Not every small church in the country is destined to become a megachurch, nor should it be. Nearly 90% of all churchgoers attend much smaller churches and obviously enjoy the size, fellowship and ministry they find there. Even so, here are some things we can learn from the megachurches, and which are likely to contribute to continued health and vitality, if not attendance growth.
Over the years, I’ve attended many training sessions. I’ve taught more than my share of them and have found that often, it is the simple ideas that can be the most profound.
In my ministry of equipping pastors and churches and sharing our vision of the Church, one of the lessons I’ve learned and teach often is the What, How and Why. All are important, but it’s the Why that matters.
Perhaps you’ve heard the often-told adage that 80 percent of all new church plants fail. Not true. While there’s no comprehensive research on the total number of new churches started annually, the most recent research on literally thousands of new church starts show that 99 percent of all new churches survive the first year, and 68 percent survive to year four. Moreover, of the churches that survive, more than 70 percent are self-sufficient financially by the fifth year.
In my ministry in visiting, encouraging and partnering with literally hundreds of churches, there are five essential aspects of church leadership that I am committed to never forget. Here they are in a condensed form. To make it interesting, the most important is actually the last one on the list.
It seems we’ve all grown too accustomed to settling for being told ‘half-truths’ obviously designed to deceive. Politicians are likely at the top of the list of half-truth-tellers — but half-truths are also featured regularly on our nightlight news, radio ads, commercials, the Internet, and even many companies’ sales reports.
The problem with any half-truth is it’s actually a whole lie.
Just as every pastor should be concerned about church health, every true believer should be interested as well in how to be a “healthy church member.” As we focused on the local church in the last blog, I thought I would address the topic as well from a local church perspective.
Pastor Rick Warren, author of the best-selling Purpose Driven Life, is often quoted as saying, “Healthy things grow.” As the pastor of one of the largest and most influential megachurches at the time, many pastors used Pastor Warren’s quote to push for numerical growth.
One of the most important aspects of leadership in any organization is the ability to delegate authority to others. Delegation is especially key for leadership development, as well as maintaining a healthy work / life balance. At some point in a growing organization, it is literally impossible for one decision-maker to make all the decisions — and the sooner others are able to learn how to make decisions and handle authority, the faster they develop the leadership skills necessary for both the individual and the organization to succeed.
I’m often asked about how leaders resolve difficult issues. One of the things that leaders are required to do, if they lead well, is to be able to handle the more difficult issues in a way that brings reconciliation and resolution.
Being hurried through the day is in deep contrast to the example of Jesus, who never seemed to be in a hurry. Jesus not only refused to be hurried, but prayer and solitude was a regular part of his daily routine. Jesus told his disciples, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place” (Mark 6:31-32). This practice of solitude was a practice of many in the early church. Not only did monks and hermits practice solitude, but the Rules of St. Benedict of prayer, work, study, hospitality and renewal were embraced by both clergy and the common people.