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Growth Ceilings in Churches Budapest, Hungary 11 October 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Growth Ceilings in Churches Budapest, Hungary 11 October 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Growth Ceilings in Churches Budapest, Hungary 11 October 2011

2 But first of all, is growth in the number of disciples important? What does the book of Acts say? Acts 1:15 a group numbering about a hundred and twenty Acts 2:41 about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:41 And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 4:4 But many who heard the message believed, and the number of men grew to about five thousand. Acts 6:1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing ( multiplying). Acts 6:7 The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased (multiplied) rapidly. Acts 9:31 the church…grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. Acts 16:5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith and grew daily in numbers.

3 IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ABOUT GROWTH CEILINGS I. WHAT ARE THEY? II. WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT? III. WHERE ARE THEY? IV. WHY DO THEY OCCUR? V. WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM?

4 I. WHAT ARE GROWTH CEILINGS? They are ceilings or plateaus at which newly-planted or older churches tend to level off in attendance after an initial period of growth. Lets look at an example:

5 Case study in a church plant in France people Why did this church plant start so well and then move into a 60 plateau for almost 20 years? Then why did it grow again?

6 Some important questions: What happened during almost 20 years? What kept this church from breaking through the 60 barrier? Do you know of any churches like this? What needs to be done?

7 Some all-important questions If a church can move from 15 to 20 in attendance to 50/60 in 2 years, why can it not go from 50 to 100 in the next 2 years or at least in the next 5 years? What happened around the 50/60 mark?

8 Its your turn: What do you think? I dont have the faintest notion. I wonder about ….. I need further information about…

9 Growth ceilings in associations or a fellowship of churches If new churches can be started so dramatically, what causes new churches to not be planted? 10 churches in churches In churches In 1995

10 LETS SEE HOW THIS WORKS OUT!

11 AND FURTHER REVELATION

12 II. Why an Understanding of Growth Ceilings is Important. A. Growth ceilings for both individual churches and associations of churches show that churches are ineffective in their evangelistic outreach. B. Non-growing churches stuck at a certain plateau will not tend to produce daughter churches. C. Growth ceilings can also indicate a lack of discipleship and vision.

13 III. Where are the Growth Ceilings Found? A. In the previous example of a church in France, we saw it was around the mark. B. In France the barriers seem to be around the following numbers: – 200 C. What is the situation in your context? Think about the churches and church plants you are acquainted with here in Hungary.

14 IV. WHY DO GROWTH CEILINGS OCCUR? A. The question here is why do churches stop growing? B. The answer can be complex. Dr. McGavran talks about that complex faithfulness which is church growth. C. But part of an understanding of growth ceilings comes from understanding the following fact:

15 GROWTH IS NOT LIKE THIS!

16 BUT IS IN GENERAL LIKE THIS! There is spontaneous growth but there are causes which hinder it. Obstacle Growth is hindered in each case by some obstacle. To see continued growth that obstacle must be overcome. Obstacle

17 How biblical is this idea? Lets see an example from the book of Acts: Disciples multiplying Acts 6:1 BLOCKCHANGE NEEDED Solution found 6:1b -6 Disciples multiplying Greatly Acts 6:7

18 Another way of seeing growth ceilings Christian Schwarz sees it in another way and uses a barrel illustration with the minimum factor as the present obstacle. Taken from the book Color Your World with Natural Church Development by Christian A. Schwarz, NCD Media, Emmelsbuell, Germany.

19 The barrel turned sideways. This is where the water leaks out

20 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 1. The church planter shifts from an emphasis on evangelism to caring for believers and the result is time & energy diverted from evangelism. Evangelism Edification

21 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 2. Growth is dependent upon the church planter or pastor and the people are not using their networks to reach out to other because they are not: a. Inspired to do effective evangelism. b. Taught how to do evangelism. c. Given structures to help them in their evangelism.

22 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 3. The church fills the meeting place and the 80% factor takes over. Note: not all accept the 80% principle but it is certainly true that space can limit growth in some way or other.

23 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 4. The church is not alive. It has forsaken its first love. Rev. 2:4

24 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 5. The preaching is not relevant to believers or non-believers. Two principles: Revelation Relevance What God says How it applies today Then Now

25 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 6. The church get turned in on itself or what one missiologist calls koinonitis This happens the the bigger & older a church becomes

26 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 7. The culture moves ahead but the church stays embedded in past culture. Some churches would rather die than change their way of doing things. Usually they die. The 7 last words of the church We never did it that way before.

