What Are Rapidly Growing Churches Talking About?

This week in Dallas we convened our fourth group of fast growing churches as part of the Rapid Growth Leadership Community.  This group is made up of dynamic, innovative teams with locations across seven states and two countries.  This group includes Cornerstone Christian Church (Shiloh, IL), Harris Creek Baptist Church (McGregor, TX), Heritage Church of Macomb (Sterling Heights, MI), Journey Christian Church (Fairview Park, OH), Newbreak Church (San Diego, CA), Substance Church (Roseville, MN), and The Life Church (Memphis, TN).  Additional stats on this group include:

  • 3 years to 140 years of history
  • 18 locations with an overall average of 15,000 worshipers on the weekend
  • 60% to 600% growth over the past three years

3 Big Issues Emerged
The conversations over the past three days have been lively and varied.  Each church came into the room with a unique set of questions, challenges, and opportunities.  However, the following three shared issues emerged that teams spent time working on together:

Staffing and Structure
Every team realized that staffing and structure were key issues to ongoing, sustainable growth.  Some of the questions they wrestled with included:

  • How do we reorganize reporting structures and current responsibilities, and develop staff to minimize multiple hats?
  • How do we staff for need vs. growth, using metrics to operate by principle rather than pressure?
  • When do you move someone? (It’s the leadership’s responsibility to train and develop; point to vision and communicate clearly and honestly; do it with honor)

Assimilation, Spiritual Growth, Leadership Development
In rapid growth situations, systems that move people from attendee to leader often get broken down.  Each of these churches have a strong desire to ensure newcomers and existing members are cared for, nurtured, and developed.  Key questions included:

  • How do we define discipleship?
  • Groups – managing the tension between rows and circles; it’s a “both and”.
  • What are the onramps to leadership?

Multisite Issues and Opportunities
Not every church that was present is currently multisite, but all of them are engaged in the conversation as a potential future possibility.  Much of this discussion centered around:

  • What do you centralize/decentralize?
  • How much variety in sites is ok?
  • What are the advantages to video sites vs. live preaching?
  • What is the key issue for site success?  (Staffing!)

Next Steps for Ongoing Growth
It was exciting to see each of these teams walk away with a renewed sense of clarity along with some specific next steps.  Much of these next steps have to do with proper staffing and healthy teams, focusing on the basics of systems and structures that allow for ongoing growth, leadership development that creates capacity for expansion, and multisite strategies that will facilitate greater Kingdom reach.
The next two years will be an exciting time for this group.  I anticipate great ongoing growth and change during that time.  We will convene again in six months for our second of four gatherings.  I will share some of the group’s progress and learnings along the way.

What About You?
Are you part of a rapidly growing church?  What issues and opportunities are central to your growth?  Where are you finding traction?  Where are you spinning your wheels?