Practically every pastor and church leader I have ever met wants their church to grow. They want their churches to make a greater impact in their communities and around the world. Pastors and church leaders want to see the Kingdom of Heaven expanded by reaching more and more people for Christ.
One of the qualities I have noticed in pastors of growing churches is their humility. They are willing to learn concepts of growth from not only other churches, but also athletic teams and businesses. Because of this, I want to make you aware of a globally-known struggling business which regained lost momentum and then grew by 500 percent—yes 500 percent.
In the book Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads—On Leadership, the story of Lou Gerstner is told. In 1979, Gerstner became president of the Travel Related Services (TRS) group of American Express. The organization was facing severe financial challenges and increased credit card competition. But under Gerstner’s leadership the organization grew by an annual rate of 18 percent from 1978-1987.
As I read the reasons whyy TRS grew, I realized the important applications it had for all pastors and church leaders. The following are 12 Things Pastors Can Do to Exponentially Grow Their Church:
- Challenge Widely-Held Beliefs About What Is Needed for Your Church to Grow – Gerstner challenged two widely-held beliefs about his industry. One of those beliefs was growth was limited. Pastors of growing churches do not make excuses about why their church is not growing. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, they do what is needed for their church to grow.
- Develop an Entrepreneurial Culture – Pastors of growing churches celebrate and encourage innovation. If you keep doing what you have always done, you will continue to get the results you have always gotten.
- Hire and Develop Entrepreneurs – If you are going to develop an entrepreneurial culture, you must hire people who fit that culture.
- Clear Communication – People are down on what they are not up on. Pastors of growing churches over-communicate the church’s mission and vision. Gerstner clearly communicated to all TRS staff the overall direction of the organization.
- Reward Intelligent Risk-Taking – Encourage failure and risk-taking. Pastors of growing churches give their people incentive to take chances.
- Discourage Unnecessary Bureaucracy – The congregation of growing churches do not exist to serve the staff. The staff of growing churches exists to serve the congregation by creating systems to unleash their capacity and potential.
- Upgrade Hiring Standards – The answer to every problem is a person. If you want to get better as a church, if you want to start growing, hire better leaders. This is what TRS did and experienced exponential growth.
- Create Specialized Training – Growing churches are committed to the personal growth and development of its pastors and staff. Gerstner instituted the TRS Graduate Management Program for its rising leaders.
- Expose Potential Leaders to Growth Opportunities – Gerstner began exposing his leaders to rich experiences. Pastors of growing churches are constantly exposing their leaders to books, conferences, podcasts and other leaders in an effort to make them better.
- Expose Potential Leaders to Senior Leaders – Gerstner began providing an unusual level of exposure to the organization’s top senior leaders. Pastors of growing churches are intentional about mentoring, discipling and building relationships with younger leaders.
- Reward Exceptional Performance – Not everyone gets a trophy at growing churches. What God is breathing on gets extra budget, extra promotion and extra attention.
- Reach Grown Men – Gerstner began focusing on two neglected constituencies to grow the business—college students and women. At the time, most credit card advertising was directed solely to businessmen. Today, there are tremendous resources placed on student and women’s ministry at local churches and rightfully so. However, the most forgotten constituency in today’s churches are grown men. If you reach a child for Christ first, there is a 6 percent chance of reaching the entire family. If you reach the wife/mother for Christ first, the odds increase. There is a 18 percent chance you will reach the entire family. However, if you reach the father/husband for Christ first, there is a 94 percent chance of reaching the entire family. This is exponential growth. Why then would you target any other group? If you reach a grown man, you will reach the entire family.
What is one thing from this list you can do TODAY to begin growing your church?