader to prayerfully choose songs that are in line with your sermon may result in something you didn’t expect. That volunteer in the first impressions ministry may end up scaring away someone with his or her "new and improved" greeting technique. But don’t let these things scare you. Provide them with guidelines for growth and constructive criticism. Commit to allowing them to continue to develop their leadership gifts and skills. See these tough moments as opportunities for you and those around you to grow, and you will never fail.
As you implement these ideals into your daily life and ministry, there will be moments of weakness and failure on your part. As with all things in life, don’t let these small setbacks discourage you from trying. It takes immense courage to step out in obedience as the Lord calls us to new things. It takes practice to learn to let go and let our leaders lead. It takes some serious gut strength to stand firmly set on a course of action when things seem to be a mess all around you. But you won’t regret doing any of these things. They will undoubtedly take you and your church to the next level.
How have you implemented these steps lately? I’d love to hear your stories below!