Tag: church growth

Building a better Airline

I recently flew Delta Airlines, and noticed a promo sign that said this:

Building a Better Airline, not just a bigger one

Say what you want about Delta, but this (relatively) new initiative is a strong one. In an industry marked by frustration over lost baggage, TSA joys, and cancelled flights, Delta is trying to give the customer a better experience.  They’re trying to build a better airline.

There are two key words here in their new strategy, “Building a Better Airline, not just a bigger one” that I think church leaders could learn from.

How can churches build better, not just bigger?

1. A Better experience

Delta is looking to build their company on standards and procedures that set them apart from everyone else.  They’re changing things up and implementing new ideas that position them as the leaders in their industry because the services and conveniences they offer serve their customers more efficiently, effectively, and liberally.  Case-in-point: there’s a TV on the back of each headrest.  And they offer lots of free programming.

If you’re a part of a local church and you’re not thinking, “How can we serve our congregation and our community more efficiently, effectively, and liberally?” then you’re not asking the right questions.  You’re not wrestling through the right things.

2. A “bigger” company

Notice one word: “not just a bigger one.”  They are looking to build a bigger company, it’s just not the only thing they’re looking to do.  See, there’s nothing wrong with growth.  In fact, if they weren’t looking to build a bigger company, I’d wonder why they’re even in business.  Individuals (or groups) launch a business to see it grow, no?

Should churches be any different? *

We want our churches to grow numerically, right?  If not, why do we even exist?  Of what value is the Great Commission?  Why would the Bible include numbers when it referred to the early, New Testament church in the book of Acts, where God was adding thousands daily?  If numbers didn’t matter, why include them?

Numbers aren’t just blind figures.

They’re people.  They represent a person who is far from the Lord.  One who needs to hear the Gospel.  One who needs Hope.  One who needs encouragement.  One who needs to understand God’s grace.

“Numbers” aren’t our motivating factor…but sharing the Gospel and making disciples of people (in an increasing number) is our motivation.  So numbers do matter. **

How is your local church working to offer a “better” experience for “customers”?

Do the numbers really matter?

* I understand that the strategy of some churches is to send people out, and keep the numbers on their campus lower.  This is a viable strategy…but one in which these churches still should value numbers.

** This is a Ron Edmondson-ism.


The anticipation

I love being a dad.

It’s not easy, by any stretch of the imagination.  But it’s good.

And one thing that we as a family love is laughing together.  And one way I personally promote that is by tickling my son.  It makes both of us laugh hysterically.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tickled a 2-year old, but it’s pretty funny.  It’s hard not to laugh along with them.

And I noticed this the other day: my son starts laughing before I even tickle him.

I just curl up my hand, like I’m going to tickle him…and just get it close to his belly, and he starts to cringe up in laughter.  And it’s not one of those courtesy chuckles.  It’s an all-body laughter.

The anticipation plays into his overall tickle experience.


And I’m convinced that Sunday mornings are similar.

From week to week, we should be building anticipation as to what’s coming next time.  Whether that’s through

  • sermon series
  • serving opportunities
  • small group/Sunday alignment
  • emails saying, “Get ready…”
  • social media connections
  • website resources
  • mixing things up on Sundays so people really don’t know exactly what to expect
  • building relationships that encourage continued gathering with other believers

We should be thinking, “What’s encouraging our folks to come back next week?”* Is there a reason for a newcomer (who may or may not be a follower of Christ) to return?  How are you communicating to them that coming back next week is vital?  Are you following up throughout the week?

If you believe that the message you’re presenting is valuable, why would you not create tension and anticipation for what’s coming next?

TV shows do it.  Movies do it.  Radio talk shows create it.  Teachers create it.  Guys who want a second date build it.

If you want a second round with a visitor, you’ve got to build anticipation.

How are you building anticipation?

Should we build anticipation, or should the message simply speak for itself, standing alone?

*Before you leave theologically charged comments, let it be known…I believe that God is the one who draws and changes hearts.  He is the Motivator.  It’s his kindness that leads us to repentance.  I just don’t want anything to get in the way of that, if I can help it.




What keeps you up at night…

…reveals what’s important to your heart.

Here are things I’m wrestling through:

  • Is our small groups system really creating disciples?
  • Is our small groups system a great picture of Gospel community?
  • What does it look like for our whole church to be moving in the same direction?
  • What’s next?
  • Am I leading in such a way that others are growing to love God and people more?
  • Is my ministry online truly helpful?  What needs to change so that it does more good?
  • Am I leading my family well?  How can I do a better job?
  • Is my son growing towards being a man of God?

These are the things keeping me up at night.

If you’re leading an organization…what is it that is causing you to sweat, go to work early, pray more, fast more, sleep less, and work harder?

If you don’t know what that is, maybe you should stay up at night and figure it out…

One day soon afterward Jesus went up on a mountain to pray, and he prayed to God all night. At daybreak he called together all of his disciples and chose twelve of them to be apostles… – Luke 6:12-13



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