Church Planting and Ministry Growth Scams
Search for the term “church growth tips” and you’ll be amazed by the results. After weeding through multiple websites promising huge increases in church membership (if you purchase their program) I literally felt a bit nauseous. Most church growth sites promise something they can’t deliver at a price struggling churches can’t afford.
Unfortunately, the majority of church planting/church growth programs I’ve researched charge a lot of money for common-sense principles and ideas most pastors and ministers already know. That being said, there are legitimate church growth organizations that can help under certain circumstances: For example, a large, thriving congregation decides to plant a new church and has no idea how to start. A reputable church planting program can be useful during the planning stages to train and guide the church planting team.
Want to know the secret to church growth? There isn’t one. After planting multiple churches in cities both large and small, I can honestly say there are no tips, tricks or techniques that will guarantee church growth. For example, several pastors I know started churches that ended as total failures. Years later they planted churches (in different areas or cities) that flourished. What was the difference? The pastors all used the same church growth techniques – the only difference was location and timing.
While there are obvious things pastors can do to help their church grow (prayer, outreach, marketing, special ministries, etc.), what works for one congregation may not work for another. It’s much harder to plant a church in the United States today than it was ten years ago. Yes, some churches are growing (like Rick Warren’s mega-church), but many churches are struggling. As a result, scam artists and not-so-reputable church growth “professionals” are springing up like dandelions.
How to avoid church planting and ministry growth scams:
- Avoid websites that use “teasers” to lure pastors and church leaders in. Sites that promise guaranteed results, but you have to pay before you examine the material. If the church growth or church planting website looks like an infomercial, move on.
- Stay away from church growth websites that don’t list the owner’s experience or expertise. For example, anyone trying to sell you information about church planting should have personally planted a church before. Never pay for information from someone who hasn’t pastored at least one church for a substantial length of time.
- Avoid church planting “groups” led by business men who know nothing about church planting or church growth. While basic business principles can be applied to some areas of church growth, groups or individuals who have no experience as pastors can destroy a church in a matter of months.
- Do your homework. Find out who owns the church growth or church planting website or program and use a search engine to find out more about them. If you can’t find any information to support their claims, move on. If they have no experience as a church planter or pastor, move on.
How do you start and grow a new church or ministry? Begin with plenty of prayer. As for church growth tips, tricks and techniques, there’s a lot of valuable information on the Internet posted by experienced pastors and church planters who won’t charge you a penny for it.