From 1,000 to 2,000 in 1,000 Days: Most Churches’ First Steps

This is part four of an ongoing series where we explore the “Goldilocks growth rate”—a concept aimed at helping churches grow at a pace that’s impactful yet sustainable.

Understanding the Goldilocks Growth Rate

The Goldilocks growth rate is all about balancing rapid growth with the ability to effectively integrate new members into your church community. The goal is to grow faster than the natural population increase in your community while avoiding burnout among your team. To maintain momentum, churches must address the inevitable 15% attrition rate caused by people moving away, disagreements, or life changes.

Three Crucial Metrics

  1. 15% Attrition Rate: This is a baseline assumption. Every church loses about 15% of its members annually due to various reasons.
  2. 3% Documented New Guests Weekly: For a church of 1,000, this means capturing contact information for 30 new guests each week.
  3. 26% Retention Rate: Retaining 26% of new guests to become regular attendees is essential. This helps achieve an overall growth rate of 26%.

When these metrics are met consistently over 1,000 days, a church can effectively double its size.

Focus on the Front Door

Many churches concentrate on retention (the back door) but often overlook the importance of attracting new visitors (the front door). Most churches need to increase their efforts on inviting and documenting new guests to ensure sustainable growth. Simple yet effective strategies to enhance your church’s invite culture include:

  • Shareable Weekend Teaching: Make your weekend messages compelling and easily shareable to encourage congregants to invite their friends.
  • Eventful Big Days: Leverage special events like Christmas and Easter when people are more likely to invite their friends.
  • Captivating Online Conversations: Engage with your community online to spark discussions and keep people connected.
  • Magnetic Community Service: Organize community service events that attract both volunteers and attendees.
  • Appealing Volunteer Experience: Create volunteer opportunities that are enjoyable and fulfilling, encouraging participants to invite others.

Resources to Boost Your Church’s Growth

To support churches in these efforts, we offer two key resources:

  1. Unlocking Your Church’s Invite Culture: This book provides a primer on the five gears of invite culture, offering practical examples and strategies.
  2. Church Growth Incubator: A year-long program featuring bi-monthly calls, quarterly intensives, and two in-person retreats to equip church leaders with the latest research and proven tactics for growth.

Success Stories and Proven Results

Churches participating in the Church Growth Incubator have seen remarkable results, with an average of 4.22% documented new guests weekly, far surpassing the 3% target. This significant increase translates to over 2,000 new guests annually for a church of 1,000 members, showcasing the effectiveness of sustained, strategic efforts.

Read the Book

Unlock the potential of your church’s invite culture with our latest book, Unlocking Your Church’s Invite Culture. This book is designed to be a practical guide for you and your team, offering a primer on the five gears of invite culture. Packed with actionable examples and strategies, it’s an essential resource for any church leader looking to make a real impact. You can purchase your copy at or on Amazon.

Join the Cohort

Take your church growth strategy to the next level by joining the Church Growth Incubator. This year-long program includes bi-monthly calls, quarterly intensives, and two in-person retreats, providing you with the latest research and proven tactics for growth. Collaborate with like-minded leaders, gain direct access to expert advice, and see measurable results. Interested in joining? Email me with the subject line “Church Growth Incubator” to secure your spot this summer. Let’s work together to achieve your church’s growth goals!

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Rich Birch
Rich Birch is one of the early multi-site church pioneers in North America. He led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 5,000+ people in 18 locations. In addition, he served on the leadership team of Connexus Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. He has also been a part of the lead team at Liquid Church - a 5 location multisite church serving the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. Liquid is known for it’s innovative approach to outreach and community impact. Rich is passionate about helping churches reach more people, more quickly through excellent execution.His latest book Church Growth Flywheel: 5 Practical Systems to Drive Growth at Your Church is an Amazon bestseller and is design to help your church reach more people in your community.