If you’re a pastor of your own church, you may have noticed over the past few years that there’s been a sharp decline in church attendance. The pandemic is largely to blame, as it’s closed many small businesses and houses of worship either temporarily or permanently. There are still churches that haven’t had a service we began social distancing as a result of COVID-19.
Even though the pandemic is the primary reason for the decline in church attendance over the past year, church attendance has been on the decline for over a decade. A larger percentage of people in the United States than ever before now identify as nonreligious or not religiously affiliated. With that in mind, we’ve put together this short guide to help you grow and keep your congregation.
Presentation is everything.
It can be difficult to attract attention to any organization or cause. Honestly, many churches have the same issues that many small businesses face. Generating cash flow, developing new ways to communicate with your target audience, and increasing influence and visibility are all struggles that are common both to churches and for-profit businesses. Because many of the tips to help you grow your business will also work for your congregation, we’ll treat the church like an enterprise trying to promote business growth and church members as customers.
One of the first things you learn in business is that presentation is one of the most key factors in the success of an organization and its initiatives. The best way to ensure that your business model is a sustainable one is to develop means of attracting younger crowds. As with anything, an influx of youthful new customers is necessary for the longevity of the enterprise.
If you want to attract a younger crowd to your church, you should consider changing your presentation to better communicate with the younger generation. Small things like encouraging the use of tablets and smartphones for bible reading will make children, teens, and young adults feel more welcome. You have to keep in mind that this is a world that’s increasingly reliant on technology, so the more you embrace technology as part of your presentation, the more young people you’ll bring to your congregation.
Provide congregants with new opportunities for growth within your church.
Often, people will leave an organization because they don’t feel valued for their talents. A great way to attract and keep new customers (or congregants) is to allow them to find a niche in ministry and put their talents to use. When business owners hire a new employee, part of their job is to make the new hire feel like a welcome asset to the team. Doing that same thing in your own church is one of the best ways to get your members to commit to being present and engaged in the ministry.
It would also be a good idea to provide your younger members with opportunities to rise to the next level and contribute to services and the growth of the congregation. Easter is traditionally a time to let younger congregants participate in coordinating events. Letting them make the Catholic banners for Lent or write and direct the Easter play are great ways to get them engaged.
Bring in a small business consultant to help you develop a business growth strategy.
Thinking of your church like a small business is the best way to ensure that you operate in excellence and with consistency. In fact, bringing in a business consultant is a great way to bring organization to your leadership structure and enhance best practices. Consultants provide professional services that will take your business to the next level.
Putting people on your payroll when you run a nonprofit organization can be a financial risk, but a good business advisor can recognize the specific needs of your organization. They can help you leverage your skills to grow your influence, help your church capitalize on new opportunities, and convert visitors to your church into new clients of your ministry.
Growing your congregation means you have to modernize your approach and presentation, provide opportunities for members to get involved, and bring in organizational experts. After all, your church may not be a business, but you are in the business of providing spiritual guidance.