When we first started Ignite Church five years ago we had the privilege of having a Christian family come to join us who loved the Elim Church. It wasn’t long though before they realised that we aren’t the same sort of Elim Church that they attended a couple of decades ago.
We would have loads of discussions about how wrong I was doing it, and that was fine because I’m a big boy and I can take some stick.
Within a few months of being in Lincoln and ministering the first daughter got grappled by Jesus and started attending Church. Then three grandsons became Christians, and step-grandson. After that another daughter became a Christian. Then just recently another daughter came to know Jesus as her own personal Saviour and friend.
We all like the way that the new Elim Church works now, and we’re all learning and growing together. Here’s the thing, at some point the lives of those that have come to know Jesus in the Church you lead should show some sort of growth and change, and if it does the family and friends of said person will soon start to realise that something is happening.
My final key to growing past twenty-five and consolidating what you have around you already is to get the families of those you lead saved. This can take months, but it will most likely take years.
Some thoughts for if you aim your ministry at the families of those you already lead consist of:
- Don’t get involved in family squabbles. They always make up and you’re always the outsider. If you badmouth one person to another, even by accident, you’ll lose the lot. When they have a fight, stay clear.
- Sometimes you’ve got to be gentle. Just hold lots of family days and opportunities for people to bring their friends and families without spending all your cash, and without making it a religious ceremony. The chances are that your Church members are probably already really intense with their faith. You can just be the normal guy/girl that doesn’t preach at them all the time.
- When it’s time make the big call. Invite them to that Evangelistic event and preach the Gospel.
- Stay available. People aren’t dumb. If you only show an interest in them when they are in your building or when you have an event on, they will actually believe that you only care about them sitting in your Church on Sunday mornings, and we all know that this isn’t really true. We just act like it sometimes by accident because we’re insensitive.
- Finally, when they ask for you, don’t send your assistant. People want to see the Pastor because they are scared, upset or in need. If I want to see the manager of Tesco, then I’ll feel like the whole organisation doesn’t respect me if he fobs me off and sends me to a store assistant. If you don’t physically have enough time for everyone, you need to elevate your assistant until people start asking for them instead.
I’ve spoken over this series about how to consolidate and stabilise what you’re doing in order to grow beyond a barrier in numbers. Believe it or not there are several of these barriers and they are hard to get past for several reasons. We’ve planted three Churches in our city, and we’re in the process of launching a forth. It’s a joy to see that they all go through little growth spurts at different times, and so the Church across the city is in a constant season of growth.
If I can give you a final bit of advice, it is to carry on with your strategy until God says otherwise, then follow him whole-heartedly. This year I felt it was time to stop preaching in our series and move back to the old Pentecostal way of doing things. We followed God and we’ve increased by nearly 40% already this year. Our goal was 30% based on what we did last year.
Be blessed and be brave! Follow God on his mission, don’t ask him to join in with your mission.