Church Growth:10 Powerful Church Growth Strategies {2023}

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Are you trying to create church growth but you feel like something keeps holding you back?

If so, you are in the right place. 

In this article, we will explore the most powerful, Biblically-based church growth strategies you haven’t seen anywhere else.

In this article we will cover:

  1. Create A Clear & Compelling Vision  
  2. Focus All Programs Around Your Vision
  3. Identify Your Target Audience
  4. Cater To Your Audience
  5. Identify A Clear Churchgoer Journey
  6. Leaders Are Identified & Trained
  7. Figure Out The Needs of Members
  8. Create an Action-Oriented Culture
  9. Communicate Clearly To Your Audience 
  10. Measure and Reward Progress

Let’s get right into the church growth!

Church Growth Strategy #1 – Create A Clear & Compelling Church Vision  

To have any kind of progress you must be moving toward some specified destination. 

Progress requires that you identify the place you’re currently at and the place you want to be, and you can measure your forward movement toward your church goals.

The ultimate place you want to be is the vision of your church.

A church’s vision is a clear image of God’s completed purpose for your church

Your church’s vision is the promised land that God is calling you to. 

Every ministry plays a role in the body of Christ which means your ministry will have a unique vision/destination.

Vision Example: One ministry we consulted with envisioned everyone in their community being reached with the Gospel message through genuine relationships with people in their church.

Only when your church has a clear vision, can you begin to create growth strategies that get you closer to your destination.

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Church Growth Strategy #2 – Focus All Programs Around Your Church Vision 

When Abraham was called away from his father’s land, God called him to a specific place. 

With each decision, Abraham was either getting one step closer or one step further away from the land God promised him.

There are three reasons ministries don’t reach the promised land that God is calling them to.          

Reason 1: Churches don’t have a clear understanding of where they are going.

To address this lack of a vision, prayerfully consider with your church leaders the direction that God is calling your church. 

Create a clear and concise vision statement that explains what the world will look like when your church has reached its destination.

Example: Have church plants ministering to people in 5 third-world countries by [year].

Example: See 1,000 people come to Christ by [date].

Example: To create a self-sustained church presence in Zambia.

Just having a vision statement is not enough to get results in your ministry.

Everything you do has to embody the vision of your church. 

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This attracts like-minded Christians to your cause and encourages them to take ownership of the church’s vision in their own life. 

If your vision is unclear, or your programs don’t support your vision, your audience will not take ownership of the actions required to move your church forward. 

This is not because they don’t want to support your efforts, but because they lack the clarity to take appropriate action. 

When your leadership is 100% clear on the church’s vision and your church focuses all the programs around its vision, your audience will be 100% clear on what they should do to participate.

Vision Clarity + Vision Centric Programs = 

Passionate and Engaged Audience

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Reason 2: The second way churches deviate from fulfilling their vision is by entertaining growth strategies that produce no results or negative results. 

Even well-intentioned strategies can result in backward motion. 

Backward motion is enabled due to undefined results and a lack of measurement on the part of church leadership. 

Example: We recently worked with a client who had been advertising their church services in Google to get more people in the front door.

By itself, this would seem to be an effective growth strategy. However, the ministry staff member managing the account was targeting search terms that did not bring people to the church. 

The staff member had not identified any specific results that would determine success or failure. 

When we began managing the account the church had spent over $3,000 on advertisements that brought no one into their church. 

By identifying the desired result and measuring progress to it we were able to reduce the church’s advertising budget and increase their results at the same time!

By clarifying the results you want to see and measuring the progress toward the result your church growth strategies will become more effective (and will often reduce resource drain).

Reason 3: Churches deviate from the path toward their vision by pursuing growth strategies that produce good results that do not lead them toward the vision. 

Many churches have identified their desired result and measure it successfully.

These churches may produce reliable growth – but the growth is not leading toward the vision God has given the church.

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This would be like Abraham successfully reaching a good land – but not the land God called him to.

Example: Suppose the vision of a church is to focus on funding international missions so they can reach X amount of people by __/__/____  but instead they put resources toward an alcohol rehabilitation center in their community. 

