Our church has recently faced two challenges, challenges that are a sign of God’s blessing, but challenges none the less. The first challenge our sanctuary was reaching the 80% capacity and in church growth that is a dangerous number. The 80% rule of church growth is that, if your church reaches 80% capacity rather than growing all the way to 100% a church will in fact begin to decline. Our second challenge was that we were having a number of families that were attending our church and looking for a place to put their kids while they attended the main worship service. These families were typically unchurched and or from Sunday churches that provide child care during the worship service, either way we saw the need to minister to these families and to remove all barriers that would keep us from doing so.
So what did we do to meet each of these challenges? At first we were only focused on the challenge of space. We went back and forth debating the need for a second service. We prayed about this, planned for it, then backed off. We prayed, planned, backed off. We just didn’t see that we were quite ready to make this leap! It was during one of these planning sessions that we looked at model where one service was “family style worship” (meaning the entire family attends the worship together) and the second service provided a children’s church so that there would be options for families. As we were looking at this model we began to also think about our second challenge, ministering to families who were not comfortable or acquainted with “family style worship.” We realized at that point that on any given Sabbath (Saturday) we have roughly 50-80 kids attending our church, if we began a children’s church to meet our second challenge this would also meet the needs of our first challenge.
Well at the beginning of February we began our new Children’s Church. What has happened? Both of our challenges have for the time been met and removed. About 30 kids have been in our children’s church (ages 2-8) along with our nursery this has met the needs of about 40 kids each week, and the families that desire to take advantage of these ministries. One of our members contacted me this week and shared with me that a colleague of his was wanting to visit our church, but was wondering what they could do with their kids. This member was wondering what week we were going to have children’s church? I was happy to tell him that his co-worker could come on any week and find a place to send their kids.
Our second challenge is being met because we have now gone from bumping up against the 80% capacity mark to being closer to 56% of capacity, which means we can continue to grow without worry of beginning to decline.
We have killed two birds with one stone. What challenges does your church face and are you proactively looking for ways to overcome those challenges so that the Kingdom of God will grow and be glorified?