I’m guessing if you’re reading this blog, you have an interest in growing your church by reaching new people. Most pastors have this desire, but many churches continue to struggle to do what is necessary to actually reach people.
Don’t get me wrong, reaching new people isn’t always easy, but we often make it harder than it needs to be. Chances are we’re all making some of the same mistakes that continue to hurt our chances of church growth.
Take a look at this list, and ask yourself where you need to improve.
- Mistake #1 – Volunteers aren’t engaging new guests.
The natural tendency for your volunteers is to only have conversations with people they already know. This is where they’re comfortable. Unless you’re intentional about pushing them to get outside their comfort zone, chances are your guests will continue to feel like outsiders.
- Mistake #2 – The children’s ministry is lacking.
You’ll never reach young families with an average children’s ministry. Parents want to go to church that values their children. You show that value by making sure they’re safe, they have fun, and they learn about Jesus.
- Mistake #3 – The church building looks run down, is dirty, and smells bad.
We have church in a building that’s around 13,000 square foot of space. Each week a team of six to eight volunteers clean it from top to bottom. This is the way we’ve done it for years. Don’t tell me you can’t keep your church clean. Cleanliness isn’t a money issue; it’s a caring issue. If you have an older facility with a lot of upkeep costs, then make sure you budget accordingly.
- Mistake #4 – The bulletin is too insider-focused.
The bulletin is normally the first communication piece a guest is given, yet very rarely is a bulletin designed with the guest in mind. Instead, it is filled with information only an insider would care about or understand.
- Mistake #5 – Guests are never told what to expect.
I’ll admit this is a tough one to get used to even for me. If you’ve spent very much time in a church, it’s easy to assume that everyone just knows what to expect. We don’t think twice about asking people to stand and sing because it’s what we’ve done for years. For someone with little to no church experience, this is strange. If you want to get an idea of what it feels like, visit a catholic church and see what it’s like. To make your guests feel a little more comfortable, take a little time to explain the why behind what you’re doing.
- Mistake #6 – Having little to no order of service.
Would anyone like to sing? Have a testimony? What about a prayer request? When you open up the service for others to participate, you open yourself up to weird and awkward things to happen. I know it’s not a popular opinion, especially where I’m from in the south, but it’s true. In most cases, you can have guests or you can have spontaneity. You can’t have both.
- Mistake #7 – The service is too long.
It may be different in other countries, but in America people always seem to be in a hurry. If they don’t have time to watch commercials, they probably don’t have time for a 90-minute service. Like it or not, most people who are new to church prefer a shorter service. Your kids’ ministry volunteers prefer a shorter service also.
- Mistake #8 – The sermon isn’t applicable to everyday life.
If you’re going to ask people to listen to you for thirty plus minutes every week, you better give them something they can take and apply to their lives. The Bible is an amazing, life-changing, God-breathed story that should inspire each of us. You should preach it in a way that people want to keep coming back for more.
Which of these mistakes is your church making? In what areas do you need to improve? Leave a comment and let us know. Also, if you ever need some help or ideas on how to get started, please reach out to me and let’s start a conversation.