Six Strategies for Successful Churches

Here are six key principles that will facilitate church growth through practical, welcoming facilities, excellent staff and high-quality programs. As Christian architects and church-growth consultants, we have made the following observations about effective churches and ministries.

1. They send an intentional message.

The most successful churches are the most intentional churches. They have clearly articulated goals and they do everything with intention, purpose and passion to meet those goals.

Successful churches don’t take anything for granted and intentionally evaluate every part of their ministry—buildings, staff and programs. They constantly work to realize the goals of the church.

Long before anyone in your community meets you or is impacted by any of your ministries your buildings have sent a clear message to everyone. Be sure it’s the message you intend.

Attractive buildings are just that. “Attract”-ive. They attract people in a favorable way. It makes people want to be there in your environment.

Ask yourself this: is your campus facilitating ministry or is it an obstacle to overcome? If it’s not helping you, it’s hurting you.

You may not even realize how your buildings affect others. You have gotten so used to what you have, you don’t even see it anymore. But your campus may be a turn-off to the people in your community.

2. They focus on relationships.

Nearly all of the pastors interviewed by Outreach Magazine in their latest “100 Fastest Growing Churches” special issue reported that they are intentionally relational and it trumps pretty much everything else.

It was a strong theme throughout - relationships, relationships, relationships!

Churches that want to grow will make space for relationships to grow.

Instead of so many classrooms with just four walls, a folding table and hard chairs, it’s time to start thinking about comfortable conversation areas and places for small groups to meet and enjoy a meal together.

Even McDonalds, long the champion of hard surfaces everywhere?has started building more attractive buildings.

Their hard surfaces are purposeful so people will leave quicker! Yikes! Is that why our Bible classes are struggling?

Corporations do not spend money on things that have no return. Starbucks, Panera, and many others provide attractive spaces for getting together for a reason. Because it attracts people!

Why not try that at your church? It would make a huge difference in the your church’s growth.

(And by the way, are your classrooms up to date? Do you have computer/internet capabilities with screens and projection so teachers can take advantage of the most compelling teaching strategies? Do you have “intelligent classrooms”?

Just asking...)

3. They have long-range plans.

Successful churches have already made their plans for this the fall, this Christmas and all other major activities at least through the end of school year 2013-14. And they likely have their big events planned through 2014- 2015. Winning churches know it?takes time to develop and execute projects and activities of any kind and especially where volunteers must be recruited, organized and trained for specific tasks.

They know that big events call for funding to be available in the months preceding the event and they plan for that as well.

Even more important, they know they need time to communicate the vision and build consensus and support for their plans.

Yes, you can beg and “guilt trip” people into helping with last minute plans, but they will frequently burn out. A clear vision for the future that people can buy into produces better serving and longer lasting volunteers.

4.  They take reasonable risks.

Successful churches realize that providing ministry to people today is more important than avoiding all risk.

Buildings play a? crucial part in? ministry and? effective churches ?understand that.?They plan well and? aren’t afraid of reasonable risks to do what God has called them to do.

Successful churches think that having the buildings that explode growth and provide space for new ministries - especially now with historically low interest rates - is more important than avoiding reasonable debt.

Growing churches do not operate from fear-based motives.

Borrowing to build is a reasonable risk because it creates an asset and upgrades the value of your property.

Waiting to build so you can be debt free is expensive for your ministry because you will have fewer people trying to pay for a future building and you will not be able to minister to everyone you could be reaching in the meantime.

Winning churches aren’t willing to ask a generation of new believers to wait.

They take reasonable risks to facilitate ministry growth and meet the needs of the people in their community.

It’s time to build for the future of your church.

5. They have a real leader.

Somewhere in the mix a leading church has a real leader. They likely have several since a true leader will foster leadership qualities in those around him or her.

A leader is both the vision’s champion and the catalyst for action. The distinguishing characteristic of a leader is taking action - standing up and going forward. Reasoned, strong, faith-filled action.

Most people are looking for a strong leader to follow. A decision to act, effectively communicated, will motivate most people to come on board.

This is not to say that consensus building isn’t important or that people don’t need time to think things over or that timing isn’t a factor.

But a church can do that for so long that the best timing and the widest consensus slips by. A real leader isn’t hesitant.

Leaders don’t succumb to delays because of insecurity or doubt. Leaders have courage. Never confuse administration or maintaining the status quo for real leadership.

“If you think you are leading and no one is following you, the you are only taking a walk.” - John Maxwell’s frequent quote of an Afghan proverb.

You didn’t issue a call to action. No one thinks anything exciting or worthwhile is about to happen.

If you are charged with leading your church, get up and lead.

6. They are decisive.

Successful churches are decisive. Because they act intentionally they are able to act decisively. They often decide to cut ministries that are no longer effective...even the “sacred cow” ones.

They often add untried programs and activities because they believe they are in line with their church’s goals and the projected results will be worth it.

They understand that forever is only promised in heaven. They know the time they have to do what God called them to do is limited. Momentum is something they count on and know the “prime” of their church’s ministry can come and go if they do not act decisively. They believe we are all called not just to our community, but to our time.

Momentum is the progressive atmosphere created by leaders who act decisively about the future. This creates impetus for growth and forward movement throughout the church’s ministries.

You are invited to contact Crosspointe Architects for new, innovative ideas for facilities that enhance how ministry is done today. We understand and have been designing innovative churches for twenty years.

Call 1-866-687-2296.

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