The rehabilitation center may be wildly successful, which is obviously a good thing, but it’s still not the right thing if God called the church elsewhere.

RECAP: To create growth and reach the vision God has called you to, you must:

1. Clearly identify your vision

2. Focus all programs around your vision

3. Identify your desired results and measure your progress toward those results.

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If you’re wondering how to promote your vision-centric events, check out our blog titled: How To Promote Church Events: 3 Biblical Strategies You’ve Never Heard.

Church Growth Strategy #3 – Identify Your Target Audience

Many church leaders have a difficult time narrowing their audience to a specific group of people. 

As counterintuitive as it may seem, in order to create church growth – we have to speak to fewer people, not more.

The source of the discomfort church leaders feel usually comes from Mark 16:15, “Jesus said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  

At first glance, this verse would seem to eliminate the idea of a target audience. 

Considering the context of the verse we find that Jesus is speaking to the 11 remaining disciples who he commands to go into all the world. 

The confusion lies in whether Jesus was telling each of the 11 to go into the whole world or if Jesus was telling them collectively as the leaders of the Church should go into the whole world.  

Considering that the 11 stayed in Israel during the majority of their ministry it would seem as though they believed the latter.  

This would mean that every church is a part of the body of Christ. Each ministry with a unique church calling and people group to reach.

This is supported by the fact that we see major Biblical figures targeting specific audiences. 

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Example: Paul himself says that he was specifically charged with ministering to the Gentiles. 

Yet I have written you quite boldly on some points to remind you of them again, because of the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles. 

He gave me the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God, so that the Gentiles might become an offering acceptable to God, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”  

Romans 15:15-16  

Paul’s call to the Gentiles as his primary audience naturally excludes the Israelites. His geographic focus on Roman cities excludes every other city on the planet. 

Does this mean Paul would have refused to speak to a Jew if they crossed paths? 

Of course not. Having a target audience does not mean you will exclude a visitor who falls outside your target audience parameters.

Here are a couple of other examples to drive this point home: Jesus came to proclaim the kingdom of God first to the Jew and then to the Gentile. 

Geographically, Jesus spent the majority of his time in Jewish (non-Gentile) region.

Additionally, each book of the New Testament is written to a specific group of people struggling with unique problems. 

This is why the target audience of Thessalonians was in Thessalonica.  The book of Colossians was written to the church of Colossae, etc.

For these reasons, we believe it is Biblical and necessary for you to identify the audience God is calling you to reach.

Why do you need a target audience? The reason you need a target audience is so that you increase the impact of your message. 

“If you are talking to everyone you aren’t really talking to anyone.”

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When you buy a birthday for your wife you don’t buy something that any woman might like, you purchase something specific to your wife’s preferences. 

A gift you chose off a blog titled, “101 Gifts for Girlfriends and Wives” is not going to resonate as deeply as choosing a gift you know to be valued based on a genuine relationship. 

When you try to speak to everyone you can’t speak powerfully to anyone. Your words only register when you speak to the right audience.

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In this blog, I assume you are a church leader, most likely a Pastor, who is struggling with growth issues and most likely a male.

The point: The more of the above assumptions that are correct the more powerfully this blog resonates with you. 

This is also the case with your ministry. When you speak toward your audience’s needs your message is more likely to hit home because it is relevant to their lives. 

Paul speaks to a specific target audience when he spoke to those at the altar of the unknown god. 

Paul wasn’t preaching to any religious persons, he also wasn’t preaching to any Gentiles. 

“Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.”   – Acts 17: 22-23

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In the passage above, we find Paul speaking to a very specific audience. They were religious Athenians who were present at the Areopagus. 

Some translations say “men of Athens” which could further specify his audience. After speaking to this target audience in Acts 17:34 some of the people became followers.  

Some of the people became followers of Paul and believed. Among them was Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, also a woman named Damaris, and a number of others.” – Acts 17:34

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HOW TO FIND YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE……

Your target audience is the group of people who are most likely to find value from what you offer.

