This weekend is critically important for the growth of your church. It could be make or break when it comes to influencing your community with the message of Jesus. As much as we’ve talked in the past about the importance of being ready for “big days” that only come along a few times a year, your church also needs to be ready every single weekend to make an impact. We can’t rest on our laurels, but need to be ready to make the impact that we’re expected to. Churches who are making a difference in their communities leverage every single Sunday to see the mission moving forward. Here are three reasons this weekend is so important if you want to see your church grow in the coming years:
Guests Show Up To Your Church Every Weekend
This weekend is going to be someone’s first experience at your church. As a rule of thumb, your church should see the same number of people visit it each year as your average Sunday morning attendance. [ref] That would mean, that even if your church comprises of 100 people you’ll see one or two guests, this weekend. Ensuring that your teams are ready to receive guests every single weekend is important.
Because there might be guests at your church this weekend who would be trying church for one last time. Therefore, you need to be ready in the following ways:
- “New Here” System // What are you doing to ensure that your guests feel “expected” & “accepted” as they arrive this weekend? There is no worse feeling than going somewhere for the first time and feeling lost and unwelcome. However, often guests can feel like that when they arrive at our churches. A simple gift for guests is an easy way to start this process. We gathered together 33 “first time guest” gifts from churches to give you some ideas to implement at your church.
- Helpful Content // When people arrive at your church they are wondering if whatever being presented is going to help them at all in life. In fact, adults are primarily “just in time learners”, which means that, they learn best when they face problems that they are trying to immediately solve in their lives. Therefore, so many people only end up coming to your church when they are going through a personal crisis or an issue in their lives. They are looking for help with what they are faced. They don’t care what it says in the Greek but they are wondering what to say to their kids!
- Clear Next Steps // One of the stark differences between struggling churches and those that are thriving is that prevailing churches have made it dead simple to get connected to the church. It can be confusing or even frustrating when you first arrive at a church. Often, we have way too many programs running and all of them are presented equally in a program or church bulletin. Churches must strive to understand that they need to narrow the focus and give people clear steps from the moment they arrive at the church. The best practice prevailing in churches is to provide a single first step that everyone is pointed towards after the weekend service. Listen to this helpful podcast with Greg Curtis on how his church is integrating hundreds of people every year through a simple next steps approach.
Prevailing Churches Use The Persistent Rhythm of Sundays to Help Them Grow
The weekly persistence of Sundays can be tough for leaders to get used to, if they haven’t experienced it before. I’ve seen this first hand, as leaders have joined our team from the marketplace where deadlines aren’t as tight as the weekly nature of what we do in church leadership. The weekend is always coming and the way that looms over everything that happens in our lives in church leadership can make it difficult to make progress as an organization. In fact, I’ve known churches that get caught in a rut and can’t seem to get out of it because they get on the hamster wheel of “Sunday is always coming!’
However, prevailing churches have figured out a way to use the persistent nature of this rhythm to help fuel growth and improvement. Here are a few ways that the weekly rhythm can help and not hinder your church as it develops:
- Constant Improvement // Growing organizations are always looking for ways to improve what they do. You’ve been given a gift in that you get to “do” your main thing 50+ times a year, which implies that, you make incremental improvements all the time! Churches who are leveraging this weekend for growth pulled together a team after last weekend to evaluate what exactly happened and are trying to make small improvements for this weekend.
- Responsive Teaching // The teaching you’re doing with your church is an ongoing conversation. It should be responsive to what has been happening in the life of your community. Things happen in your church every week that should weave their way into the messages on Sunday. Good teachers have their story-finding-senses turned on at all times, looking for what’s happening in the community around them to apply to their teaching.
- Community Presence // Finally, there is something to do with the week in and week out nature of what we do in the communities we serve, on a regular basis. We become baked into the rhythm of how a community works. Simple things like having signage and flags that go up around our buildings on Sundays are a regular reminder to our community that we are available for them. In fact, because that signage is only up on Sundays it sticks out and gets people’s attention. Leading churches look for ways to communicate weekly about its “game day” and that people are invited to come to church.
- Vision Injection Opportunities // Every Sunday is a chance to rearticulate the vision for your people. Prevailing churches are taking time every weekend to communicate how important the vision is and what exactly it is that God is wanting a church to do. Vision tends to leak over time and smart churches understand the need to use the rhythm of the weekend to communicate the vision again. Here are a few places that you could inject the vision of the church regularly:
- Huddles // Every time your volunteer teams gather, it is a perfect chance to explain again, why we do what we do. Share a report of life change or take time to pray that the vision would happen this weekend.
- Announcements // You have five minutes in your service to move people to take action towards the vision. Leverage the announcement time to connect the dots for people between why the church exists and how they can get involved.
- Message // Your message is a prime place to explain again why the church is what it is. Prevailing churches find opportunities within the teaching to point again to the vision of the church.
Sermon Series are a Growth Engine
A sermon series is simply a collection of common topics that lasts for a predetermined number of weeks. Some churches have series that last just 3 or 4 weeks while other leaders are convinced on longer series lasting 10 to 12 weeks. The big idea here is to package your content in a way that encourages people to organize their thinking about what you are talking about and to give some natural ways to promote your church.
I’ve had the privilege of serving in one of the fastest-growing churches in the country as named by Outreach Magazine [ref]. As I reflected on this, I tried to dissect our strategies and what made us different from other churches. I wondered what it was that seemed to make a difference and enable our growth. I am convinced that our consistent focus on series promotion was part of the equation. For over 30 series in a row (that’s nearly three years), we would do the same thing to promote every new series. And although we’d mix up the content to ensure the approach didn’t get stale, we applied the same core elements every time we did something new.
If you’re looking for ways to jumpstart your church’s growth and launch a new series, repeating the same elements every time at your church is a natural way to leverage this rhythm. The goal is to build excitement for the new series and encourage your people to bring as many friends and family members as they please.
This weekend you are either starting a new series or will be most likely be starting a new one in a few weeks. Leverage this weekend to talk about this “channel change” to help encourage growth at your church!
Help for Churches Wanting to Leverage This Sunday for Growth
Are you ready to see your church impact more people than it has ever done before? Are you tired of church leadership books that are long on theory but short on practical help? Have you wanted to reach more people in your community but you weren’t sure where to start? Are you worried that your church isn’t reaching its full potential? “Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems To Drive Growth at Your Church” is full of practical insights to help your church reach more people, starting today!
In this book, I pulled together a strategy for leveraging series promotion that we employed at our church, and I’ve seen being employed in hundreds of prevailing churches I interview here at unSeminary. My goal was to break down a series promotion system that you could put into action at your church starting right away. In the part of the book on “series promotion” we discuss:
- How two trips to the Antarctic apply to your church growth efforts.
- Why series promotion is really the best approach based on what’s happening in the broader culture and the latest in brain research.
- A step by step series promotion plan you can put into action right away at your church.
- Ideas on helping provide variety in your marketing efforts to help you capture your people’s imagination.
- A conversation about the tension between working ahead and staying responsive that is important to wrestle with, in this area.
The book launches in February 2018. However, you can read Chapter 1 now by visiting ChurchGrowthFlywheel.com and joining the interest list. You’ll get front of the line access about the launch and a few other freebies along the way.