Recent years have seen a rapid decline in church attendance. One of the harsh facts of the current climate is that the institution has become all but irrelevant to many Americans, especially the younger generations, and so congregations have shrunk.
There are many reasons that church membership is down, and not all of them even relate directly to the clergy or to the church. One contributing factor is that Millennials and Gen-Zers are more averse to a commitment to any institution, including marriage and religion. However, another major factor is that America is becoming less religious as fewer people claim to have any religious affiliation. Ignoring these facts will do nothing to change the trends, but turning your church around isn’t impossible. Read on to get some tips to help you revive your church and make it more durable.
1. Acknowledge that your church has a problem.
As a church leader, you’re probably accustomed to helping people through life’s hardships. As a counselor and minister, you know that the first and most important step of solving a problem is admitting that there is one. You have to apply that same principle inwards, especially when it comes to turning your church around. It’s equally important to be able to recognize the signs that your church is in trouble.
One of the crucial signs that your church is trending downward is that you have a lack of young people in your congregation. Growth is important for the survival of any organization, and you can’t grow without an infusion of youth. Also, if there is no talk of the church’s direction and goals for the future, then it is going in the wrong direction. The goal shouldn’t be to simply exist and maintain the status quo–you need to always have a vision for how to make it something greater.
2. Hire people with skills that can help your mission to grow.
Even though the goal of your church isn’t to make money, you need to approach turning it around with a business mindset. In business, you need to have the right personnel in place to facilitate growth, and you need to take the same business-like approach to revive your ministry.
Growing your church should be a project with many steps and initiatives that you put forth with the goal of revitalizing the ministry. You should consider hiring a project manager who has successfully completed PMP certification training. A project management professional undergoes years of schooling to get their project management certification, or PMP certificate, and they specialize in planning, and in managing the funding of projects.
You may even want to consider sponsoring one of your members for the PMP certification process as a way to facilitate growth from within your flock. By helping them get the credentials needed, through on-site project experience, they can quickly gain their own project management certification, and help you in return. The more qualified hands you have on deck, then the more ready your church will be to undertake the task of turning the ministry around.
3. Get the youth involved.
One of the major issues facing churches around the United States is that young people are losing interest in church. If this trend continues, then from where will the clergy and church leaders of the future come?
One way you can attract youth to your ministry is to give them responsibilities. Adolescents are on the cusp of adulthood, and the desire to have a role in shaping the institutions of which they’re apart. Create programs specifically for the younger people in your church, and also empower them to give suggestions and spearhead small projects.
4. Encourage members to become leaders.
One of the most important prerequisites for ministers to remember is that you can’t build a ministry alone. If you want your members to become more engaged in church, then you need to get them active.
One way to get members to become more interested in growing the ministry is to facilitate their personal spiritual growth. Creating a school of ministry for members who dream of someday wearing priest shirts is an excellent way to help your members grow, as well as attracting potential new members to step into the church for the first time. Put your credentials and years of experience in ministry to work by becoming a trainer for future ministers and leaders.
5. Get active in the community.
One of the unfortunate trends in the U.S. is that people are beginning to feel like the church is irrelevant in modern society. One of the main reasons for that sentiment is that many churches are inactive in their community.
If you want to revitalize your church, then community service is one of the best ways. Programs like neighborhood cleanups and food drives are excellent ways to ingratiate your church to the community through service.