Here are some of his thoughts:
Three Laws of Church Growth:
- Invite lots of people
- Don't suck
- Make sure people make friends
- If a church has no new people coming, it's probably because the church is breaking Law #1.
- If churches are obeying #1, but people are visiting once but not coming back, it's probably #2.
- If guests come for a few weeks, then drift away, it could be #3
"...go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
"...be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”In short, both spiritually and biologically, Christians are to, in his words, "make babies, raise the babies, kick them out so they can make more babies."
And one final thought - a concept John called, "positive deviance." Not only the mainline churches, but even many evangelical churches are declining in numbers, he says. So if 95% of churches are in decline, and 5% not, don't look at what the 95% are doing, or not doing, but focus on what the deviant 5% are doing, and do it. It is a concept I learned in the business world, and one that John applies in his own field; look at what successful people (businesses, churches) are doing and do it yourself. Copy excellence.
Random thoughts, but ones I found interesting.
Edited to add:
First of all, John messaged me already to tell me that attendance in 2011 When SCL Stickel arrived was closer to 250, so I have changed that above.
Second, I had scribbled down a note during our conversation this afternoon that turned out to be, "Relay race through time." Another of John's thoughts - the church is a relay race through time. It doesn't matter how well or fast you run your leg, if you fail to pass the baton the team will lose.
Brilliant analogy, IMO.