Article for the month of March 2007

by Dr. John Williams
Founder/President of IICM Educational Trust
with Head Quarters in Tambaram, Chennai,
and a Branch office in Plymouth, USA
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In order to take steps for every church to grow, we will have to do a number of things which may be broken down into 5 steps, as indicated below:

I.                               Spiritual Growth
Numerical Growth
Financial Growth
Geographical Growth
Ministry Growth

When we use this balanced approach focusing on the above five dimensions, we can have a balanced growth to be very effective and successful. 

As suggested below the 24 criteria may be selected to assess and measure periodically the growth of every member of the church to ensure that each one makes a satisfactory progress and maintains a balanced growth in all the dimensions given below:

I.                             Spiritual Growth Chart
S      VG    G      B      P

1.     Love

2.     Joy

3.     Peace

4.     Long Suffering

5.     Gentleness

6.     Goodness

7.     Faith

8.     Meekness

9.      Temperance

10.  Sharing the Gospel

11.   Bringing souls to the church

12.   Getting souls saved

13.   Souls getting Baptized

14.   Souls becoming Church Members

15.  Souls becoming Tithers

16.  Sick getting healed

17.  Demons being cast out

18.   Teaching the Word of God

19.    Holding a Prayer Meeting in the house

20.   Serving as an Elder or a Deacon

21.   Serving as an Evangelist

22.   Serving as an Assistant Pastor

23.  Becoming a Pastor of a Branch Church

24.  Building a Church

(S- Superior     VG – Very Good     G – Good    B – Bad   P – Poor)

In order to cause every member of the church to grow spiritually they should be spiritually fed adequately with weekly programs of Preaching, Teaching and Counseling.  Special emphasis should be given in preaching and teaching on the spiritual qualities listed above in practical terms.  Further, necessary counseling help should be provided to help guide individuals little or no progress or with problems with in these dimensions.  When we use this kind of an approach we will not only have an individual focus but will also know the degree of progress each member makes in the dimension of spiritual growth. 

II.                        Numerical Growth Chart

Numerical growth of the church members is also very important and generally this is what is referred to as the Church Growth, and the total number of members in a church is referred to as the size of the church.  A suggested numerical church growth chart is given below for a church with 100 members.  The reasonable and practically attainable numerical growth of the first time visitors per month, quarter and year is given below: 

1. Church Growth per month   25    20   15    10    5
2. Church Growth per quarter  75    60   45    30  15
3. Church Growth per year     300  240 180  120  60

If the church grows consistently in this fashion in a span of 4 months a church will double its attendance.  If this cycle continues for 2 more terms of 4 months at the end of the year the attendance will be 800, mathematically speaking but it is really attainable and challenging.

It is important that the Pastor of the church emphasizes to the congregation that when they come to Sunday Morning they should try to bring at least one first time visitor to the church.  Frequently feed back should be given about the number of first time visitors brought and by whom and special recognition should be given to those who bring first time visitors. This must be a continuous and on going work of the pastor. If this is done consistently throughout the year every member of the church will be conscious of their responsibility to play this key role of ushering new souls into the Kingdom of God through this approach.  When once the first time visitors are brought into the church they should be loved, spiritually fed well and make them feel comfortable and develop some friendship and interest in them to come back to church again and again without forcing them or inviting them again and again.

III.                     Financial Growth- (Increase in weekly offerings)

Growing  by the figures of the Numerical Growth Chart of this article if the regular weekly offerings of the church also grows in the same proportion, which is reasonable to expect, the amount of offerings also in the same  proportion of the numerical increase of the church which means, assuming that the weekly collection is Rs.500/-  at the end of the year, the weekly collection will be Rs.1500/-, but if the weekly collection has been like Rs.2000/- or so the additional average collection per month will be Rs.2500/-.

This is just an arithmetic calculation, but what has to be done to achieve this goal is given in the table below:
a. Growth in Collection/Offerings

1. Increase in collection per month in the 1st quarter
                                               Rs.500     400     300    200    100
2. Collection in the 2nd quarter
                                               Rs.1000   800     600   400     200
3. Collection in the 3rd quarter
                                               Rs.1500  1200    900    600    300
4. Collection in the 4th quarter
                                               Rs.2000  1600   1200   800    400

In order to achieve the financial goals of the church it is certainly important for the pastor to give key bible verses which deals with the subject of bringing offerings unto the store house, meaning the church.  This is actually the general offerings that people bring.

