Over this and the next issue of Nations, I’d like to propose 12 keys I have discovered from my own observation, experience and research for how to grow prevailing churches.
1. STRONG PRAYER MINISTRY The place of prayer in a local church is indispensable. Prayer must be modelled and led by the senior leader. Recognise and affirm the gift of intercession. Have regular prayer meetings and mobilise the young to pray. Teach and preach on prayer. Pray for the sick in the worship services.
2. CLEAR GOD-GIVEN VISION AND STRATEGIC PLANNING Vision is the specific, revealed purpose of God for a particular local church. Vision comes from God, but strategic planning is a leader’s response to God-given vision. Cast the vision to the church often and innovatively. Develop and implement strategic plans and actions. Keep the church’s ministry and lay leaders focused on the strategic plans.
3. LIFE-GIVING WORSHIP SERVICES The ‘worship service’ is the place where the ‘church’ gathers to glorify and worship God, fellowship with one another, hear God’s Word, be ministered to and minister to others. Nurture life-giving, contemporary worship. Make room for the Holy Spirit and seek for his manifest presence. Allow for the prophetic and pray for people’s needs.
4. RELEVANT LIFE-GIVING PREACHING AND TEACHING One of the primary roles of ministry leaders is to preach and teach God’s Word. Plan time each week to study and prepare. Ground each message with clear applications. Plan messages and series in line with the God-given vision. Address key themes of church life and everyday life. Develop a preaching team and give opportunity for young preachers to emerge. Be creative.
5. BUILD A HIGH CALIBRE MINISTRY TEAM One person (the pastor) can’t do everything, no matter how ‘omni-competent’ he or she may be. The key is to raise up a high calibre team of gifted ministries. Select ministry team members slowly and prayerfully. Choose people with specific competencies and skills. Develop them personally and proactively. Run regular team meetings. Encourage relationships in the team.
6. DEVELOP A SOUL-WINNING CULTURE Equip and mobilise the church to intentionally reach lost people. Give a salvation altar call in every service. Empower the congregation with the skills of how to share their faith. Regularly have people give their testimony. Begin a new Christian class to establish young believers in their faith. Train people to ‘disciple’ others. Develop a network of small groups to embrace and integrate new Christians.
In the next edition of Nations, we’ll cover a final six keys to growing strong churches.
by Bruce Hills
International Leadership Development Director