Dealing With Your Growth Ratio
By Carmen Kamrath
What happens when everything seems in place as you kick off your tall programs, but then your ministry is overwhelmed that first weekend with new kids and visitors and you don’t have the staff to cover the influx? You may’ve planned well but you didn’t plan ahead.
We often plan for the next “big thing in ministry, but we forget to dream and plan for the future. You don’t have to be caught off-guard. Ministry growth is an area that has some predictability. Being prepared for those attendance surges will help families feel welcomed and ease your ministry’s stress that often occurs with sudden growth spurts.
Use these guidelines to determine where your ministry may experience growth during the next year.
Track attendance – always. Knowing what your numbers are during different times of the year will help you determine when growth may occur. Good attendance records over the years serve as a solid benchmark in forecasting future growth. Use graphs to chart growth trends that’ll project growth over the next one to five years. This helps you plan for future space, staff, and supply needs. And great records assist your team with vision casting and budgeting.
Know your culture. Keep track of times your ministry experiences a surge of attendance. Typically, most ministries experience a boost in attendance during the fall – when school starts. Depending on your community, though, this could occur as early as August or as late as October. Other natural growth times are the weeks leading up to and following major holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
Staff up for interventional draws. Go on heightened alert when your church intentionally targets the community. A sermon series on topics such as relationships and money management draws the community to weekend services. Children’s ministry programs that reach out to the community such as vacation Bible school or a harvest festival invites families to check out your church on the weekends. These are red-alert times!
Anticipating ministry growth prepares you for attendance spurts when they occur. Develop a ministry mind-set that values grow.
Back your vision. Don’t be caught off-guard when God steps in and draws people to your ministry’s vision. When you pray for your community, expect growth to happen. Churches sometimes pray for growth or revival, and when it happens they can’t accommodate for the swell in attendance. Here’s a prayer tip: Don’t pray only for growth – pray for the wisdom to accommodate your ministry’s vision, for God to supply volunteers and leaders committed to a growing ministry, and for your leaders and congregation to be captivated by the exciting ways God is growing your ministry.
Recruit constantly. Leader often think the task of recruiting is complete when all open slots are filled fro kickoff. When a growth surge happens, panic sets in and recruiting can get sloppy and desperate. To avoid the scramble, recruit and train new volunteers throughout the year. Have a volunteer “farm” team – people who are ready to step to the plate when called. Use your farm team to help in needed areas until they are called in on a more permanent basis.
Survey your space. A lack of meeting can stunt ministry growth. Church growth experts use this rule: When your meeting space reaches 80% capacity, start looking for space alternatives or your group will stagnate. Can kids meet in room currently occupied by adults? Can offices be converted on the weekend? Is it possible to add an additional service? Remind leadership that if there isn’t room for children, families will stop attending.
Cater to growth. Purchase supplies and curriculum with growth in mind. Leaving church without a classroom project or take-home paper due to inadequate supply of materials can be devastating for a visiting child. To determine supplies at kickoff time, look at your attendance numbers the previous year and increase your supplies for the upcoming year by 10%.
Make every moment count. Along with growth comes periods of down time in ministry when attendance drops or stabilizes. Make the most of this season. If you’re over-populated with volunteers in the off season, find unique ways for them to serve in areas other than the classroom. Use lower-attendance periods to recast your vision and mission to your volunteers, leaders, and congregation.
Article “Dealing With Your Growth Ratio” excerpted from www.childrensministry.com/leaders. Article written by Carmen Kamrath.
This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, ‘Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.’