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Strategies for Small Church Growth | Expand Your Flock

Small Church Growth

Increasing church attendance numbers can be a sign of church health and the vibrancy of the church community. However, small churches can also be healthy and thriving. Church staff should care about church attendance as a way to measure evangelization and community outreach. Reasons why people may not come to church include bad experiences, disbelief in Christianity, and feeling unwelcome. This article provides practical strategies for increasing church attendance without solely focusing on numbers.

Key Takeaways:

  • Focus on church health and vibrancy, not just attendance numbers
  • Address reasons why people may not come to church
  • Implement practical strategies for growth without focusing solely on numbers
  • Create a welcoming and inclusive environment for both newcomers and regular attendees
  • Foster evangelization and community outreach to attract and retain church members

10 Ways to Help People Discover Your Church

One way to increase church attendance is to help people discover your church. This can be done by optimizing your church’s online presence through Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques and having an engaging social media presence. By improving your website’s SEO, your church will show up in search results when people are looking for churches in their area. Additionally, creating an inviting worship environment and hosting open-invite lunches with church leaders can make your church more welcoming to newcomers.

  1. Optimize Your Website’s SEO: Ensure your church website includes relevant keywords, tags, and metadata to improve its visibility in search engine rankings.
  2. Engage on Social Media: Regularly post updates, events, and engaging content on social media platforms to connect with potential attendees.
  3. Create Compelling Online Content: Share inspiring sermons, testimonies, and other church-related content to attract and engage online visitors.
  4. Host Virtual Events: Organize online Bible studies, prayer meetings, or worship sessions to reach people who prefer or are unable to attend in-person gatherings.
  5. Offer Online Giving Options: Make it convenient for people to donate to your church by providing online giving options through your website.
  6. Utilize Online Directories: Ensure your church is listed in online directories and platforms that people often use to search for local churches.
  7. Encourage Reviews and Testimonials: Ask satisfied church members to write positive reviews and testimonials on platforms like Google My Business and social media.
  8. Collaborate with Local Organizations: Partner with other local organizations and businesses to promote community events and initiatives together.
  9. Utilize Email Marketing: Develop an email marketing strategy to regularly communicate with your congregation and those interested in your church.
  10. Invite and Welcome: Host open-invite events, such as lunch or coffee, where newcomers can meet church leaders and members in a relaxed and welcoming setting.

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Creating an Inviting Worship Environment

An inviting worship environment is crucial in attracting and retaining attendees. When people feel welcomed and comfortable, they are more likely to connect with your church and become regular attendees. Here are some tips to create an inviting worship environment:

  • Welcome First-time Guests: Acknowledge and greet first-time guests from the pulpit, making them feel seen and appreciated.
  • Explain What to Expect: Clearly communicate what to expect during the service, such as the order of worship, sermon topics, and post-service activities.
  • Invite Participation: Encourage newcomers to participate in church activities, such as joining a small group or volunteering for service opportunities.
  • Optimize Your Website: Ensure your church website is user-friendly, with clear navigation, service times, and information about programs and ministries.
  • Utilize Social Media: Share updates, sermons, and testimonials on social media platforms to give newcomers a glimpse into your church community.
  • Offer Live Streaming Services: Provide live streaming options for people who are unable to attend in person, allowing them to participate from their homes or on-the-go.

Making Your Church Building More Welcoming

Making your church building more welcoming is an essential aspect of increasing church attendance. By focusing on the visitor’s experience and fostering a spirit of hospitality, you can create an inviting environment that encourages people to connect with your church community.