Example: In the same way that Rolex doesn’t market $10,000 watches to low-income families; Pentecostal churches shouldn’t be spending their advertising dollars appealing to the Amish. 

This is not to say that there isn’t a time to market a church service to the Amish but you can generate a larger turnout by reaching an audience that is more receptive to your church. 

Here is a snippet from our article on church marketing online: 

“Marketing is the process of bringing a product or service to the marketplace. If people in the marketplace don’t like what you have to offer, they won’t show up, and your doors will close. Churches are in the business of providing the “service” of sharing the Gospel. If your job is to market a church, you have to think like a business person.”

You can learn how to grow a church by reading the rest of this article here – Church Marketing Online: The Biblical Way To Grow Your Church

To be good stewards of your marketing budget you want to utilize your funds in the most effective manner.

The easiest way to find your target audience is to:

  1. Examine your existing audience and find the commonalities between your most receptive church-goers.
  1. If you have a large audience, look more specifically at the subset of your audience who are taking ownership of the church mission and are propelling the church toward its goal.

When trying to identify your target audience, here are some demographics that will help you hyper-target people who are most likely to respond to your church. 

Age: The age and season of life can predispose groups of people to have particular interests.

Example: Generally speaking, younger people are more likely to take risks and have the desire to travel and experience adventures. 

On the other hand, young families may be more inclined to support their community including your church school and other local outreaches.

While neither of these may be specific to your church a particular age range is likely disproportionately receptive to your message and marketing efforts.

Gender: Men and women often feel called to different ministries. 

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Example: 

Women often feel called to interpersonal ministries while men may be more inclined toward physical or technical tasks. This is not to say that some women don’t like technical tasks or that men can’t be personal. 

When you analyze your current church membership you are likely to find patterns that increase the effectiveness of your market budget.

Marital Status: If the people who are most likely to engage in your ministry are young families, targeting locations that have a high concentration of married individuals will increase your marketing results.

Children: If the people who are most likely to align themselves with your vision have children then targeting locations where families and children can be found can increase the results of your marketing efforts.

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Example: Churches that minister to single mothers need to find a place where many moms can be found in one place.

This is often difficult to do because single mothers are often working or at home with their children. 

To go to work their children have to be cared for which means daycares are likely to have high concentrations of single moms going in and out every day.

If you can meet a deeply felt need of single mothers they will have reason to consider your church.

A church we worked with offers free oil changes and small repairs to all their single moms once a month. 

This could be offered as a value add to the daycare due to the free perks that drive single moms to their daycare and into your church.

Education Level:  Education levels often correlate with socioeconomic status. Often people with little or no higher education have a deeply felt need for marketable skills. 

Many of the volunteer positions at your church (especially technical positions) can double as marketable skills as you shift your focus on how to grow a church biblically.

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Some of our churches offer thorough training/education for volunteers, track hours of experience, and professional references.

By understanding the education level of their audience many ministries can attract enthusiastic volunteers who benefit from giving back. 

What is the education level of your target audience? 

Socioeconomic Status: The Salvation Army primarily reaches out to low-income, homeless, or addicted people groups, which means their advertising dollars are most effective when spent reaching low socioeconomic audiences. 

What is your audience’s level of income?

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Geographic Location: If your church wants to show ads on search engines like Google or Facebook to get people to physically come to your church then it would make sense not to waste advertising dollars on people outside of a reasonable radius. 

Where does your target audience live?

Felt Need: Most importantly, the most effective way to inspire more people to participate in your ministry is to begin meeting their deeply felt needs. 

No church can meet every need but the good news is, your audience most likely has only one or two deeply felt needs. 

For example: In Hawaii a common demographic is young blue-collar men (loading planes, working construction, etc.) with children, many of whom are unmarried or are no longer with their children’s mother. 

The deeply felt needs of this community are Christian financial education and Biblical relationship and communication skills. 

How likely would it be for this particular audience to go to a church whose main goal is to fund world missions through their high socioeconomic incomes? 

