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Grow My Church! Course

 
 

The Grow My Church! course is a 12 session video course designed to help you grow your congregation by identifying its biggest challenges and take positive steps toward addressing them.

The course provides an opportunity to explore the richness, beauty, and challenges of your congregation. The Grow My Church! course usually meets once per week for 12 weeks, and includes a couple of weekend getaways. In each session people enjoy great food, laughter, and learning in a fun and friendly environment where the joys of your community are celebrated, and challenges are identified, talked about, and worked through.

More specifically ... The Grow My Church! course is a preparation for change!

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What is Grow My Church?  >
What Happens at Grow My Church?  >
Who is Grow My Church! for?  >
Why Grow?  >
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Here is what you get!

The Grow My Church! course is a 12 session video course designed to help your congregation identify its biggest challenges and take positive steps toward addressing them. Course materials include:

 • 13–page Getting Started Guide.

 • 12 session videos.

 • 12 session outline and handout packets.

 • 8 appendices of additional handouts.

 • 10 team member lapel pins.

Watch a sample of a course session!

Download the Getting Started Guide
for complete information.

This is a completely downloadable course. Access to course materials is immediate upon purchase at the Parish Resource Center. You can immediately download, burn to DVD, and print out course materials. Easily email them to team members. Lapel pins will be mailed under separate cover.

What Is Grow My Church?

As you may know, the Church is going through a major transition. Eighty percent of churches are not growing. There are no easy answers, but there are steps congregations can take to work through this difficult time.

Grow My Church! is a self–assessment course that gives congregations valuable tools to figure out what they are doing, why they are doing it, and what can be done to improve a church’s effectiveness. It is a low-cost alternative to expensive consultants. It is sensible, affordable, constructive, and aimed at helping churches move through this unprecedented time of cultural change. Systemic membership declines have hit long–established churches from the conservative right to the liberal left. The boom years of post–war church attendance and influence are long gone.

The Grow My Church! course is a chance for a small group of members, chosen by your church, to study the most important facets of community life, then to report back to your leadership with a plan for growth. If your church’s growth has slowed, you’re on the plateau, or even on life support, Grow My Church! may be the jump–start you’re looking for.

Watch a sample of a course session!

Download the Getting Started Guide
for complete information.

Grow!
Grow!

What Happens at Grow My Church?

The Grow My Church! course usually lasts 12 weeks with a couple of field trips in the middle. The course is designed for a small group of 6 to 10 people. Some courses are held at lunch time, however, most are evening courses with meetings typically lasting 3 hours. Each gathering begins with a meal and a chance to get to know others. During the remainder of the meeting, the group watches 2 or 3 video presentations interspersed with pointed conversations on the session’s topic. Everyone is welcome to contribute their opinion and ask questions. The emphasis is on exploration, discovery, and problem solving in an informal environment. The sessions cover the following topics, acting as a springboard for group discussions:

   1. Introduction – Festive meal, meet each other, course overview

   2. Landscape – The world and the church in transition

   3. Leadership – Who’s in charge?

   4. Purpose – What are we here for?

   5. Worship – What are we doing on Sundays?

   6. Spirituality – Putting God in the middle

   7. Service – Reaching beyond ourselves

   8. Fellowship – Building Christ–centered community

   9. Generosity – How much is enough?

   10. Hospitality – How to welcome visitors

   11. Invitation – How to attract visitors

   12. Congregational Growth Plan – Our recommendations

Watch a sample of a course session!

Download the Getting Started Guide
for complete information.

Grow!

Who Is Grow My Church! For?

The Grow My Church! course is for anyone who has a deep love for their church and wants to help it grow. But the course is also not for everyone – depending on your ministry context and your place in the congregational life cycle – this course may not be for you – so read on.

A core conviction of the Grow My Church! course is that churches were created to grow. They are organic by nature and meant to thrive, expand and replicate spiritually and numerically. However, there are instances in which numerical growth is either very difficult or impossible (i.e. congregations in small, post–manufacturing towns where everyone’s leaving). We might note that the crowds that followed Jesus fluctuated in numbers and that neither Jesus, nor the New Testament writers put much emphasis on numerical growth.

It’s also true that a great number of churches that are not growing are just fine with that. Many congregations say they want to grow, but deep down really just want things to stay the same, replace those who leave or return to what they once were. When push comes to shove, some congregations are simply unwilling to make the kinds of changes needed to grow.

