Is your church healthy? Healthy churches will bear fruit. Just as a healthy young married couple produces babies, healthy churches should, also, produce "babes in Christ."
If your church is not bearing fruit, you need to raise the question, "Why not?" If you will give this question prayerful and thoughtful consideration, more than likely you will discover a variety of reasons as to why your church is not bearing fruit.
A very sad reality is that many churches that are not growing have no desire to grow. They are content with maintaining the status quo. If a visitor should come in they might not receive a very warm welcome. Everyone is too busy fellowshipping with their friends to reach out to the newcomer. Little or nothing is done in the way of follow up and inviting them back.
The majority of the churches in the U.S. average less than 100 in attendance. A high percentage of our CCCU churches would fall into this category. Here is the good news! A church that averages less than 100 can be a healthy church bearing much fruit.
A wonderful example of this would be our church in Maysville, KY. After going through a revitalization process when they reached 100 in attendance they planted another church in Flemingsburg, KY. Both churches are doing very well. They are seeing lives changed through the power of the Gospel.
If your church has a passionate desire to reach unsaved people and will develop an effective discipleship program for new believers, it will grow and bear much spiritual fruit.
While serving as President of World Gospel Mission, Ella Mae and I would occasionally attend a nearby holiness church. It had an attendance of over 1000 persons. The pastor also taught several classes at a local university. In spite of all the demands on his busy life, he made a brief but personal visit to everyone in the area who attended his church for the first time. He understood the value of the personal touch in making people welcome. Most growing churches will make phone calls and send letters to their visitors each week. These are simple but very important steps to making people feel welcome.
One of the keys to effective church growth is the developing of relationships. If you want visitors to return, it is important to reach out to them in a variety of ways.
Growing churches today, understand the importance of having a dynamic web site and the value of using Facebook to reach new and needy people. One pastor shared with me that just about every new person that visited their church had first of all checked them out on their website. The first couple of weeks that they were on Facebook two new families with a total of ten people started attending the church, reached through Facebook.
In contrast, another pastor shared his excitement over their new sound system, screen and power point. He said we are now really ready to grow. These items can be very useful, but they will not bring new people into the church. It's really all about developing relationships with lost people.
Good clear biblical preaching and prayer are still of greatest importance. However, excellent preaching alone will not build a great church. It requires reaching outside the four walls of the church into your community.
The bottom line for an effective and fruitful ministry in these days could be summarized with the words, connections and relationships. Buildings, technology and staff are all nice to have, but your fruitfulness will come from connecting with people and developing relationships with them.
America desperately needs churches that are alive and well. The church of Jesus Christ is the only real hope for our Nation. Is your church healthy and effective? If not, why not? If what you are doing is not working, why not make the necessary changes.
A former president of The Ohio State University said, "If you don't like change, you will like irrelevance even less." I fear irrelevance far more than change.
LET'S GET HEALTHY! THE ALTERNATIVE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.