Systems are often seen as bad or mechanical, so many pastors shy away from them. But systems can help move people in their relationship with God. Systems are crucial to the health of your church and the growth of your people. Below are 5 systems every church should consider if they want healthy growth.
1. Follow Up System
When a guest, (or visitor), shows up at your church for the first time, what happens? How do you know they came? When you are smaller as a church, you know someone is a guest because you know everyone, or the guest comes dressed up and the regular attenders don’t do that. But as you grow it becomes easier for people to slip in and out.
It is good to give people anonymity until they’re ready to let themselves be known to you. But when they are ready, how will they tell you? Is it a connection card? What will you do with that information? If you get a connection card this Sunday, what happens to that on Monday? You can’t leave that to chance.
There needs to be a reliable process put in place to keep record of your first time people and a documented process to follow up with them.
2. Spiritual Growth System
If someone became a Christian this Sunday in your church, what would you do? Of course you would be excited, but in that excitement do you have a plan for that person to help them grow? More than likely it would involve meeting with the pastor of the church. What if 15 people became followers of Jesus this Sunday? Or what if they just had questions? Now, you can’t meet with all those people. So what happens?
This is where you need a system and a plan to know what happens. Who do they talk to? Do they take a class? Do you have people in your church prepared and ready to talk with new believers?
3. Small Groups System
Every church leader knows that growth happens best in the context of relationships. We teach on it and tell people that, but we fail to realize that community and moving into a small group of some kind is a huge step for people. It’s a time commitment in an already busy schedule. There is the fear of going to a house of a person they don’t know. How long will the group meet? What happens if the person goes to a group and doesn’t like it or the leader?
These are barriers you have to get past if you want to see people enter into relationships at your church. We’ve experimented with 8 week small groups and told people; just try it for 8 weeks.
We’ve also started to encourage people to enter a serving team first before joining a group. It is less of a commitment in their mind and still gets them shoulder to shoulder with other people. And serving helps you in your spiritual growth.
4. Leadership System
Most pastors want more leaders in his church. If you want to plant churches, you want men around you who want to plant churches. Yet many pastors simply hope those people will find their churches. If your church is near a seminary or a Bible college, that may just happen and will mask that you don’t have a plan to develop leaders.
Think about it like this: if you wanted to have 10 solid leaders a year from now, how would you develop them? What would have to happen for that to occur?
If you want to plant a church two years from now and that person would come from within your church right now, how would you get that person ready? How would you find that person? You need a leadership development system.
5. Outreach System
This is all about reaching out to your community. It’s not just about getting people to come to your church; it’s about serving your city or town. Like helping those less fortunate, participating in some organizations like Habitat for Humanity or The Gospel Rescue Mission, or maybe organizing a musical event that might be a benefit concert for a good cause. There are lots of opportunities for outreach, just look around. Develop a plan on how your church can be involved in your community.
6. Marketing System
This last one sometimes causes church people to scoff. The Church is not a business but in today’s culture, if you want to reach new people, you need to go to where they are. They are online. They are watching TV. They still listen to the radio. They still get mail. You should budget and plan to make your presence known in some or all of these venues.