It seems like every year there’s a new diet plan that's guaranteed to work. Whether it’s a new piece of exercise equipment, a bottle of pills or special meals shipped to your home, they all promise to make the pounds melt away (and usually with little effort). Regardless of the promotions and promises, there is really one basic truth when it comes a healthy way to lose weight. Burn (or lessen) more calories than you consume. That’s it.
There is, from time to time, some new thing that promises instant success in the world of church. Some leaders believe if they can only find it, buy it or build it, growth will happen. Usually it's something along the lines of a new building, cool stage lights, adding staff or more money. However, much like losing weight, at the end of the day there is really only one healthy way to grow a church...and that is prayerful planning. Sure, the other things help fuel growth, but prayerful planning is the core engine.
Here’s a few scriptures that validate this truth:
Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans. Proverbs 16:3
Plans fail for lack of counsel,
but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22
May he give you the desire of your heart
and make all your plans succeed. Psalms 20:4
Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28
The reality is, God wants the church to grow. He wants the church to change lives. That’s why He established it. I believe God has a plan for every church; we simply have to pursue Him in order to find it. God loves to be sought after.
Here’s three things you can do to start planning for growth.
Dream as a Team
While the lead pastor is the visionary and primary communicator, it is helpful to determine “what’s next” as a team. The Bible says
“For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14)
Ask your team, "What is God saying to you?" Push them to dream. Capture all their thoughts on a whiteboard or flip-chart. It's amazing how God can use these conversations to paint a beautiful vision for the church.
Plan as a Team
Once you’ve determined where you’re going, ask “How will we get there?” Ask your team how, don't tell them how. Give them an opportunity to engage. Inviting the team to answer the "how" releases creativity in the room. It allows them to participate in the brick and mortar stage of planning. Participation creates ownership and ownership heightens commitment.
Execute as a Team
One of our core philosophies at The Unstuck Group is, “We is smarter than me.” We understand the value of a strong team. This is especially true when it comes to executing plans. While every team needs a leader, execution should be a joint effort by a focused team. When details and deadlines surrounds a team, strong execution happens.
Unfortunately, planning isn’t like the diet gimmicks. It doesn't promise or produce instant success. But in time, growth happens. And slow growth is usually healthy growth.