May 22, 2017

Children's Ministries That Are Experiencing Long-Term Growth Have This One Thing in Common

In a day when the majority of churches are plateaued or in decline, there are some churches that are experiencing long-term growth.

Year after year, they continue to grow and reach more kids and families.  As I connect with these churches and personally observe what they are doing, I have found they all have one thing in common.

What is it, you ask?  Here it is.

Children's ministries that are experiencing long-term growth are in multi-site churches that consistently start new campuses.  

Is your children's ministry plateaued or in decline?  I believe the answer, in most cases, is to go multi-site and then to continue to add campuses.  I've had the honor of being part of some of the fastest growing churches in America.  Without exception, here is what happened. 
  • We started growing. 
  • We grew to the point where the auditorium and children's ministry space were full. 
  • We plateaued. 
  • We added another service and started growing again. 
  • We grew again to the point where we were full again. 
  • We continued to add new services as we grew, but eventually got to the point where it wasn't healthy to add any more services.  When you get the point where you are doing 6 services a weekend, it's not healthy for the long-term health of the staff to continue to add more services.  
  • We eventually plateaued again even with having 6 services. 
  • We added a new campus and began to grow again.  
  • This same scenario is repeated again with each new campus.  
Again, the bottom line is this.  In today's culture, churches that experience long-term growth are multi-site churches that continue to expand and add new campuses.  Need more proof?  Once a year, I meet with the children's ministry leaders of the largest, fastest growing churches in the country.  Without exception, this is what is happening.
  • Their original campus is plateaued. 
  • They are still growing.
  • Their growth is coming through the new campuses they are starting. 
Why is a multi-site strategy necessary for long-term growth?
  • You can only construct so many buildings and kid's ministry space in one location.  Now matter now big an auditorium or how large a kid's space you build, you will eventually run out of room. 
  • There is a limited number of kids and families who live in the vicinity of your one campus.  Whether you are in a heavily populated, urban area or in a less populated, rural area, there is a limit to the "number of fish" in the pond.  If you want to start catching more fish, you have to fish in some additional ponds.  
  • New campuses free up space at the original campus, so you grow by "re-growing" to where the attendance level was before you started the new campus.  Normally, you will take a group of people from the original campus to help start the new campus.  This will allow you space to reach new people at the original campus.  Here's an example...
    • You have 300 kids attending the original campus.  Due to space or other limitations, this is your cap.
    • 50 kids go with their families to help start the new campus.  This leaves you with 250 kids at the original campus.  
    • You reach 50 more new kids at the new campus.  This plus the 50 kids that came to help start the new campus means you are now reaching 100 kids at the new campus.
    • You reach 50 new kids at the original campus since you have now have space available. Though it appears you aren't growing at the original campus, you are.  Your growth has been getting back up to 300 after sending 50 kids to the new campus. 
    • Add the growth from both campuses and you've grown from 300 to 400 kids per weekend.
I am reminded that this is grounded in the great commission where Jesus tells us to "go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone."  As a church, this is not optional.  We must continue to "go."  We must continue to go into new neighborhoods, new communities, new cities, new states, new countries.  If we want to grow, then we must go.

Is your ministry declining?  Is it plateaued?  Then it's time to go.  It's time to go and start a new campus.  If you want to grow, then you've got to go.  Until every single boy, girl, mother and father have had the opportunity to know Jesus, we have to keep going and growing. 

These are my observations about children's ministries that are experiencing long-term growth. 

Your turn.  Do you agree?  Disagree?  What other strategies or methods have you seen among churches that continue to grow long-term?  Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.

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