The physical location of a church, if you want to grow by inviting people to attend, is decisive. If it is hard to find, hard to get to, too small in size, has insufficient parking, is difficult to enter or exit due to road traffic,
…then you are artificially limiting the size of your church.
Solution: Much of solving location problems is logistical in nature. Hire off-duty police to help people enter and exit your services. Increase the number of your services. Develop a capital campaign to help pay for increasing the size of your auditorium or parking. If needed, simply move to a new location. That may seem dramatic, but it’s often critical. If you do, have the people you’re trying to reach in mind as you pick your new location – such as where they live and ease of access. Going “multi-site” is also proving to be a helpful strategy for many churches facing location issues.
I know these five areas are incredibly simplistic, and almost any leader could rattle them off. And I’ve not offered particularly fresh insights into their importance, or how to solve them.
But what I do hope has come through is the importance of ruthless self-evaluation in each of these five areas. The kind that an outside consultant who isn’t trying to curry favor might give. So no matter how familiar you may be with each area, go through each one and give it an honest assessment, such as: “We need to do better,” “We are taking this for granted,” or “We’re hitting this one out of the park.” It usually is one of those three. Think in terms of “declining,” “flat” or “growing.”
Or think about a “mystery” worshiper who would have the courage and ability to say things like,
“The talk just wasn’t that good, and he wasn’t a very good speaker.”
“The service was boring and the music stunk; I never could get into it.”
“Somebody has been making a series of leadership miscalls over the years, and it’s pretty clear to an outside person who does have the gift of leadership.”
“People weren’t very friendly…or welcoming.”
“It’s too far to go, or too big of a pain to go.”
Now, before you get defensive and say that people shouldn’t think that way if they really know Jesus, remind yourself of who you are trying to reach.
Yep, people who don’t know Jesus.
So they are going to evaluate you accordingly.
But maybe that isn’t how you are thinking.
So make that #6. And the solution is easy:
Think like a lost person.
James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunctive professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, which he also served as their fourth president. His latest book, The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated, is now available on Amazon.
Julius Streeter [03/29/2015 8:43 AM] Ultimately God grows the church. my sheep hear my voice and they follow me, seems thru the ages the true church is a small flock, a faithful remnant church. even thr parable of the sower and the seed ndicates the gospel seed always good but needs receptive soil to grow well