What impacts the growth of weekly church attendance? It's one of the key questions being asked by church planting teams as they engage in local mission, prepare to launch new congregations and see the lost mature in Christ. The recent survey into Australian Church Planting identified the importance of intentionality, experience and support.
Firstly, the importace of INTENTIONALITY.
Conduct regular membership courses: Those church plants which conduct a membership class or course deomonstrate significant increases in church growth over a period of time (note: a membership course is a program that initiates a new person to the church and often requires new members to commit to church). Why is this? Membership courses build community, make new church members aware of the church's vision and key aims and help new members integrate and engage in the life of the church. Conduct a membership course.
Enlist prayer partners: As Christians we should see the importance of prayer. The church should be praying. The data from the survey demonstrates that church plants enlisting people to pray directly for the church and continue to use prayer meetings / prayer walks grew and reach the unreached in greater numbers.
Be sacrificial (for the church planter): Sacrificial church planters impact the church plants ability to reach the unreached. Obviously this correlates with passion and demonstrates the importance of the pastor as 'model' the church. BUT 67% of congregations funded directly from church’s pastor or church staff have a quarter unchurched people in their church plant.
Have a church planting church vision: A church plant with a desire to plant more churches overflows into the whole church's ability to reach the unreached. When you are putting together your mission plans have a long term goal to reach the unreached through planting churches. Note: be realistic about when you will plant a church – at least 5 years into the plant; and take the opportunities from the start to support other church planting teams prayerfully, financially or by sending a few people where possible.
Secondly, the importance of EXPERIENCE.
Get experience, have realisitic expecations: Being a part of church plant is the most helpful way church planters can gain the necessary experience to plant a church. If you are thinking of planting join a church plant. The data demonstrates the importace of working on church planting staff team and having realistic expectations. If you can't be a part of a chruch plant – read case studies, talk with experienced church planters.
Thirdly, the importance of SUPPORT.
Church plants benefit from support: We see the positive impact on church plants receiving administrative support (accounting help, marketing infrasturcture, systems and structures) helps speed up the growth. Denominations, networks and hub churches can