There are several simple yet effective ways to make your church building more welcoming:

  1. Reserve parking spots for first-time visitors: A dedicated parking area for newcomers sends a clear message that your church values their presence and wants to make their visit as convenient as possible.
  2. Have a warm welcome team: Train friendly and approachable greeters who can provide a warm reception to both regular attendees and first-time guests. Their genuine smile and helpfulness can make a significant difference in someone’s experience.
  3. Offer welcome gifts: Consider providing small tokens of appreciation, such as welcome packets or information about your church’s ministries, to first-time visitors. These gestures show that you value their interest in your church.
  4. Provide a space for refreshments: Creating a designated area for coffee or light refreshments allows people to connect and engage in conversations before or after the service, fostering a sense of community.
  5. Have clear signage: Ensure that your signage is clear and visible to guide visitors to the main entrance, sanctuary, restrooms, and other important areas. Visitors should feel comfortable navigating your church building without hesitation.

By implementing these small but impactful changes, you can enhance the welcoming atmosphere of your church building and make a positive impression on visitors. When people feel genuinely welcomed, they are more likely to return and become active members of your church community.

Small Church Marketing

Follow-up with First-time Guests

After welcoming first-time guests to your small church, it’s important to follow up with them to ensure they feel valued and connected. Implementing an effective visitor follow-up plan will not only increase the likelihood of guests returning but also encourage further engagement and involvement with your church community.

What is Vision Casting – Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish

Check this vision – I would follow this – Greg Gaines

One effective tool for follow-up is the use of connection cards. These cards can be handed out to first-time guests and collected at the end of the service. Connection cards allow guests to provide their contact information and express any specific areas of interest or needs they may have. Make sure to emphasize the importance of filling out the cards and assure guests that their information will be handled confidentially.

Once you have gathered the connection cards, take prompt action to reach out to the guests. It’s important to show genuine care and interest by sending a personalized message or making a phone call. In your communication, thank them for visiting your church, express gratitude for their presence, and extend an invitation for further engagement.

“We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to worship with you at our small church. Thank you for joinng us and we would love to welcome you back any time. If you have any questions or need any support, please feel free to reach out to me directly. We’re here to help!” – Pastor Sarah

In addition to personal outreach, consider sending a follow-up email or letter that includes information about upcoming events, ministries, and opportunities for involvement. By providing clear next steps and showcasing the various ways individuals can connect with your church, you increase the likelihood of guests becoming regular attendees.

Remember, follow-up is not a one-time event. Continuously cultivate a relationship with first-time guests by inviting them to participate in small groups, encouraging them to attend additional services, and providing opportunities for deeper connection with your church community.

small church outreach

Visitor Follow-up Checklist

Use the following checklist as a guide for effective follow-up with first-time guests:

1Collect connection cards from first-time guests
2Send personalized messages or make phone calls to express gratitude for their visit
3Send a follow-up email or letter with information about upcoming events and ministries
4Invite first-time guests to participate in small groups or attend additional services
5Provide opportunities for deeper connection with your church community

Creating an Inviting Worship Environment

Creating an inviting worship environment is crucial for small church growth. When people feel welcomed and engaged, they are more likely to become regular attendees and actively participate in the church community. Here are some strategies to enhance your worship environment and attract new attendees:

Welcome Guests from the Pulpit

One way to make first-time guests feel valued and included is to warmly welcome them from the pulpit during your church service. Acknowledge their presence, express gratitude for their visit, and extend an invitation to get to know the church better.

Set Clear Expectations

To facilitate a positive worship experience, it’s essential to clarify what attendees can expect during and after the service. Explain the format of the service, the order of worship, and any post-service activities or opportunities for engagement. This helps newcomers feel comfortable and ensures they know what to anticipate.

Encourage Participation

An inviting worship environment encourages active participation from all attendees. Encourage newcomers to participate in church activities, such as joining small groups or serving in volunteer roles. By involving them in these activities, they can develop deeper connections within the church community.

Small Church Marketing

Maximize Your Online Presence

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is vital for attracting and engaging attendees. Ensure that your church has a user-friendly website that provides relevant information about services, events, and ministries. Incorporate social media platforms to connect with potential visitors and share inspiring content. Additionally, consider offering live streaming services for those who are unable to attend in person, such as remote or homebound visitors. This enables your church to reach a broader audience and extend its impact beyond physical boundaries.