What are the deeply felt needs of your target market? Are you meeting them?

church growth strategy

Target Audience Profile

Once you gather this information you will then combine it into a target audience profile. A target audience profile is a semi-fictional representation of your audience.

Name: Isabella Ramirez

Age: 21

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Single

Children: 2

Education Level: High School

Socioeconomic Status: Below Poverty Level

Geographic Location: Within 5 Miles from the Church

Felt Need: Finances, Support Network, Job Skills Training, Mentor for Parenting, Encouragement

By creating a target audience profile you can speak powerfully to a group of people by visualizing a representation. 

You can have additional profiles if relevant to your church.

Example: One ministry that we worked with had two target audience profiles; 

  • 2,000 people in the church were retired and over 65 years 
  • 400 members would be considered young families in their mid-twenties.

When you speak to the deeply felt needs of your target audience you will inspire more people to action.

Church Growth Strategy #4 – Cater Everything To Your Target Audience

Certain people feel called to particular types of ministries. When you are able to speak effectively to the people who feel called to your ministry, you will begin to see church growth.

I feel called to international missions and I find myself gravitating toward churches that take a clear stand on that front. 

When the church is passionate and driven toward that vision I also feel passionate and driven to support their efforts. 

I’m much more motivated to find a way to go to Ethiopia than I would be to help organize a canned food drive to feed the homeless. 

church growth strategy

Both are equally good, some people are just called more to one than the other.

When your ministry is not clear about your vision nobody gets inspired because nobody knows what you are really about. 

Of course, everyone is welcome at your church, we aren’t suggesting you turn anyone away at the door…

The core audience of your church are people who are passionate about the vision of your church. The goal is to inspire these people to take dramatic action.

 By clearly identifying your vision and catering your ministries to people who share that vision, you enable people to gravitate toward a ministry they are called to. 

The individual who is passionate about international missions will gravitate toward your church. 

Someone who feels called to local homelessness ministries may go to another church where they can be more impactful.

By catering to your demographic that’s passionate about your vision you will attract empowered people willing to take action.

While everyone should be welcome at your church it is also true every program and ministry that you offer should be geared to empower and engage those who are passionate about your vision.

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Church Growth Strategy #5 – Identify A Clear Churchgoer Journey

Many ministries that have not clearly identified the vision that God is calling them to also do not have a clear journey to take their audience on. 

Ministry leaders who do not create a clear churchgoer journey do not know how to grow a church.

This makes sense because if YOU don’t know the promised land God is calling your church to, then you also don’t have a place to lead your members. 

If you don’t have a vision, your membership does not have a purpose to put effort into the ministry.

By clarifying the vision God has for your church, you also clarify the journey your members will embark on with your church.

“No vision means no destination…

 and no destination means no purpose… 

and no purpose results in no growth.”

-Brett Henderson

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For Moses to take the Israelites on a difficult journey to the promised land, God had to give him the vision. When Moses, the shepherd of the people, had a clear vision from God he was able to guide the people. 

“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites — a land flowing with milk and honey.” – Exodus 3:16-17 

Until the Israelites heard of this promised destination full of milk and honey and freedom, and God calling them to leave, nothing would have changed. 

Once the Israelites committed to risk by following Abraham they embarked on a journey. 

Every journey has multiple steps before reaching the desired destination.

Here are the steps the Israelite’s took while on their journey to the promised land: 

  1. The decision to leave Egypt
  2. Willing to walk through the parted sea
  3. The willingness to risk their lives to follow Moses through the wilderness
  4. The willingness to fight the battles as they headed into the promised land
  5. They inhabited the land of milk and honey
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In the same way that the Israelites went on a journey to obtain the promised land, your church members must go on a journey from the front door to the vision of your church. 

Every church’s path will look different since God calls churches to different journeys.

Here is an example of a Member’s Journey at a church that’s vision is for each member to go on a one-year church plant mission:

  1. Commit to a Year of Missions
  2. Missions Training
  3. Choose A Country
  4. Raise Funds 
  5. Get On Flight
  6. Mission Field
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One thing to notice about the church member’s journey is that each step is identified and progresses toward the vision of the church. 