Even bringing offerings to god should not be just a habit or a routine matter but they should be conscious of the Biblical Principles when they give offerings to the Lord.  Some relevant scriptures are quoted below:

E.g.: “If you sow sparingly you will also reap sparingly but if you sow bountifully you will also reap bountifully.  Therefore let him give as he purposeth in his heart.” (II Corinthians 9:6-7)

However the bible also requires us to give all of our tithes into the store house from all of our incomes which will be a substantial amount and my educated guess is that in churches in general only 10% of the members will probably give 1/10th of all of their income as tithes. 

Secondly, every believer is required to give 3 kinds of offerings as given below:

1. Thanksgiving offering for every special blessing they receive from the Lord

2. Seed Faith offering which is giving a token offering as appropriate for the magnitude of the prayer request or petitions that they make to the Lord.

3. The First Fruits offerings which is the blessings one receives in answer to the prayers for the first time and this could be the first month’s entire salary or the first days entire profit in the business or the first month’s rent of the building that is rented out etc.

In addition to the tithes and other kinds of offerings, a special offering should be given for building or rebuilding or renovating their church.  The money should come from the members of the church and one should not look for funds from the external sources. When the children of God, in the wilderness were walking through the desert towards the land of Canaan, Moses told the people to bring the offerings of silver, gold and bronze every day until they would have enough money to build the Tabernacle in the wilderness and if the individuals were at least 20 years old or older. It is interesting to note that enough money came in and they even had to put up a notice to the effect that no further offerings will be received until further notice.

b. Growth in Tithes (Percentage)
     1. One Hundred Percent Tithers       100      80     60    40   20
     2. Growth in amount of Tithes     
       Per family                                Rs.500    400   300  200  100
      (If the Average monthly income per family is Rs.5000/-)
     3. Total revenue through tithes (50 families)
                  Rs.2,50,000   2,00,000    1,50,000   1,00,000  50,000

 c. Regular Offerings (Number of People) 50 wage earners
     (Average First Fruits –Rs.1000/-)
         1. First Fruits Offering                  Rs.   50,000
         2. Thanks giving Offering              Rs.   50,000
         3. Seed Faith Offering                  Rs.     5,000
             Total                                      Rs.1,00,000/-

d. Growth in Offerings (Amount of Offerings) 10% increase
        1. First Fruits Offering                      
         2. Thanks giving Offering
         3. Seed Faith Offering
             Total per year – 120%                  Rs.1,20,000/-

The Great commission
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” St. Mathew 28:18-20

As shown in the table given below you should set some numerical goals on a weekly basis and ensure that you achieve your goals.  If you do it systematically the probability is that you will reach the goal, which in turn will multiply the results in all areas of growth.

Per Week 500   300    400  200  100
1. Preach the Gospel  50 40 30 20 10
2. Make Disciples 5 3 2 1
3. Teach the Word   50 40 30 20 10
4. Heal the Sick 5 3 2 1
5. Open the blind eyes 5 3 2 1
6. Unstop the deaf ears 5 3 2 1
7. Cast the Demons  5 3 2 1
8. Raise the Dead 5 3 2 1

   IV. Geographical Growth
Every Church may again set some goals for its numerical growth by making plans to start more and more prayer meetings in the homes of the members which in turn will increase the attendance in each house prayer meeting and also in the church attendance on Sundays.   Each home cell may become a branch church in every area in which the members of the churches live.  In this way instead of the church being just located in one place and increasing in its attendance gradually the church will be growing numerically and geographically in fulfillment of the Great Commission which is stated as “ Going into all the world and preaching the Gospel” .  Of course evangelistic meetings and crusades may also be held in various parts of the country and  the world.  Further in the modern age in which we are living the Gospel may also be preached through videos in our websites and TV broadcasting through satellites. 

                                   Month     Quarter     Year
1. House Prayer meetings       1            3              12
2. Attendance                      30          90             360
3. Church Planting                               1                4

You may circulate a survey questionnaire among the members of the church to evaluate the measure the growth of your church in the 5 different dimensions discussed above.  In order to do it you may design or develop a Survey Questionnaire  to suit your situation. 

Conclusion:  It is needless to say in reality everything is not going to happen as you plan or predict, and a proposed numerical plan given above may not actually work just as per our plan in the matter of church growth in different dimensions but it is better to plan, do and make some progress even if we do not achieve the quantitative goals mentioned under different sections discussed above, but at least a certain percentage of balanced growth can be achieved if we set goals, plan and execute rather than not doing anything at all along these lines.  As the saying goes, if we shoot at the star we will at least shoot at the sky.  Actually in all probability the growth will be significant if we do not achieve the goals established.   As we read in Philippines 3:14 , “…press towards the mark for the price of the high calling… “

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