Growing Churches Regularly Leverage This One, Simple Idea

No other institution on earth has the potential to change the world and address global issues as the local church. No force on earth is as unstoppable as the local church when it is functioning as a unified body of believers. And nothing brings a church together in unity better than a growth campaign.

The greatest waves of growth that Saddleback Church has ever experienced have been the result of the various church-wide campaigns that we’ve done. When we set aside six to eight weeks to concentrate, as a church family, on a single theme, amazing things happen, such as…

  • People bring their friends, co-workers, and neighbors to church.
  • Hundreds of people are baptized.
  • All kinds of new small groups form and launch.
  • Some people give financially for the first time, and everyone sacrifices for the Kingdom.
  • The church grows larger, deeper, broader, warmer, and stronger.

As you plan your preaching over the next twelve months, plan at least one, if not two, opportunities for your church to align around a single theme. Our newest campaign, 40 Days of Prayer is available now! Some of our other campaigns have included 40 Days In the WordWhat On Earth Am I Here For?, and Daring Faith.

Amazingly, God has blessed these campaigns well beyond Southern California. Thousands of other churches in various countries have seen people meet Jesus, churches have been established, and new missionary endeavors undertaken as the result of church-wide campaigns.

Here are some of the reasons I believe church-wide campaigns work so well:

They force you to concentrate.

Leading up to and during a campaign, your church’s entire staff and all key leaders are giving their time and energy to a singular goal. Rather than juggling all of the various projects that come up along the way, churches that really do campaigns well set aside good but distracting opportunities.

They motivate you to ask God for fruitful results.

You can’t engineer spiritual growth. We can sow the seed and water it. We can plan and strategize. But it is God alone, in his power and prerogative, that blesses a growing church.

They provide new opportunities for leadership development.

At Saddleback Church, we’ve seen hundreds of new small groups start at the beginning of a campaign. We prepare curriculum that goes along with the preaching series. We gather all group leaders and potential group leaders together and share the vision. And then we ask those hosts to start their groups. There are always people who step up to lead during a campaign that would not have stepped up otherwise.

They give you the chance to re-cast a big vision.

Leading your church through a campaign gives you the opportunity to shepherd the flock and lead the body in a unified way. A campaign should never be about fund-raising. It should be about faith-raising. Our goal, even when challenging people to commit to giving, should really be to lead people to commit to growing in their faith.

It’s great to dream big things for God, but what we often need is a mechanism God can use to bring the vision to pass, and a campaign is a powerful mechanism for any church’s health and growth.

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Rick Warren

Rick Warren

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global Internet community for pastors.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

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