Here is an example of our Buyer’s Journey for Clickmill, our church marketing agency. Our vision is to help churches reach more people, more effectively

  1. Pastor discovers Clickmill through a blog, YouTube Video, advertisement, or social media.
  2. Pastor downloads a free eBook.
  3. Pastor schedules a free strategy session.
  4. Pastor requests monthly church marketing services.
  5. Pastor requests church consulting or church marketing training.
  6. Clickmill’s Vision: Your Ministry Now Has the Ability to Reach More People More Effectively.

To create a clear member journey, begin by identifying the vision of your ministry & the ultimate action you want every church member to take. 

Once you have defined a final action step for church members, break down the remaining process into bite-sized action steps for your audience. 

Church Growth Strategy #6 – Leaders Are Identified & Trained

One of the biggest problems pastors face when learning how to grow a church is BOTTLENECKS in their ministry. 

A bottleneck is the narrow section of a bottle that slows down the flow of a fluid. 

Any professional church growth strategy will account for this hindrance to church growth.

I would estimate that the overwhelming majority of churches we work with have bottlenecks in their church that slow or even stop growth altogether. 

The bottlenecks that most frequently arise in pastoral roles.

As the church grows, the number of roles the pastor(s) must play grows as well until the pastors become overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the number of tasks required of them. 

“The #1 identifying characteristic of a bottleneck in the church is when pastors are overwhelmed or are burning out.”

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Pastor’s burnout occurs when too much information, decisions, work, etc must flow through one person.

As the church grows, the church leadership must find reliable, sustainable ways to reduce the flow of work that passes through the pastors. 

“A pastor should never have more than two mission-critical 

tasks to perform each day.

If pastors have more than this many critical tasks to attend to each day, then this is an indication that the proper systems put in place to remove the pastor as a bottleneck are non-existent or not reliable. 

Both of which are fixable issues. 

This is where volunteers and leaders come in. 

church growth strategies

Most churches today put the majority of their resources (time, energy, money, etc) into catering to new guests. 

Once the new visitors become volunteers, the church resources shift away from that new volunteer back to the new visitors. 

As the volunteer serves without getting their own needs met, they slowly begin to burn out. 

This leads to an unreliable volunteer base which ultimately ends with the pastor juggling responsibilities as volunteers don’t come through. 

While this is common in the modern church, it’s not how we see Jesus engage with his audience in the new testament. 

Jesus expended his resources on people in this order: 

  1. Jesus spent the largest amount of resources on the 3; Peter, James & John. 
  2. The next largest amount of time and energy was spent on the 12 Disciples.
  3. Then Jesus spent time teaching and training the 72. 
  4. Jesus spent the least amount of time on the masses

While Jesus loved the masses, the people in the crowds ultimately got less personalized training from Jesus. 

On the other hand, Jesus only took the three to witness his transfiguration. 

This gave them exclusive access to teaching and training that not even the disciples had. 

The same is true with the twelve, Jesus would explain in parables to the crowd and further explain to his disciples the meaning when they were alone. 

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When Jesus ultimately was taken back up into heaven, none of the worldly work was dependent on him to continue. 

He had trained 12 men to the point that they would be able to do “even greater things than these”. 

They were trained (discipled) to the point that they could take up the church and lead it without the direct physical presence of Jesus. 

When you create an effective church growth strategy, the same should be true in your church. 

The more time and energy you pour into your leaders, the more capable and stable they will become. 

Orienting your time and energy toward those who commit to your church also acts as an incentive for those new churchgoers who wish to get more of your time.

This tells newcomers, “the more you commit to us, the more we commit to you.” 

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This begins a cycle where the pastor gets to focus on teaching, training, & discipling volunteers, and the volunteers remove the pastor as the bottleneck of the flow of work. It’s a win, win.  

To further incentivize reliable volunteers, I also suggest you do the following: 

Incentives: When you give more value to your volunteers than they give to you, volunteers will come running. 

You can incentivize people to become volunteers by providing real-world skills training. 

To incentivize your volunteer positions to add more value to your volunteers, you just have to understand the deepest felt need of your volunteers. 

