How does a church grow? It might surprise you to know that the average church size across America is about 88 people in regular Sunday attendance. Mega size churches (5000-10000) get a great deal of attention and focus in a community and generally have the resources to have big concerts, special promotional events and great advertizing. Most Americans who attend church have been to a mega-church for some special events possibly even attended as a regular for a season in their life, however most church attendees in Amercia make their home church a small church.
In 2004 I went to work for one of these Mega churches. It was a great experience. I served along with 11 other full time pastors and a support staff of over 120 fulltime and part time. The church was growing weekly in number at a rapid pace. My role was mostly in operations as the Resource Director/Pastor. To give you an example of the growth we went from 3300 in 2004 to over 6000 in 2007.
We had a 40 acre campus and beautiful auditorium and Vegas (believe it or not) is experiencing a huge move of God. Since 2001 people have poured into Las Vegas from all over the world in search of a new start. Many of them start by trying to find a home church. So growing the church while I was at Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, was almost as easy as un-locking the church doors. Our campus had a prime location and was very easy to find. We had 5 services a weekend: 2 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday. Because of the move of God across Vegas it was common to see a few hundred visitors on a month.
Sometimes we can have un-realistic expectations about church growth based on comparison. The first thing we must understand about church growth is: 1. "Each church is Unique to God". Every church is different. It is never a good idea to compare one church with another. Locations, demographic, budget, staff, facilities, leaders and attendee's are unique to each church. All these things have an affect on how quickly a church can grow.
2. Maturity of the church: A Church that has a large number of young (in the Lord) Christians may struggle to grow in the early stages. As the group grows up in the Lord they learn to be more faithful, to help serve one another, to lead in the vision of the church. One of the marks of growth that I have noted over the years as a pastor is when I have seen an individual changing the reason they attend church weekly. In other words they are no longer going to church just to receive something to help them through the week but they now are attending to give of their time, talent and treasure to serve others and the greater church mission. When that happens in large scale a church starts seeing real and regular growth.
I might also add here that Maturity in the lord has nothing at all to do with how long a person has gone to church or even how much they know about the Bible. The Biblical measure of maturity has to do with: what truths of the scripture we can skillfully put into practice in our daily lives. Paul reminded us in Gal. 5:22,23 that the Fruit of the Spirit are the indicators of maturity: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control
3. United in the Vision: This is so key. Other terms we might use here to define what I am saying are: Taking personal ownership of the vision, actively participating in serving the mission and cause of your local church in your local community. Are you fully on board? Your church needs your help. When a large majority of those who attend get on board and participate in the vision, the church starts growing. Showing up for weekly service is huge but when you add using your gifts, time and talents in the overall vision it makes an even greater impact.