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7 Shared Traits of Growing Churches
- Paul Alexander
Once a month at Sun Valley Community Church (the church I have the privilege of serving at) we gather all of our staff from all of our campuses to have some fun, celebrate wins, keep everybody on the same page and oftentimes do some leadership development training. Last week Chad Moore, who serves as the lead pastor at Sun Valley shared Seven Things That All Growing Churches Have in Common… I thought these may be helpful to you in your local church context…
- Church is not a building that you come to, it’s a movement that you choose to be a part of to help people meet, know and follow Jesus.
- You can’t come to church, because you are the church.
- To get the right answers about church you have to ask the right questions.
- The book of Acts is all about how the early church acted.
1. Passionate and Proficient LeadersThe starting point for any movement is highly competent leaders who are deeply committed leaders to the cause. Without highly competent leaders the church will prematurely hit a leadership capacity lid. Without deeply committed leaders the church will be stunted due to leadership turnover when things get too difficult.
2. Clearly Defined Vision and GoalsJesus gave the early church a clear vision to get this movement going in Acts 1:8—we don’t have to make up the mission (why we exist) of the church. But we do get to lean into the vision (where we are going next) of the church. Most churches just say things like, “We are just going to follow the Spirit.” Which sounds really spiritual but is usually code for, “We don’t know where we’re going or what we’re doing.” Most churches forget that planning is spiritual, Proverbs is in the Bible too and God has a plan… He’s not just winging it. Hope is not a strategy; if you don’t have a target you’ll hit it every time.
3. Culture That Supports the Vision and StrategyCulture is the soft squishy stuff that most organizations have a difficult time clearly defining. Culture is how the people in the organization think and feel, what they value, and how they actually behave. Regardless of what’s written on the wall, it’s what’s happening down the hall. Of all the things that a leader does, the most important is what the leader does to protect and fuel the culture.
4. A Strong Communicating Leader (Cultural Architect)The early church had Peter and Paul (among others). Contrary to popular belief in church-world, teaching on the weekends is not the most important thing we’re doing. The most important thing we’re doing is building culture, and we’re using the Bible to reinforce and build this movement called the church. The primary purpose of the pulpit is not teaching, it’s leading.
5. Generous, Consistent GivingWhen I first started giving I was nervous to do it, now I’m nervous not to do it. Two common barriers that hold back the movement of the church are leaders and money. It is the leader's responsibility to not just develop leaders but also develop generosity in the heart of the church to fuel the vision.
6. Passionate and Proficient Next-Step LeadersGrowing churches must have people on the team who are great at helping people take their next step with Jesus. The ministry of Jesus can be broken down into four categories:
- Come & See: The woman at the well (John 4)…"come and see a man who knew all about me, could He be the Messiah?"
- Follow Me: This is a line in the sand (John 6)…you’re either going to follow Jesus or you’re not
- Be With Me: Up close and over time…this is Jesus and the disciples
- Remain in Me: This person knows the Bible, can read it and apply it on his or her own and lead others (John 15)