There may be several reasons why your church may not be growing. And as a senior pastor, or just as a church leader, you may feel very defeated, very abandoned, and frustrated because your church has not been growing in the way that you foresaw.
How do you discern what to do?
Sometimes it's because you're not doing the right things and sometimes it's because you are doing the right things that your church attendance is stagnant. Everything has a time and a season, the Bible says. And so this list is going to assist you in terms of ascertaining whether or not you are doing the right things or the wrong things, or if it's just a matter of time entrusting God.
I plan to make this a part of larger series.
But without further ado, here is our list of 3 key items that may indicate why your church may not be growing.
Church Growth Problem #1: You may not be in the right location.
I strongly believe that God has a location for you. When God was about to bless Abraham, he told him to get out of his own home country, and go to a place that he will show him.
In a similar way, as a seed of Abraham, God deals with us similarly when it comes to elevation when it comes to harvest, and when it comes to your calling in ministry.
And so when God calls you to do a work for him, he has a specific location in mind. Not because you are gifted or anointed means that you are gifted and anointed for every location. Some locations require another gifting, another calling, apart from the gifting and callings that God has given to you. So don't think that because you're called that you are designated to that location.
And this is where prayer comes in. Because if you don't pray, you will not know where God has assigned you. And if he hasn't assigned you there, there's nothing that you can do to cause growth in that place because God has not mandated it for you over there.
And so one of the ways he shifts you to find the right location is through bringing you into a desert season where nothing grows. And so if you are having an extended period of time, where nothing is going in the ministry, nothing is working. You may need to ask God if you are in the right location.
Did he tell you to go there?
Did he give you directions that these are the people that He wants you to reach specifically? If you haven't gotten a word like that from God, you need to go back to him and ask him if you're in the right location because sometimes it's not a matter of what you're doing.
Church Growth Problem #2- No Room For The Holy Ghost
Another reason why your church may not be growing, is because you have timed the Holy Spirit out of your services, or left Him out altogether. This is kind of strange, because ministry is about the work of the Holy Spirit but some people do ministry without involving the Holy Spirit.
They think that they know scriptures. They think that they know music and so they do the work of God without God being in it.
If this is what you are doing, then you may be excluding God from your worship services and this will greatly impact the reach and the draw of your ministry to the communities that you serve.
Because it is not you who draws people to the ministry. It is God really and truly, that draws people to the ministry, people that have the faith and the heart to receive from what he has given to you.
Read John 6 : 43-45
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
So if you are excluding God, from your services, because you want it to be this way, or you want to set it like this, or you want it to finish a certain time and so forth you're not presenting the One who draws. You may be excluding God, to your own detriment, because if you exclude Him, He will also exclude you.
So watch and see what you are doing in terms of your reverence for the Holy Spirit, and acknowledging him in all that you do. Because when you acknowledge Him in all that you do, he shall direct your path (Proverbs 3:6).
Church Growth Problem #3- No Room For The "Unqualified" Gifted People.
Another reason why your church may not be growing is that you don't allow people to grow in their unique giftings.
One of the harshest experiences that a growing believer can receive is at the hand of a church leader (not necessarily a senior pastor) that knows nothing about church growth.
If you want everything to be just how you have had it for the past 12 years, your church will not grow. Because growth involves you receiving what has not been there before, or expanding on what has been there before.
But if you are constantly trying to maintain the status quo, by excluding those who have giftings and callings from actually using them, you stop your church from growing. The ministry that you have is to a large degree as great as the people that are involved in the ministry.
The King's glory is in the multitude of His people (Proverbs 14:28).
And this goes for those who are directly serving as pastors and leaders and prophets and so forth. And this also goes for those who are receiving in order to grow up into the things of God.
Everybody should have the ability to share and give what God has given to them for the benefit of the Body of Christ.
Church attendance is the result of Church involvement.
If your church excludes the service of others who may not be approved, “by the denomination”, or their "education", you may be messing with your church's growth. Because God can be can use people that will not suit the status quo but are in fact, being led by God in what they're doing.
This is not to say that you don't vet those ministries that are coming forth and what people are saying, of course not. The Bible says let those who speak let the prophets judge. In other words, there must always be that balance. But don't let that fear of somebody not saying the exact right thing, stop you from entertaining the expression of that person's gifts or ministry to the local church.
It doesn't really matter if you have a small church or if you have a large church. As a part of your Church leadership, you would want your church to be a healthy church. Jesus gave the great commission for us to go out into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples of all nations.
But what would happen if you're trying to fulfill the great commission, but you rarely see a new person at your Church service?
What happens when your church family stays the same size for 10 years? What happens when your Church attendance remains the same, no matter what you do?
Do you need a new church growth strategy or is it that the ministers in church leadership are not pulling their weight?
Do you long for a demonstration of the growth that the early church recorded in the New Testament?
We all want growing churches. We all want to see our congregation size grow. We all want our new or old church plant to be a budding and fruitful faith community. We all want to see a new person strolling into our Sunday morning church service. And we want our church members to feel a part of something great.
But how do we effectively do this?
We have to surrender our lives and ministry to the Lord for Him to bring the increase.
It is our prayer that this short article speaks to you as a pastor or member of your local church, to seek the Lord. It is our prayer that in understanding church growth, that the Lord will take a small church and make it a large church or an average church and make it a great church. And above all, may He lead you to foster the growth of a healthy church where each church member enjoys spiritual growth in his or her spiritual gifts, faith, and love of the Father and The Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Ghost in Jesus' Name!