One of the most important principles for strengthening your physical body is the principle of stress and release. To build muscles, you must stress them, then release them so they can rebuild and become stronger.
It’s also how your church can grow and why summer is the perfect time to prepare for growth this fall.
4 Steps to Prepare your Ministry Muscles for Growth in the Fall
1. Schedule a Fall Church-Wide Campaign
During church-wide campaigns, every adult attender is asked to do three things:
- Attend weekend services to hear the message.
- Grow through reading a brief devotional and Bible passage each day on the topic of the message.
- Connect via a weekly small group to discuss the weekend service’s message.
The formula is simple, but the results are powerful.
The combination of large group, small group, and personal experience has a magnifying effect on personal growth, while studying the same topic in three different settings all week has an accelerating effect.
As I survey what is happening in churches across the country, the Lord seems to be honoring church wide campaigns more than just about any other spiritual tool these days.
At New Song, every time we’ve held a campaign, we’ve seen attendance growth, small group growth, and personal spiritual growth.
During The God Questions campaign, we experienced a 10% rise in attendance, and a 50% increase in small groups.
After that, we were hooked, and last fall we held The Bible Questions campaign. Joshua 1:8 promises that if you will mediate on God’s Word and put it into practice, you will be prosperous and successful. This is true individually and corporately.
The Bible Questions set us up for one of our most successful years ever.
To prepare for a successful fall campaign, select a church-wide campaign in the spring. Schedule it to begin 3-4 weeks after the start of your school year.
2. Recruit Small Group Leaders
To enlarge a muscle, you must enlarge its mass. When muscles get stressed through exercise, they recruit the cells around them become part of the new muscle mass.
Your church has people outside your central serving core, people you need to recruit into service. July and August are the ideal months to identify and invite non-servers to become small group leaders.
Rule of thumb: Healthy churches have seven small group leaders for every hundred adults in attendance.
How are you doing on that?
3. Store up Power through Prayer
An acquaintance of mine told me about the day his dad took him down to the harbor and began to push against a huge docked cargo ship.
He says, “My dad spread-eagled against the ship and began to push with all his might. After a minute, veins started to show on his neck.
After two minutes, he was turning red. The ship was so big, it didn’t budge. My dad pushed so long and so hard that I started to worry he’d have a heart attack.
As I was about to insist that he stop pushing, the ship moved.
This massive vessel moved sideways from the dock, and would have continued moving all the way to Hawaii if it hadn’t been restrained by its mooring ropes.
Dad’s pushing had stored up latent energy until it reached its release point.”
Prayer is latent energy. It doesn’t always have immediate results, but when enough prayer-power has been stored, it can move massive things. Once the thing starts moving, it will keep moving until it’s restrained or runs into something bigger.
Summer is the perfect time to store up power through prayer.
Pray for a great fall campaign. Pray for people to come to your church, join your groups, establish daily times with the Lord, grow in Christ, serve the Lord, and help you reach your city.
Like my friend’s dad, push in prayer until the veins stick out of your neck. Great power and great movements begin with great prayer.
4. Hold a Leadership Night
I decided to schedule my own leadership summit after years of attending The Leadership Summit at Willow Creek and regretting that I was not able to bring my whole church to that conference.
My church leaders loved our first leadership summit that we’ve made it an annual conference.
During the last few days of July, New Song invites every leader in our church to a two-day, in-house conference we call “Oasis.” We’ll worship together, receive ministry skills training, celebrate people’s contributions in the previous year, and cast vision for the fall.
The conferences climaxes with a challenge to small group leaders to write out their goals they want to accomplish for the Lord in the coming ministry year.
Our leadership night, Oasis, is like pressing the reset button for us. Our leaders come away refreshed, excited, and determined to serve Jesus more fully in the next twelve months.
At this late date, you may not have the capacity to schedule a two-day conference for your leaders, but what if you scheduled an “Oasis” evening? Spend 90 minutes in worship and vision-casting, 10 minutes in personal goal setting, and 20 minutes in corporate prayer.
It could be just what your body needs to prepare your spiritual muscles for a great fall of outreach and growth.
- 13 Things to Do Now to Attract Newcomers in the Fall
- 10 Reasons to Hold your Own Church Leadership Conference
- How to Know if a Church Campaign will Help your Church Grow
Start Here to learn more about the resources available for you at PastorMentor.