Example: Suppose some of your church high school students value job experience for video editing, web design, marketing, etc. 

All you have to do to incentivize them to volunteer consistently is provide them with hands-on training in their specific volunteer position, have them track their hours of service, and take note of their consistency and work ethic. 

Then, make them aware that you will be a glowing reference on their resume (which you can teach them to make) as well. 

When you provide more value than you ask for in return you will never be short of volunteers. 

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Scarcity: Limit the number of volunteers you will accept. 

This tells your audience a few things. 

First, It tells your audience that you’re not interested in taking everything they are willing to give. 

This builds trust and rapport with potential volunteers.

It also indicates that you can’t accept everyone as a volunteer because of the level of training and discipleship you will be providing.

When you implement scarcity into your volunteer programs, it heightens the perceived value of the position (of course the position should live up to that perceived value.)

Interview: The interview process of volunteers may take a little longer but it communicates that you won’t just take anyone. 

Implementing an interview process affirms the same messages as implementing scarcity.

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Church Growth Strategy #7 – Discover The Needs of Your Members

When we read the New Testament we see Jesus performing miracles but we take for granted the fact he performs the right miracles. 

Can you imagine the disappointment of the man born blind if Jesus miraculously healed his back pain after he requested his sight to be healed? 

It would still be a miracle, it just doesn’t meet his most deeply felt need. 

The blind man longs for his sight above all of his other needs and if Jesus didn’t meet that need, He would have gone elsewhere in search of a cure. 

When Jesus meets the right need, he instantly has the attention of his audience. 

Unfortunately, many church leaders are so busy trying their best to meet needs, they have forgotten to listen to what their audience is requesting. 

Church leaders meet needs, just not the most deeply felt needs. 

When you discover how to meet the correct needs of your audience, you will know how to grow a church.

Meeting less important needs (or not meeting any at all) leads churchgoers to be disappointed and unfulfilled and ultimately leads them to look elsewhere to get their needs met. 

The good news is that many times, meeting the right need requires very little effort and when you do, you can often reduce the amount of effort you’re putting into other areas of your church ministry.

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Example: Jesus went to Peter, James, and John and met their deeply felt need for fish (they had fished all night and caught nothing). 

When Jesus commanded them to fish again – their nets were filled! 

But notice, once their deeply felt need was met, he asked something of them. 

He didn’t need 13 other ministries to try to reach these men, he already reached them by meeting the greatest deeply felt need. 

When you listen to the needs of your audience and meet them, you will ultimately have to do less work to inspire them to action. 

How do you discover the deeply felt needs of your audience?

Ask every person you want to reach these 3 questions:

  1. What was the most impactful experience you have had at XYZ church? 
  2. What do you wish XYZ church did more of?
  3. What would you change about XYZ church? 

Once you aggregate all of the answers you will find a list of about 10 answers to each question. 

You will also find that 80% of the responses to each question fall into just 2 or 3 of those 10 responses. 

This process will reveal the deeply felt needs of your audience and what priority you need to put on each need. When learning how to grow a church, one of the most important skills is meeting large needs efficiently

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Church Growth Strategy #8 – Create an Action-Oriented Culture  

Jesus required His followers to be people of action. 

When Jesus called his disciples he asked them to leave everything behind to follow him. 

To those who refused to take the necessary action (like the rich young ruler), Jesus went on his way without them. 

Jesus sent out the 12 disciples as “sheep among wolves” and additionally told them, 

Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts— no 

bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff.” Matthew 10:9.

 Not only did Jesus require action, he asked for action that was scary enough it required faith. 

Similarly, Jesus sent out the 72 telling them they were going out as “Lambs among wolves,”  Luke 10. 

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If you want to know how to grow a church, ask yourself if people in your congregation are willing to take action.

 If you asked them to leave everything (or just leave home to do community service on a Saturday) would they take action? 

Would those in your congregation act if you sent them out as sheep among wolves? 

If your answer was no, then it may be time to begin creating an action-oriented culture. 

