I don't claim to be an expert on church growth issues, but Linda and I have been blessed to be in the congregation of some of the fastest growing local churches.
When we were newly weds, we joined a church which I won't name. Before long, I was in a serious conflict with the pastor. It wasn't a positive experience, but God used it to teach me an important lessson -- pastors respond better to postive encouragement than to criticism.
Since that time, every church we have belonged to has grown during the time we were there:
Tucson First -- Dr. Ross Hayslip -- steady growth
Waco South Manor -- Willard Hubbard -- explosive growth
Richardson, Tx First -- Eudel Stroud and Jesse Middendorf -- explosive growth
Houston Northwest -- John Donnerberg -- explosive growth
Lake Houston -- Dr. Jim Stocks -- steady growth (new start)
Denver First -- Dr. Jim Diehl -- steady growth
Houston Spring Branch -- Dr. Bill Coulter -- steady growth
Puyallup, WA -- Dr. Les Parrott -- explosive growth
Lakewood, Wa -- Ron Kearns -- steady growth
Gig Harbor, WA -- Steve Gates -- explosive growth.
Oro Valley, AZ (winters) -- Craig Coulter -- explosive growth.
1. God has called talented, hard working people to be pastors. If we direct our energy toward encouragement and support, they will respond by doing their job well.
2. When a church calls a pastor, it needs to be willing to follow his or her lead. In every one of the churches I listed, the pastor was allowed to lead and the lay leaders were supportive.
3. Sacrificial giving to others is an important element. Each of these churches made a priority of giving to others. I have observed that God blesses churches financially, when the congregation is sacrificial in giving. (sacrificial giving is giving that requires a change of life style.)
I am sure there are other things that contribute to church growth, but I thought I would share these observations.