If your church is growing, you've probably witnessed what I call "church growing pains". There are different forms this can take. Have you experienced this one?
For most churches, the majority of the people in the sanctuary are there to receive what you have to give them and not give anything in return. They're consumers, not contributors.
That leaves us one question - What can be done at your church to move more people from Consumer to Contributor?
Faith Communities Today released a report on trends in church growth and decline in 2020 and I was struck by this statement:
This isn't exclusive to only the largest churches. Any church of any size will see this phenomenon during and after periods of growth.
The hard truth is that people tend to choose the path of least resistance. This means that if someone sitting in your pews has the ability to coast through their time at your church, they probably will. It takes a great deal of intentionality on the part of you and every other leader at your church to turn that around.
There are two things I have seen other churches do that have moved more people to greater commitment:
I attended a church with a pastor who had a big heart for missions. He frequently promoted mission trips from the pulpit and would go so far as to say that he expects everyone to go on at least one mission trip within their first two years at the church.
Not everyone met his expectations, and that's fine. But this constant push got more people on board than would have participated otherwise. Creating a culture of service or giving at your church depends on what you emphasize.
If I did a survey of your church and asked what volunteer or donation opportunities your church emphasized the most, what would your answer be?
Make it known what your church is here to do and invite everyone to join that mission. Set clear expectations, and watch member commitment increase!
Sometimes, someone doesn't contribute because they don't know where to begin.
When communicating with your members, try to promote only 1-3 options for them to support. Whether you're doing this from the pulpit or in a face-to-face encounter, narrowing down the options makes it easier for the person to choose.
In my experience, you can overload your members with too many options. Instead, subtly provide guidance by pointing them toward what your church needs or where you discern that person would best fit.
Creating a culture and exercising discernment takes work. But seeing your ministries, programs, and volunteer groups flourish will make it all worth it!