The average church in America has 75 people in attendance on a Sunday morning. There are over 300,000 Christian churches in the United States alone. Of those 300,000, only about 1,600 (about 0.5%) of those are considered mega-churches (2,000+ members). Of the other 99.5% of churches in the country, many of them are small, struggling churches. Though small does not necessarily mean struggling, the two are often connected. If you are like me, then you have often wondered what simple, practical things you can do to help strengthen your church. I’m not talking about helping your church gain more attenders, I’m talking about internal strengthening that would help your church become more healthy, more Christ-centered, and more equipped to serve God obediently.
Here are some simple (though not easy) ways to help strengthen your small church that you love so dearly.
1. Pray Hard
Seek God genuinely on a personal level and then invite others to pray alongside you. There is immense and unfathomable power behind the prayers of humble, godly men and women. If you want to help strengthen your church, commit to praying daily specifically for your church and the people in your church. You’d be surprised how few people actually take time to pray for their church. Prayer, more than the rest of the things on this list combined, will help strengthen your church.
2. Pursue Personal Spiritual Growth
There is nothing that brings me more joy as a pastor than to see people in my congregation growing and maturing in their faith, especially when they are teaching themselves and pursuing spiritual maturity on their own. If you want to help strengthen your church, start by strengthening yourself. Seek to know, love, and obey God better every day and it will have a contagious effect on the rest of your church.
3. Keep Serving and Find New Ways to Serve
One of the common problems in small struggling churches is that the same people carry most of the load. If you are one of those people, soldier on. Make sure to rest and take a breather as often as you can, but continue to lead and sacrifice every ounce of who you are for Christ’s church. The temporary burdens of this world pale in comparison to the weight of glory that we will receive in eternity.
If you are someone who is not involved in every meeting, every ministry, every night of the week, then consider finding a new way to help lead and serve your church. Maybe it’s standing at the door to welcome people. Maybe it’s being willing to help with the always short-handed children’s ministry. Ask your church leaders what needs done, and then be willing to do it. One of the best ways to help strengthen your church is to find new ways to serve that build up the church and bring you joy simultaneously.
4. Start a Small Group or Bible Study
You don’t need to have exceptional teaching gifts to lead a small group, though it helps! Small groups of people that share life with one another, pray with and for one another, study the Bible together, and seek to be transformed more into Christ’s image daily together are the backbone of church strengthening. Ask a group of people to come to your house, share a meal, and read Scripture together one night a week. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be a huge thing – just invite others into Christ-centered relationship with you. If you want to strengthen your church, grab a few people and start meeting regularly as a small group. Maybe others will do the same!
5. Make Church a Priority
God should always be at the center of your life. To the true believer, He is everything. If Christ is our all, then we must love the church as well, as Christ loves the church. If you want to strengthen your church, you need to make church a priority and be present as often as possible. I’m not just talking about just Sunday events – I’m talking about small groups, church picnics, outreach efforts, and ESPECIALLY Sunday events. Miss the football game. Teach your kids that church is more important than Sunday morning sports. Set an alarm, get out of bed, and get to church. If you want to strengthen your church, start by showing up, serving, and participating in as many things as you can.
These are just a few practical suggestions if you are looking for ways to help strengthen your small struggling church. What would you add to the list? How can people like you and me help strengthen our small struggling churches?