Brian Corrick, pastor of Gethsemane Baptist Church, and John Smith, executive pastor of The Church at Severn Run, were the keynote speakers at a small church growth conference at Summit Trace Baptist Church, sponsored by the Blue Ridge Baptist Association. They shared some growth strategies that worked for their churches:
• Emphasize prayer above all.
• Identify a pocket of need and focus on one–pour resources into this need and build ministries around it. Children’s ministry is a great place to start, drawing families. As parents get involved, there is the potential for small groups such as moms’ and parents’ groups. As the children grow, youth groups can be developed.
• Build bridges into the community. Do outreach outside of the church. Make it great. Free hot dogs are okay. Free oysters and ham is better. Don’t have an agenda. Just use the opportunity to get to know people.
• Teach people how to do outreach and set them free. Instead of having a Super Bowl party at the church, encourage families to have them in their homes and invite their neighbors.
• Provide a quality worship experience. Use the best of what you have available.
• Celebrate 90-day “wins.” That can be a big project broken down. For example, a church could have a big children’s ministry building project, but break it into three-month blocks. Concentrate on victories.
• Help people remember past victories. Victories in the past can lead to victories in the future.
• Concentrate on sharing the gospel and let God change hearts and add to the church.
• Be a Great Commission church–see mission as a priority.