Why Most Churches Miss Their Biggest Opportunities for Growth (and What to Do About it)

by Jan 30, 2020

As we start the New Year, I am sure, like me, you can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief that we survived Christmas. Christmas is one of those going-on-all-cylinders seasons for the church. It’s harvest time that needs additional focus and intentionality from us and our teams. We take these special Sundays very seriously as a church and a staff. We know that on these “Big Days,” we see a significant increase in first-time visitors and unchurched members of the community coming to check out the church for the very first time. This is an opportunity soul-winning churches just can’t afford to waste.

We can’t get too relaxed as one season comes to an end as the next one is staring at us just around the corner. 

Easter is coming.
Mother’s Day is coming.
September Launch is coming.

The next Big Day is always there waiting for us to make the most of it. 

Rich Birch, who wrote the book The Church Growth Flywheel said, “Churches grow because members invite their friends.” 

So how do we get the most out of our Big Days and create a culture of inviting?

No. 1 Plan, Plan, Plan.

Communication is going to be a key factor in allowing your teams and your congregation to buy into your next Big Day. Get ahead in the planning process and create a communication strategy that you can clearly lay out for every department involved in the day. Your children’s ministry, host teams, and service programming teams should all know what is happening so they can push the invite and create value in the service. People are always wondering what is next, so let them know! Last-minute planning is only going to work against you as you prepare for your next big day.

No. 2 The Message Matters.

When surveyed, three out of four people say that the quality of preaching is the main reason they attend a church. Make sure whoever is communicating that day has time to prepare and has a compelling message and/or topic that drives your members to invite their family, friends and co-workers. Make sure it’s relatable and relevant. 

(Pro Tip: The Sunday before a big day, preach a message on inviting. It will keep the why behind the invite in front of your congregation. You should also provide invite cards for two weeks leading up to your Big Day so people can easily invite their friends and family. For a great resource on developing this system, check out The Church Growth Flywheel by Rich Birch or take the masterclass.)

No. 3 Don’t forget the kids.

Always, always, always have something special for the kids.

Families inside the church will be more likely to invite their friends, and families are more likely to come and visit your church on these special Sundays if you have something out of the ordinary for children. Parents will often overlook their own dislike for church or religion to make their kids happy, so if you are intentional and provide something special, you are going to see a big return on your invite.

(Pro Tip: Give them something to talk about. If people aren’t excited to share it, you probably aren’t doing anything remarkable. This will leave you with a lower return on your invite.)

No. 4 Set the table.

Everything communicates something. Take the time to walk through your facility, check for things out of order, places that need to be tidied, or maybe needs a fresh coat of paint. Look for signage and see things through a visitor’s eyes. Sometimes we become blind to the things around us. Connect with the host teams and create environments that set the table for guests and tell visitors we are ready for them.

No. 5 Have a follow-up plan.

We are not here to host events. We are here to make disciples and build churches. Make sure you have a detailed follow-up plan and assimilation process in place for your newcomers. It would be a shame to have hundreds of new people come through your doors just to slip in and out unnoticed.

(Pro Tip: Have a dedicated New Here center. Provide New Here bags or a free gift in exchange for contact information, then you can do follow up within 48 hours of that big day.)

Check out my conversation with Pastor Dennis at GoCast Ep. 018 and see how they have unlocked the key to using these Big Days to reach more people than ever before. 

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