Church growth can be exciting, but also challenging. As well-known Redeemer Presbyterian Church pastor Tim Keller observes, “Size has an enormous impact on how a church functions ... The ‘size-culture’ profoundly affects how decisions are made, how relationships flow, how effectiveness is evaluated, and how its staff operates.
While many aspects of a growing church might change, one area leaders will unquestionably need to review and adjust is how they manage their ministry. Church consultant Deborah Ike compares that effort to repairing and maintaining the foundational elements of a building, such as plumbing and heating. “We don’t think about those items in the buildings we work and worship in until they aren’t functioning properly,” she writes. “In a similar fashion, the management side of ministry isn’t often noticed unless it’s not working well ... As a congregation grows, a system that used to be effective may now be insufficient.”
Churches in growth mode need to examine and potentially revise and update a variety of management and operational processes and procedures, she suggests. Among them are:
- Financial processes
Following is further food for thought about reviewing and improving in those three areas to support a growing church.
Specifically, as Ike points out, what financial systems or policies do you need to change to handle more donations and expenditures? When it comes to donations, e-Giving can help. In addition to offering ease and convenience to church members, staff members will spend less time processing checks and making bank deposits. That leaves them free to address the other challenges and issues growth brings, such as welcoming new members and recruiting more volunteers.
It’s critical that you communicate your mission, vision and goals — particularly if they’ve changed as you’ve grown. But you can’t forget about the nuts and bolts; your members need to know about the latest programs and activities, too. A plan that covers what, when and how you communicate can keep you organized and on track. In addition, a plan makes your communication intentional and consistent, which becomes even more important during times of change.
As you expand, digital tools such as text, emails, social media and blogs can be more effective than paper for informing large numbers of people. Keep in mind that communication and donations often go hand in hand. When people understand the impact of their giving and have multiple (simple) ways to give regularly, they may give more, and more frequently.
In today’s world, people look for technology that’s up to par, and church members are no different. Many want to see the same technology in their worship environment that they find in their homes and offices, and updated tech can be attractive to both new members and old.
With that in mind, is it time for a sound system upgrade? What about your video screens and projection system? Do you videotape your sermons and post them online, or offer livestreaming? Can members give to you electronically, with the same methods they pay for things online? Do your facilities offer digital signage to help people find classes and activities? Remember your outdoor signs, too; digital options offer flexibility and are outward indications that the inside of a church is up to date.
You can wait until your church is bursting at the seams to focus on these areas, or review how you operate your church now. Does your church need help to prepare for and manage growth? Check out our suggestions for a 6-step strategic plan.