Unless people have a good reason not to, they will almost always take the path of least resistance. 

This is something that marketers know well and it’s the reason you always see “Don’t Wait, Call Today!”, or “Sign up in the next 15 minutes and get an extra…”. 

People won’t take action unless you give them a reason to do so. 

Consistent, strategic calls to action are the first step

This becomes even more effective when you explain why that small action is so important. 

To do this, begin by calling your audience to small actions that lead toward the vision of your church in some way. 

As your audience begins to get comfortable with the habit of taking small actions, ask that they take larger actions. 

Be sure each action you call your audience to (however big or small) is a strategic part of your churchgoer’s journey. 

There is no sense in calling your audience to take action if everyone is walking in a direction that doesn’t support the call God has on your church. 

From this point forward, every program and service should include a call to action to engage your audience. 

When your church is comprised of a group of people who all take massive action in unity, your church will see unparalleled momentum. This is how to grow a church.

church growth

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Church Growth Strategy #9 – Communicate Clearly To Your Audience

 Let’s get a little further into how to grow a church by understanding what I mean by “call to action”. 

A call to action is a request for someone to commit and take a specific action. 

Jesus used the calls to action throughout his ministry. I have already discussed this in-depth in other blogs and courses so I won’t go further into it here. Below are two blogs where I go more in-depth with calls to action in the church. 

To get more scriptural support for using calls to action in your ministry you can see Principle 5 – Step 1 in our blog: Church Marketing Online: The Biblical Way To Grow Your Church

If you are enjoying this post on how to grow a church, you will also love this post on implementing calls to action on your church website, Digital Marketing For Churches: The World’s #1 Online Church Marketing Guide

Once you have a firm understanding of what a call to action is and how to use one, you have to use them to communicate clearly with your audience

Unnecessary and misplaced calls to action are a big source of confusion and frustration churchgoers face every week. 

The most difficult commodity to get in today’s world is people’s attention. If you can get it, you must use it wisely. If you misuse people’s attention, the likelihood that you get it back is very low. 

There is nowhere this is more true than a website. 

You have 7 seconds to grab someone’s attention on a website before your visitor leaves and goes somewhere else. You then only have about 30 seconds to convince them to give you their contact information. 

To do this effectively, you only get one or two chances. This means you need two hyper-clear – purposely crafted calls to action on your website. 

If you have 0 calls to action, nobody knows what to do and they won’t take action. 

If you have 3 or more calls to action, your audience will get confused or frustrated and leave your website. 

This is not only true about websites. This is true for every area of ministry. If you don’t ask, people won’t respond. If you ask for too many different things, they get confused. 

Let’s analyze the orange buttons on two websites to so you can see what I mean for yourself. 

How many calls to action are these two websites using? Take the Clickmill’s homepage and this randomly chosen church website for example. 

church growth

Calls to action = 2

Our website asks visitors to book a strategy session or download an ebook. 

SO WHAT ACTION DO WE WANT YOU TO TAKE? 

Correct answer: Schedule a strategy session or download a free ebook. 

You can’t get away from our strategy session buttons and there is nothing else distracting you from this call to action. EVERYWHERE you go on our website the message is the same. 

Book Your Free Strategy Session Today!

If a visitor chooses to download the ebook, they will conveniently find just short of 1 million “Book Your Free Strategy Session!” calls to action inside. This again prompts visitors to take the NEXT STEP toward the Clickmill vision. If you work with Clickmill, the ONLY steps available for you to take are the ones our team KNOWS will help you reach more people more effectively. There are no other options. This means we only need to ask you to take the first step – and that’s a strategy session. 

Just as your church needs a clearly defined churchgoer journey, Clickmill has a church leader journey. This is the journey that’s required for YOU to reach more people more effectively. 

Each call to action is a strategically planned step in the journey we have created to help you grow your church.

But this means we can’t reach every pastor and church leader with our message. 

Of course, we want you to join our journey for you to reach more people more effectively. But if that’s not your goal, then Clickmill isn’t right for you, and that’s okay.