So when we talk about turning around a decline, or moving a congregation off a plateau we must be clear that it is difficult work. It involves redefining and redirecting a mission that may or may not even be articulated. As one church consultant puts it, congregational growth cannot come without change and change cannot come without conflict. This work is for the brave, strong and bold who are as determined as Jesus was to see the church make a real difference in the world.

Grow My Church! can help you better understand the congregational dynamics that have gotten you where you are. It can lay the groundwork for critical introspection that can usher your church into a new era of vitality and renewal.

Grow!

Why Grow?

Why grow your church in the first place?

Holy Scripture specifically, in Matthew 28, and generally, throughout the New Testament, speaks of growth, both spiritual and numerical. Jesus did not intend his followers to casually mention the Gospel to a few good friends, go home, and continue on with the status quo. Nor did he suggest that our relationship with him would some day reach a plateau where we could safely stow it away, only paying attention to it on the occasional Sunday morning. Rather, the Gospel is about never–ending growth and transformation – as individuals and congregations.

That said, churchgoers often tend to put more emphasis on numerical growth, perhaps as a by–product of our capitalist culture, which favors the quantitative, even though the Bible does not do this. Deepening our faith in Christ, deepening our spirituality, and our commitment to service in the world through the faithful ministry of the church, is paramount in the Bible and in this course. Thus the cornerstone Scripture for Grow My Church! is not so much Matthew 28:19, as much as it is Colossians 2:6, “Continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Church growth is about growing more deeply into the vocation to which we have been called.

The fruit of healthy ministry, then, is found in changed lives, which is the goal of Grow My Church! This curriculum is not primarily about growing attendance in congregations, as much as it is about encouraging faithful ministry, which nearly always results in congregational growth. We seek to grow in purpose, faithfulness, service, spirituality, organization, etc. knowing that when we make progress in these areas we will most often see membership growth. As theologian Anthony Robinson points out, numerical growth is a secondary effect of faithful ministry, not its primary purpose.

Grow!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can ‘Grow My Church!’ get our plateaued congregation get back on track?'

The Grow My Church! course is a comprehensive congregational analysis program. It is designed for your minister and church leaders to dive in, learn more about themselves and their church, as well as healthy habits that can lead to growth. It is as an effective, low cost alternative to consultants, furnishing a wealth of information, and challenging congregational leaders to take action.

Who should participate in the program?

A cadre of hand selected church leaders should participate in The Grow My Church! course. Your pastor should look for change agents, allies, and cohorts who are interested in seeing your congregation grow and willing to try new things to jump start your faith community. We recommend a formal team of 6 to 10 people to allow for effective conversation.

How long does the program last?

We recommend one session every week for 12 weeks. Sessions are designed to last three hours. They begin with 30 minutes for dinner, include 20–30 minutes of video teaching, and the rest of the time is spent in group discussion. There is no assigned homework. The majority of work is accomplished in these weekly meetings.

Are there any other obligations?

Yes, the course also includes two exercises called Church Hopping! and The Mystery Worshipper. Church Hopping! encourages your Grow My Church! team to visit other congregations for inspiration and evaluation. The Mystery Worshipper invites three non-members to surreptitiously visit your congregation and evaluate it. A full explanation and complete materials are included in The Grow My Church! course.

Watch a sample of a course session!

Download the Getting Started Guide
for complete information.

Grow!

What people have said...

“A viable training program that has the ability to get churches growing again. Given the relentless decline of the mainline church over the past 40+ years, this is a most welcome and deeply needed resource. I commend it to all who want to see the church become once again all it is meant to be.”

Richard Peace Robert Boyd Munger Professor of Evangelism and Spiritual Formation, Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, CA

“A valuable tool for churches who want to grow not only in numbers but in faith as well, the course is based on sound biblical and theological principles. Engaging, insightful, and thought-provoking now's the time to bring The Grow My Church! course to your church!”

The Rev. Canon Elizabeth Geitz, Author, Fireweed Evangelism and Entertaining Angels

“Finally, a course that helps congregations engage in the crucial conversations that we always seem to find ways to avoid. The Grow My Church! Course is serious, insightful, but also fun. I chose to offer GMC through LeaderResources because I’m convinced it will help churches that have plateaued, are shrinking or at a crossroads and I share Chris' passion for growing churches!”

The Rev. Linda Grenz, CEO LeaderResources

“This 12–session program calls churches back to the basics and offers a chance for each of us to fall in love with Jesus again and to rekindle the flame that brought us into our faith communities in the first place.”

The Rev. Canon Lisa Gray, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

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