How do you get the leaders and workers needed to staff an expanding organization and insure a growing, healthy church? Remember the promise of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 4:19: “But God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus.” Surely the need for quality leadership and faithful workers falls within this promise!
By Tim Massengale
Several years ago a “critical issues” questionnaire was sent to a large number of church leaders. They were asked to list what they believed to be the most critical issues facing the church today. In overwhelming response, these leaders agreed that the number one critical issue was the need for trained workers and lay leaders to help in the organization and outreach areas of the church. People who could work under pastoral leadership and help the man of God carry the weight of responsibility. This need has not changed. The question asked most by growing churches is, “How can we cultivate good workers and leaders from among our church membership?” Since the pastor cannot effectively do everything himself, a church’s growth will, quite literally, rise or fall upon this one factor.
CHURCH GROWTH PLATEAUS
Research has shown that churches tend to grow in jumps or spurts. Between each jump the church will experience a “plateau.” A plateau has occurred when the church has seen no growth for at least two full years. Where exactly a plateau will occur varies between churches. But generally a church will experience one somewhere around 50, then another between 70-90, and a third around 130-150, then finally 250-300. Another will often appear at 500, then 700, then just short of a thousand. Unfortunately, many churches are in an extended plateau condition. Try as they might, they seem to be sitting on dead center. Revivals, programs, crusades all help for a while, but they always seem to slide back into the same average attendance. And as any pastor can tell you, this stagnant period of non-growth can be very discouraging. What is wrong?
The cause of these growth plateaus varies. The building may be a restrictive factor, financial condition may hinder, or even the pastor having to work a secular job. But the most common reason, the one reason that applies to almost every level of plateau, is this: they lack of workers and leaders to support a larger church body. It is vial for every church to understand that in order to expand the church membership, he must first expand the worker and leadership base.
David Womack, in his book The Pyramid Principle, states, “Before a church may add to its mass of members and adherents, it must first expand its base of organization and ministry involvement.” He goes on to describe church growth as being similar to piling sand on a table. You can pile on only so much sand before the table is covered and a four-sided pyramid of sand develops. When you have no more space, the sand begins to spill off onto the floor. If you want to add more sand to the table, you must first expand the table size. This is the point of the pyramid principle. You must first add to the base of workers and leaders in the church before you can add to the membership size.