I spent Sunday morning with my friends at the Church on The Eastern Shore in Fairhope, Alabama, a very eclectic artist community near Mobile. I rejoiced with them as hundreds of new faces visited the church on the opening Sunday of their new teaching series. That’s a part of my job that gives me great satisfaction: watching God bless an entire team’s effort. COTE’s story is one that I have seen happen time and time again, but it never grows old. Here’s what I have seen in churches like COTES that succeed in reaching their community for the gospel.
They learn. Growing churches are learning organizations. They are always asking “how can we be better?” They invest resources and in training and helping their staff and volunteers grow. I’m always humbled when I’m asked to consult with a church and help them to stretch beyond where they’ve been.
They have a heart for those outside the faith. Growing churches know that making room for those outside the faith is difficult, messy and expensive, but they choose to do it because to them, reaching out is not an option.
They go the extra mile. I’ve never seen a growing church that didn’t stretch its resources both human as well as financially. They believe that a job worth doing is worth doing well. God deserves our very best.
They believe. Leaders of growing churches know that a crowd is not a church and that unless God shows up, they had a nice assembly and not an experience with the Living God. A meeting, no matter how well planned and exciting it is, never changed anyone’s life. Only God changes people.
They celebrate. A church is, by nature, a volunteer organization. Smart leaders will take the time to pause and celebrate with their entire organization. Gratitude is the currency of volunteerism.
What have you learned about growing churches?