Every church has a unique mission and purpose, and growing a small struggling church can be an especially challenging journey. It can feel like an uphill battle to stand up to the challenges and difficulties of running a church in a crowded, competitive market. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
This article is dedicated to helping small struggling churches grow and thrive. Here we’ll explore the different challenges that can arise and how to approach them in an empathetic and understanding way. We’ll discuss how to welcome and engage visitors, create a sense of community and belonging, and build strong relationships with church members.
We’ll also look at the importance of being patient and understanding, as well as providing support, guidance and resources to those who are new to the church. Growing a small struggling church can be an inspiring and rewarding experience, and by following the tips and advice in this article, you can create a vibrant and welcoming space that can be a beacon of hope and light in your community.
To help grow a small struggling church, you can take the following steps:
- Have a clear vision for the church and what you want it to become.
- Focus on developing relationships with people in the community.
- Invest in the church by providing resources and training for members.
- Equip the saints for the work of the ministry.
- Get a committed core group together and show them how to pray for unsaved family and friends.
- Write a prayer list of names together and show members how to share the Gospel in a simple and friendly way.
- Welcome visitors and make sure they feel welcomed, cared for, and accepted.
It’s important to note that growing a church takes time, effort, and dedication. Implementing these steps and continually seeking new ways to engage with the community and bring in new members can help a small struggling church become successful.
Have a Clear Vision
To expand a small, struggling church, you need a clear vision for the church and what it should become. If you want to get better results, try these suggestions:
- Develop a clear vision and mission statement. A clear vision and mission statement defines who you are as a church, what you believe, and what you are trying to accomplish.
- Develop a strong leadership team. A strong leadership team can help implement the vision and mission statement and guide the church in the right direction.
- Focus on evangelism and discipleship. Evangelism is important for bringing new members into the church, and discipleship is important for helping them grow in their faith.
The Bible emphasizes the importance of having a clear vision and mission in several verses, including:
“The Lord called to him in a vision, Ananias! Yes, Lord, he answered. 11 The Lord told him, Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” ~ 1 Chronicles 4:10 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” ~ 2 Chronicles 15:7 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”
“Vision breeds commitment and investment. God has said far too much about doing life together for us to come up with our own ideas. If the purpose of your small group is vague and mostly social, then your members won’t even know how to be committed and invested.”
These verses suggest that having a clear vision and mission, as guided by God, is essential for success and fulfillment in life and in serving the community.
Focus on Developing Relationship
Several actions can be taken to accomplish the goal of growing a small church that is suffering by placing an emphasis on creating relationships:
- Encourage members to build relationships with each other: The Bible says in 1 John 4:7-12, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” Encourage members to spend time together outside of church, have small group meetings, and participate in community service projects together.
- Create opportunities for new people to get involved: Acts 2:46-47 says, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Offer classes, events, and volunteer opportunities that give new people a chance to get to know others in the church and become involved.
- Reach out to the community: James 2:14-17 says, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?” Look for ways to serve the community and meet the needs of those around you. This will help establish a positive reputation for the church and create opportunities for people to get to know the members.
By focusing on building relationships, a small struggling church can become a vibrant community that attracts new members and grows in faith.
Invest in The Church
Investing in the members of a small, struggling church is one way to help it grow. This could be achieved when you:
- Provide biblical training: 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” Offer regular Bible studies, training sessions, and workshops to help members grow in their faith and knowledge of the Bible.
- Invest in leadership development: Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Identify and develop leaders within the church, and provide them with the resources and training they need to effectively serve the congregation.
- Offer resources and support for small groups: Acts 2:42-47 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Encourage members to participate in small groups and provide resources and support to help these groups thrive.
By investing in its members and providing resources and training, a small struggling church can become a dynamic community where people are equipped to serve and grow in their faith.
Equip the saints for the work
You can achieve this through these steps:
- Emphasize the importance of every member using their gifts: 1 Peter 4:10-11 says, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.” Encourage every member to discover and use their gifts in serving others and the church.
- Provide training and resources: Ephesians 4:12-13 says, “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Offer training, workshops, and resources to help members develop their skills and grow in their ministry.
- Encourage and support service: Romans 12:6-8 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Encourage and support members as they use their gifts to serve others and the church.
By equipping the saints for the work of the ministry, a small struggling church can become a vibrant community where every member is able to contribute and serve, resulting in growth and increased impact.
Get a Committed Core Group Together
Growing a small struggling church by getting a committed core group together and teaching them how to pray for unsaved family and friends can be done through the following steps:
- Build a committed core group: Acts 2:42 says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Gather a committed group of individuals who are dedicated to the growth of the church and willing to pray and work together.
- Teach the importance of prayer: 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray continually.” Emphasize the importance of prayer in the life of the church and the individual, and teach members how to pray effectively for their unsaved family and friends.
- Encourage members to share their faith: Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Encourage members to share their faith with unsaved family and friends, and to pray for them regularly.
- Provide opportunities for members to pray together: James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Provide opportunities for members to pray together for their unsaved family and friends, and for the growth of the church.
By building a committed core group and teaching them the importance of prayer, a small struggling church can become a community of believers who are empowered to reach out to their unsaved family and friends, resulting in growth and increased impact.
Involve the Members
Writing a list of names together and teaching members how to share the Gospel in a courteous and straightforward manner are two ways to help a small, struggling church grow.
- Create a prayer list: Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Encourage members to write down the names of unsaved family and friends, and to commit to pray for them regularly.
- Teach the Gospel message: 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 says, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Teach members the simple and clear message of the Gospel, and help them to understand how to share it in a friendly way.
- Encourage members to share their faith: Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Encourage members to share their faith with unsaved family and friends, using the simple and clear message that they have learned.
- Provide opportunities for members to practice sharing their faith: Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Provide opportunities for members to practice sharing their faith in a supportive and encouraging environment.
By creating a prayer list and teaching members how to share the Gospel in a simple and friendly way, a small struggling church can become a community of believers who are equipped and empowered to reach out to their unsaved family and friends, resulting in growth and increased impact.
Welcome Visitors Appropriately
Growing a small struggling church can be achieved by making visitors feel welcomed, cared for, and accepted. Here are a few steps to achieve this goal:
- Create a warm and welcoming environment: Greet visitors with a smile, make them feel comfortable, and provide a safe and inclusive space where they can worship and connect with others. Bible reference: Romans 12:13 – “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
- Get to know your visitors: Take time to speak with visitors, listen to their stories, and understand their needs and interests. This will help you to tailor your services and activities to meet their needs and make them feel valued. Bible reference: Colossians 4:5-6 – “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”
- Provide opportunities for fellowship and community: Encourage visitors to participate in church activities, such as Bible studies, social events, and service projects. This will help them to build relationships and feel like they are part of the church community. Bible reference: Hebrews 10:24-25 – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
- Show genuine care and concern: Be available to visitors and offer support, encouragement, and prayer. This will demonstrate your love for them and help them to feel accepted and valued. Bible reference: 1 Peter 4:9 – “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
By following these steps and incorporating the relevant Bible references, you can create a welcoming and inclusive environment that will help your small struggling church to grow and flourish.
Growing a small struggling church can feel like an uphill battle, but with a little bit of faith, patience, and hard work, it is possible to create a thriving and vibrant church. It is important to welcome visitors and make them feel comfortable, provide them with resources to help deepen their faith, and create a sense of community and belonging. Additionally, it is essential to be patient and understanding with visitors, provide support and guidance, and be consistent in your approach. With a bit of time, effort, and faith, your small struggling church can become a beacon of hope and light in your community.