27 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 8. The infrastructures of the church do not move with the growth of the church. Fishing Pool CELEBRATION Cells

28 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 9. Effective discipleship is not taking place. Effective discipleship is _______________ & _______________ segmented sequential

29 Effective discipleship works in phases rather than a convoy Jesus had four phases to his discipleship: 1. Come and…see John 1:39 2. Come and follow Matt 4:19 3. Come and be with Me Mark 3:14 4. Remain in me and Go Jn 15:6 & 20:21 See A. B. Bruce The Training of the Twelve

30 What extensive studies have shown about spiritual growth Spiritual growth comes by moving forward in steps: Exploring Christ Growing in Christ Close to Christ Christ-centered From Move by Greg Hawkins & Cally Parkison (Zondervan 2011)

31 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 10. The services are boring because they are irrelevant. REVELATION RELEVANCE

32 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 11. There is a lack of love in the church for lost people.

33 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 12. The church is large enough to exist and lives that way. FULL UP

34 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? 13. The church is small and believes that their smallness is because of their faithfulness to God. They need the parable of the talents.

35 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? Taken from the book Color Your Worldwith Natural Church Development by Christian A. Schwarz, NCD Media, Emmelsbuell, Germany.

36 D. What are some of the reasons for growth ceilings? What can you add? Particularly from your context here in Hungary

37 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? A. By being aware of their existence and where they are. What about here in Hungary? What about the churches you know? What about church plants?

38 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? B. By keeping good attendance records. What Natural Church Development has discovered about this. Goals are not the solution. Keeping track of what is happening and doing something about it is of great help

39 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? C. By understanding the need to change in order to grow again. Remember what happened in the Book of Acts that we talked about?

40 Change opened the door to further growth The leaders found the solution by change and adaptation Disciples multiplying Acts 6:1 BLOCKCHANGE NEEDED Solution found 6:1b -6 Disciples multiplying Greatly Acts 6:7

41 What needs to change in your church to grow? 1. _______________________ 2. _______________________ 3. _______________________ 4. _______________________

42 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? D. By being willing to be creative and take risks. risk

43 Take a risk in order to grow This is the same principle as in Acts 6 Disciples multiplying Acts 6:1 Risk change to grow Solution found 6:1b -6 Disciples multiplying Greatly Acts 6:7

44 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? E. By learning to delegate, challenge, and help people discover their Passion Spiritual gifting How their gifts can be used in ministry

45 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? F. By praying, God, do whatever is necessary to get us unfrozen. The last seven words of the church are: We never did it that way before.

46 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? G. By studying other groups and learning what you can. Remember methodology and theology do not always go together.

47 Methodology, Theology and Dynamic THEOLOGY METHOD- OLOGY DYNAMIC

48 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? H. By learning to decentralise the ministry by multiplying small groups and ministry teams.

49 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? I. By adequately training more leaders. What NCD has learned. What I discovered about leadership overflow.

50 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? J. By praying and looking to the Holy Spirit for a breakthrough.

51 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? K. By working solidly on the minimum factor in the church to increase health. Where do we need to increase health?

52 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? Taken from the book Color Your Worldwith Natural Church Development by Christian A. Schwarz, NCD Media, Emmelsbuell, Germany.

53 Where is your barrel leaking?

54 V. HOW CAN GROWTH CEILINGS BE OVERCOME? L. By planting a daughter church:

55 Now what are you going to do? 1. Nice information. 2. Lets think about it. 3. Lets do something. 4. Lets start right away. 5. Lets see what is blocking growth NCD 6. Lets form an Implementation team 7. Lets plant a daughter church

56 OUR EXPERIENCE IN FRANCE PARIS ORLY

57 OUR EXPERIENCE WITH A FIRST DAUGHTER CHURCH PLANT PARIS ORLY Longjumeau 1968

58 OUR EXPERIENCE WITH A 2 ND DAUGHTER CHURCH PLANT PARIS ORLY Longjumeau 1968 Creteil 1971

59 OUR EXPERIENCES WITH A 3 rd DAUGHTER CHURCH PLANT PARIS ORLY Longjumeau 1968 Creteil 1971 Val dYerres 1973

60 OUR EXPERIENCE WITH A 4 th DAUGHTER CHURCH PLANT PARIS ORLY Longjumeau 1968 Creteil 1971 Val dYerres 1973 Savigny-le-Temple 1981

61 OUR EXPERIENCE WITH A 5 th DAUGHTER CHURCH PLANT PARIS ORLY Longjumeau 1968 Creteil 1971 Val dYerres 1973 Savigny-le-Temple 1981 Vigneux 1982

62 OUR EXPERIENCE WITH OUR 1 ST GRANDDAUGHTER CHURCH PLANT6 th PARIS ORLY Longjumeau 1968 Creteil 1971 Val dYerres 1973 Savigny-le-Temple 1981 Vigneux 1982 Bretigny 1986

63 When do you plant a daughter church? 1. When you are growing. 2. When you hit a growth ceiling. 3. When you are declining.

64 What does God want you to do? Switzerland Taiwan Australia Nigeria Togo


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