When this church growth method is used in your ministry, calls to action take your churchgoer on a pre-planned journey to a destination.

This creates momentum in a clearly defined direction. It also reduces confusion and frustration on behalf of your visitor AND increases the likelihood they will accept your call to action. 

church growth

Now consider this unnamed church website (I removed all names to protect the innocent). 

How many unique calls to action do you count in the image below? 

church growth

In the church website above, I counted a minimum of 6 calls to action (if you are only counting unique orange buttons):

  1. “Learn more”
  2. “Take the NEXT STEP”
  3. “Watch Live”
  4. “Sermon Archive”
  5. “Subscribe To Our Podcast”
  6. “Get The App”

That count doesn’t include the “Give” tab, the Pinterest button, the Facebook button, or the “Get in Touch” section with additional ways to contact the church. 

That puts the website closer to 10 CTAs and this isn’t even a lot by comparison to many ministry websites. (I have seen church websites with upwards of 40 calls to action just on the home page.)

So the big question remains – what are you supposed to do to move forward with this ministry? 

The correct answer: Who Knows 

church growth

When people visit a website with so many calls to action the user can’t figure out what to do before they give up. 

When ministries contact Clickmill, I can often tell whether or not a website (and usually their ministry by association) is generating the results the church leadership wants just because I am aware of how to arrange a web page clearly. Now you can too! This clear communication stems back to the very vision of the church. 

Claim your ministry marketing strategy session today!

We Review Your Marketing Efforts & Show You Areas To Improve.

The great news is that this usually means church leaders need to do FEWER THINGS. Give fewer calls to action. Instead of doing more things to reach more people, consider pruning your efforts to only those steps that effectively deliver your audience to the destination God has called you to take them to. 

Use calls to action to clearly communicate a churchgoer’s next step in their journey with your church. Calling people to action is one of the biggest ways you can learn how to grow a church.

Church Growth Strategy #10 – Measure Progress & Optimize

Once you have identified the action steps that comprise your churchgoer journey, it’s time to measure each part of the system and look for problems. This is known as optimization and is an essential part of learning how to grow a church.

Ask yourself which step people are getting hung up on and troubleshoot that step. What’s causing the frustration? Is there a better step entirely? How can you tweak the step to make it function more efficiently? What does your visitor want that you haven’t provided yet?

You will want to track 2 key types of numbers that relate to the effectiveness of your systems. 

  1. Measure the number of people who reach each step every month (or every quarter). 
  2. Measure the rate of transfer from one step to the next every month (or every quarter).

Example: Here are the churchgoer journey steps from our example church above. 

STEP 1: Come to church for the first time: 1000 visitors

STEP 2: Get involved in a Bible study: 300 (30% of 1000)

STEP 3: Commit to a Year of Missions: 20 (6.67% of 300)

STEP 4: Complete Missions Training: 4      (20% of 20)

STEP 5: Choose A Country: 4                     (100% of 4)

STEP 6: Raise Funds: 2                              (50% of 4)

STEP 7: Get On Flight: 2 total                     (100% of 2)

The rate at which people take action is what you want to key into. Here are some questions I would want more information about if this church was real:
 

  • STEP 1: What can we do to increase Bible study signups amongst newer guests. (70% of people aren’t taking further action.) 
  • STEP 3: What do the 20 people who signed up for missions have in common? Are they young or old? Do they have families and careers or are they just starting out? Can you find more people like these 20 people? Create a target audience profile of this group if possible. 
  • STEP 4: What caused 75% of people to drop out of missions training? Is there anything you can do to increase the retention rate? 

When you measure your progress in this way you no longer have to spend your days trying to fix problems you can’t define. All you need to do to create church growth is identify the problem areas and test solutions ONE AT A TIME. This is how to grow a church.

When you measure your results and optimization the system you will reduce your overall workload at any given time while increasing the results you generate in the mid to long run. 

That about brings us to the end of this post on church growth.

If you loved this article on church growth, you will also love this post titled: Digital Marketing For Churches: The World #1 Church Marketing Guide

Was there a question we didn’t answer about church growth? Let us know in the comments!

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