Want to grow your church attendance by 20% this year?
I once coached a church that set 20% as their goal.
Is 20% growth a realistic?
Visitors are the key to growing your church.
Without keeping your first time church visitors, your church will not grow.
Likewise, you will not replace the members who drop out, move to another city, or die.
The key to keeping visitors is helping them decide to come back and connect with your congregation.
There are several assumptions I make as I present these numbers. I’m assuming your church is
- making disciples,
- helping people mature in their faith,
- helping people find some place to belong,
- serving its community.
Those are all factors in growing your church.
We also know that the church is a spiritual organization and there are lots of spiritual influences involved in the growth of a church. Today’s focus on numbers doesn’t take away from any of that.
The point here, however, is the math of growing your church by 20%.
This is where I wanted to help the church I coached see if this was a realistic number.
Do the math
20% is a huge growth rate, so let’s look at it using some of the commonly available statistics about church visitors.
For this example, current attendance is 100 people a week.
To grow your church 20%, you’ll want 120 by the end of the year.
1. How many second time visitors does a church keep?
An old statistic suggests that churches can keep 85% of second time visitors who come back the week immediately after their first visit.
For this church to grow this congregation 20%, they will need to have 23 first time visitors come back immediately the 2nd week.
Question: What are you doing to help people decide to come back a second consecutive week?
2. How many people need to visit your church for the first time?
Another commonly quoted statistic is that churches only get 1 to 2 out of 10 visitors to come back a second week.
For this congregation of 100 to grow to 20% by getting 23 first time visitors to return second week, they will need to have 115-230 first time visitors during the year.
If they can increase that visitor return percentage to 3 out of every 10 to get 23 to come back for a second time, they only need 76 first time visitors.
Question: Is that an achievable number in 1 year?
Question: What might you do to increase the number of first time visitors?
Question: What can you do to increase the number of first time visitors who return?
Suggested areas of focus
Do the math for your congregation.
Question: What can you do increase the % of first time church visitors come back the second week?
In looking at the system of helping first time visitors connect with your congregation there are plenty of variables and places you can focus.
- The number of personal invitations
- Welcome process
- Quality of the service
- Getting contact information
- Followup contact after the first visit
- Easy connections to build relationships
Each area can be improved to help you increase the number of people who stay with your congregation.
Likewise, the level of impact that your preaching, education, children’s ministry, your church’s mission, and worship all come into play as well.
People will invest their time where they find growth, significance, and a place to serve.
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