In Kingdom Principles for Church Growth, Gene Mims said there are five things every church should do. These functions are evangelism, discipleship, fellowship, ministry, and worship. When these five things are done in a healthy and balanced manner, church growth will be the natural result.
Church growth is natural. It is natural for living things to grow to maturity. When they don't grow, something is wrong. It is natural for the church to grow. If your church isn't growing, something is wrong. Church growth is achieved by doing natural things in a healthy, balanced manner.
To lead your church to grow, do something intentional about each of these five functions.
Evangelism.—Don't neglect the basics. In Effective Evangelistic Churches, Tom Rainer told about his research into what more than five hundred evangelistic churches are doing to fulfill the Great Commission. It surprised some to learn that most evangelistic churches are doing some pretty basic, even traditional things. They do weekly outreach. They have revivals. They have strong Sunday Schools.
Be intentional. Plan an outreach project each quarter. Include witness training, prospect discovery, and projects designed to encourage your people to participate in outreach.
Lead your church to participate in an evangelism process. FAITH is a process of doing evangelism through the Sunday School. Outreach Teams That Win: Grow is a way to organize your church into four outreach teams. Find a ministry that matches your church and get involved.
Be a personal soul-winner. If you, personally, are faithful to share your faith with others, your church will baptize many each year.
Discipleship.—Make Sunday School a priority. Start a new Bible Study group. Enlist your teachers and provide training for them. Fulfill the Great Commission through your Sunday School.
Encourage your people to involve themselves personally in discipling others. Any time one believer engages another and the result is that they are both more like Christ, discipleship is happening. Whether two neighbors share a cup of coffee as they study the Bible or a group meets for Bible study in an apartment complex, encourage your people to disciple others.
Fellowship.— Fellowship is more than punch and cookies. When we bear one another's burdens, fellowship is strong. When we rejoice in the common blessings we share as Christians, that is fellowship.
Encourage Sunday School classes to be intentional about fellowship. One strong Sunday School class gathers to share a meal once a month. This fellowship time around a meal opens the door for class members to bear one another's burdens.
Make much of the fellowship of the Lord's Supper. This is a time of fellowship and worship. The Lord's Supper shows us and the world all that we have in common in the body and blood of Jesus.
Ministry.— No matter how many people you win, your church will not grow without effective ministry. Organize your Sunday School to minister. The Sunday School class I attend has 15 members. Because of the relatively small group, we are able to keep up with ministry needs. Every Sunday School class should be organized to meet needs in Jesus name.
Involve your deacons in ministry. The Deacon Family Ministry Plan is used effectively by many congregations.
Worship.— Worship can be defined as an encounter with God. While one may encounter God in many places, that encounter should always take place when the church is gathered on the Lord's Day.
Strive for excellence. You would not dare enter the pulpit without praying and preparing extensively for the sermon you will deliver. The same attention should be given the rest of the worship experience. Pray, prepare, and make the Lord's day the most warm, authentic worship experience possible.
Mims, Gene. Kingdom Principles for Church Growth, revised and expanded. Nashville: LifeWay Press ®, 2001.
Rainer, Tom. S. Effective Evangelistic Churches. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 1996.
Tidwell, Jerry N. Outreach Teams That Win: G.R.O.W. Nashville: Convention Press, 1998.