By implementing these strategies, you can create an inviting worship environment that fosters growth and helps your small church reach more people with the message of faith and community.

Building a Sense of Community

Building a strong sense of community within your small church is fundamental for promoting church growth. A tightly knit community fosters a welcoming and inclusive environment that attracts and retains members. Here are some church growth ideas to help you build a sense of community:

1. Small Groups for Connection

Encourage the formation of small groups within your church where members can connect with each other on a deeper level. These groups provide opportunities for fellowship, discussion, and mutual support. Whether they meet in-person or online, small groups cultivate relationships and create a sense of belonging among attendees.

2. Subsplash Messaging for Meaningful Conversations

Utilize tools like Subsplash Messaging to facilitate real-time and meaningful conversations among your church members. This platform allows for private messaging, group discussions, and prayer requests, enabling individuals to engage with one another beyond the physical church walls. It fosters a sense of community and strengthens connections.

3. Fostering Youth and Children Ministries

Invest in engaging youth and children ministries to attract families and create a nurturing environment for young members. Provide age-appropriate activities, events, and teachings that promote spiritual growth and connect youth and children with mentors and peers who share their faith. This investment in the younger generation promotes a lasting sense of community.

By prioritizing small groups, implementing communication tools, and investing in youth and children ministries, your small church can cultivate a strong sense of community that fosters growth and attracts new members.

Remember, building a sense of community goes beyond attendance numbers. It is about creating an environment where individuals feel valued, connected, and supported in their faith journey.

Small Church Outreach

Connecting with Unchurched People

Connecting with unchurched people is an essential aspect of small church growth. By reaching out to those who have not yet experienced the love and message of the church, you have the opportunity to expand your community and make a positive impact. There are various methods and resources that can aid in this connection, allowing you to build meaningful relationships and invite others to discover your church.

Community Service Programs

A powerful way to connect with unchurched individuals is through community service programs. By actively serving the local community, whether through soup kitchens, home repairs, or food banks, you can demonstrate your church’s commitment to making a difference. These programs offer opportunities for interaction and allow individuals to witness the values and compassion that guide your church’s mission.

Engaging in community service not only helps those in need, but it also serves as a form of outreach by showcasing the love and kindness that can be found within your church community.

Befriending and Inviting

Another effective method for connecting with unchurched people is through personal relationships. Encourage your church members to actively befriend their unchurched neighbors, co-workers, and friends. By building genuine relationships based on trust and mutual respect, they can create opportunities to share their faith and extend invitations to church services and events.

“Sally, a member of our church, invited me to attend a service, and I was immediately struck by the warm and inclusive atmosphere. The invitation stemmed from a genuine friendship, and I felt welcomed and accepted from the moment I stepped inside the church doors.” – John, converted attendee.

These personal connections foster a sense of belonging and provide a supportive community for the unchurched individual, increasing the likelihood of their attendance and continued engagement with your church.

church community

Connecting with unchurched people is not solely about increasing numbers or attendance figures. It is about extending a hand of friendship, sharing the love of Christ, and providing a welcoming space for individuals to explore their faith journey. By implementing these methods and utilizing the resources available, your small church can foster authentic connections and experience growth in both numbers and faith.

Empowering Your Church Leadership

Empowering your church leadership is crucial for long-term church growth. By investing in your volunteers and staff, providing training and resources, and modeling servant leadership, you can create a strong and capable team that is equipped to effectively serve and minister to the community. When your leaders are empowered, they can inspire and guide others, fostering a culture of growth and impact within your church.

Investing in Volunteers and Staff

One way to empower your church leadership is by investing in your volunteers and staff. Recognize their contributions and show appreciation for their dedication. Provide ongoing training opportunities to enhance their skills and knowledge. By investing in your team members, you communicate their value and encourage their growth, resulting in a more motivated and capable leadership.

