I was a pastor of churches for almost four decades before I became a Center Director for Evangelism, Mission, and Church Growth in the CTC.  The Biblical model of Church is growth.  Below are some random ideas I've learned and I'm still learning of the ways too many church leaders stifle growth, the natural state of the healthy Church.

  • Failing to align your staff, leadership, calendar, and budget with the mission of the Church.
  • Leave reaching people you have not already reached growth out of the mission and vision of the church.
  • Wait for people to find your church.
  • Design the churches mission around a culture that no longer exists.
  • Don’t teach your people to be invitational.
  • Think a mission or vision statement is enough.
  • Believing that decline is inevitable and cannot be reversed.
  • Thinking numbers aren’t important.  When a church declines, when a church grows, the evidence that numbers are important become very clear.  It was always much more fun to be part of a growing church.
  • Not inviting your church family to pray with you for the Church to grow, reach new people, make disciples, and experience a crowded sanctuary.
  • Acting like stewardship is not part of discipleship.
  • Fail to follow up the mission and vision of the church with money, effective preaching, teaching, and a plan that implements the mission.
  • Thinking everyone in your church are already mature disciples and don’t need to grow.
  • Build your church around the members and not the unchurched. 
  • Leave the Bible, Jesus, and the Gospel out of your church growth theme.
  • Attempt to lead your church to growth without a cohesive, biblically undergirded, prayed over, personal theology of church growth.

Forgetting that every decision, action, program, stewardship campaign, message series, new mission or ministry should be placed in a long-term context.  Its not just how this impacts this short season, but how it impacts you, the church, and the community long term. Sometimes temporary success can lead to long term failure, and sometimes a short-term failure can lead into a long-term success.  Think 10 years at a time, not just week to week.

Rev. Mike Ramsdell, Executive Director

Center for Evangelism, Mission & Church Growth