One Simple Thing Will Grow Your Church


Virtually every pastor I know wants their congregation to grow. Scores of clergy fly around the globe spending gobs of money looking for the secret formula to getting more people in the pews. They double click social media ads that bait them with a church growth elixir. They blow their entire outreach budget on big shot consultants promising to bring the holy grail to a filled sanctuary. They will even spend countless hours in “strategic planning” sessions, hoping to stumble upon a process that leads to the attendance jackpot.

Does it work? Almost never. Oh, it’s not that the information they are given is flawed. Usually it isn’t. It’s not that the tips don’t work. Most of them do. And it’s not that they aren’t trying hard enough to apply their strategies. They usually are. Really hard!

So, what’s the problem? Why doesn’t it work? Because many pastors desperately trying to grow their churches are not doing one simple thing. Really. It comes down to one simple thing. You can have a bag of tricks, but if you don’t do this one simple thing, nothing else will work. Every formula will fail. Every strategy will bomb.

Why don’t more pastors know and do this one simple thing? Because it really seems too simple. You see, we complicate church growth, but there is really nothing complicated about it. We think there is some hidden formula to growing a church, but there is only one simple thing you have to do, and it is right in front of you.

Before I blow your mind with this one simple thing, I need to remind you that church growth is relative. If you serve a church in a small town far away from a growing demographic, you are not going to turn your 200 member church into a mega church. However, if you apply this hysterically easy fix, your church will grow.

OK, are you ready for it? Here it is: Preach good sermons every week. That’s right. Deliver a dynamic and engaging message week after week and you’ll see more butts in the seats and more money in the offering plate. It’s really that simple.

Now notice I didn’t say preach a good sermon every few weeks. I said preach a good sermon Every Single Week. Most pastors can muster up a good sermon now and again, but now and again won’t cut it. If it did, more churches would grow. If you want to grow your church, you must preach a good sermon EVERY TIME you get into the pulpit.

Here’s how it works: When your parishioners expect to hear a good sermon every time they show up for worship, they will show up more often. When your parishioners tell their friends that they have never heard you give a bad sermon, their friends will start showing up too. And then those friends will tell their friends and family, and they will start showing up. Before you know it, you will have increased your worship attendance dramatically. That’s really how it works. No gimmicks. No consultants. No strategies. Just good preaching.

Don’t get me wrong. Adding your bag of tricks may help grow your church, but good preaching must be your foundation. How do I know? A couple of years ago, Gallup and Pew published studies on church growth. Both groups reported that the number one reason people are attracted to a church and remain there is the quality of the preaching. Preaching! Not programs, coffee, cool music, or parking lot attendants (all of them important). PREACHING!

In case you are assuming that I am some “consultant” that has never served in the trenches of a local church, I have been a pastor for almost 25 years. I have served churches of all sizes. Every church I have served has increased its worship attendance. For ten years I served a church that grew from 700 in worship to almost 1100. Four months ago I was appointed to a large church that needed to be revitalized. In those four months our average worship attendance has increased by 160. Yes, in only four months! How did I do it? By preparing and preaching effective sermons week after week. That’s it.

You can do it too! God has called and gifted you to preach. It’s time to get serious about your preaching and grow your church.

Now I can already hear some of you thinking, “What constitutes a good sermon?” It’s a great question. And I have an answer. Every effective sermon I prepare contains 6 elements that are essential to good preaching. If your sermons have these 6 essentials you can’t go wrong. You will preach effectively. You see, it’s not difficult to preach well every week. All you have to do is check off six things!

So, what are the 6 essentials? I have spelled them out in my forthcoming book from Abingdon Press, Say Something! Simple Ways to Make Your Sermons Matter. This little book contains everything you need to know in order to preach effectively each week and grow your church. It won’t take you long to read and you can immediately apply the essentials to your next sermon.

You don’t have to travel to a conference, hire a consultant, or spend thousands of dollars in church advertising and marketing. Just read this book. It’s really that simple. Preorder today!  

Comment (1)
  1. Dr. Reeb’s first book, “That’ll Preach” has been instrumental in my career as a Speaking Coach. The advice he gives in this slender book far outweighs what I’ve gotten by reading scores of other texts. I am not a preacher and my clients are not usually in the clergy but Charlie’s advice is still great advice. I know as a conference speaker the one thing I need to do to get invited back a second time is to always bring my “A Game.’ I never have room for to phone in a presentation. Thank you, Dr. Reeb, for this advice.

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