Providing Training and Resources

Equipping your leaders with the necessary tools and resources is essential for their effectiveness. Offer leadership development programs, workshops, and seminars tailored to their specific roles and responsibilities. Provide access to relevant books, podcasts, and online courses that can further their professional growth. By empowering your leaders with knowledge and skills, they can better serve your church community.

Modeling Servant Leadership

Lead by example and model servant leadership within your church. Show humility, compassion, and a willingness to serve others. Encourage your leaders to do the same. By embodying servant leadership, you create a culture of selflessness and unity, where leaders prioritize the needs of others and work collaboratively towards the common goal of church growth.

Quotes from Church Leaders

“Empowering church leadership is essential for the growth and vitality of the church community. When leaders are equipped and supported, they can effectively guide and inspire others, resulting in a stronger and more impactful church.”

– Pastor Sarah Thompson

“Investing in volunteers and staff is an investment in the future of your church. By empowering your leaders, you create a culture of growth and collaboration that attracts and retains members.”

Benefits of Empowering Your Church Leadership

Increased engagementEmpowered leaders are more engaged in their roles, leading to increased commitment and dedication to the church.
Improved decision-makingEmpowered leaders have the confidence and autonomy to make informed decisions that benefit the church community.
Enhanced teamworkWhen leaders feel empowered, they are more likely to collaborate and work cohesively with other team members.
Continual growthEmpowering leaders fosters a culture of continual learning and development, resulting in personal and professional growth.
Increased church impactWith empowered leaders, your church can have a greater impact on the community, reaching more people with the message of faith and love.


Small church growth is not solely about increasing attendance numbers, but rather about creating a healthy and vibrant church community. By implementing practical strategies, such as optimizing your online presence, creating a welcoming environment, following up with first-time guests, and building a sense of community, you can foster growth and expansion in your small church.

Remember to stay true to your church’s mission and vision throughout the process. Continually adapt your strategies to meet the evolving needs of your congregation. Small church growth is a journey that requires dedication, flexibility, and a commitment to serving your community.

By focusing on these church growth strategies and ways to grow a small church, you can attract new members, retain existing ones, and create a thriving and impactful community of faith. Embrace these opportunities to reach more people with the message of love and hope, and watch as your small church grows and flourishes.


Why is church attendance important?

Church attendance is important as it can be an indication of the health and vibrancy of the church community, as well as a measure of evangelization and community outreach.

What are some reasons why people may not come to church?

People may not come to church due to bad experiences, disbelief in Christianity, or feeling unwelcome.

How can I help people discover my church?

You can help people discover your church by optimizing your online presence through SEO techniques, having an engaging social media presence, and hosting open-invite lunches with church leaders.

How can I make my church building more welcoming?

You can make your church building more welcoming by focusing on the visitor’s experience, having a spirit of hospitality, reserving parking spots for first-time visitors, having a warm welcome team, offering welcome gifts, providing a space for refreshments, and having clear signage.

How important is following up with first-time guests?

Following up with first-time guests is crucial for retaining them and encouraging further engagement with your church.

How can I create an inviting worship environment?

You can create an inviting worship environment by welcoming first-time guests from the pulpit, explaining what to expect during and after the service, inviting them to participate in church activities, and amplifying your online presence.

How can I build a sense of community within my church?

You can build a sense of community within your church by providing small groups for people to connect with others, using tools like Subsplash Messaging for chat and meaningful conversations, and fostering youth and children ministries.

How can I connect with unchurched people?

You can connect with unchurched people by organizing church programs centered around serving the local community and encouraging church members to befriend and invite their unchurched neighbors, co-workers, and friends to church services.

How can I empower my church leadership?

You can empower your church leadership by investing in your volunteers and staff, providing training and resources, and modeling servant leadership.

What is the key to church growth?

The key to church growth is not solely about increasing attendance numbers but rather about fostering a healthy and vibrant church community through practical strategies and adaptation to meet the evolving needs of the congregation.

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  • Greg Gaines

    Father / Grandfather / Minister / Missionary / Deacon / Elder / Author / Digital Missionary / Foster Parents / Welcome to our Family

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