Engine of Church Growth

By Scott Sistrunk, career church planter

I developed this method when I was Church Growth Director for Bro. Nix from 93-96. The church had been plateaued for 15 years at 225. Over the 3 years I was there we grew at 13% the church now runs 500 or so and they still use the basic model I put in place then.

Here it is in simple form… and it is simple.

I call it the “Engine of Church Growth” it is made up of 5 different departments working seamlessly together to ensure certain targets are met. Our target number was 30 Home Bible Studies per week. If I could keep that number going then I could be assured that we would have consistent growth.

1. Evangelism Department— Key phrase, “Produce traffic flow.”

Important point,
“Only is in operation when there is no traffic flow or the “control number” is not being met. Don’t do outreach projects “ad nauseum.” You can waste valuable energy that needs to be spent in the other 4 departments.

2. Usher/Hostess Staff. These people are so key in reaping the rewards of the evangelism department.

Key Illustration: If you have 20 visitors per month are you satisfied with making sure you get contact info on 18 of them? Would you be satisfied if your monthly Tithe/Offering was $20,000, if only $18,000 got to the bank and $2000.00 just “fell thru the cracks?’ You must train your team to NEVER lose a contact. They are more important than money.

3. Visitor Follow Up. Key Phrase: “You must be ruthless” Key Thought: You must assume that they came to your church on purpose. They didn’t just stumble in. They must be aggressively followed up on. Every visitor had fresh baked cookies on their doorstep Monday morning. No exceptions.

An illustration of serious we were… We missed a visitor card on a guy and we were all panicked. We called around to everyone who talked to him and finally found that he told someone where he worked. We called information and tracked him down on his job!

4. Home Bible Study Dept. Key thought: “The goal of every conversation and action from the time we meet a visitor is to get them into a Bible Study.” PS. 19 says it is the Word that converts the soul.

Good idea stolen from Ron Libby: We did a creative Home Bible Study commercial in every service. This opened the door for “the conversation” re: Home Bible Study.

5. Discipleship. Key phrase: “The success of your discipleship program will be the combination of good teaching and extremely aggressive weekly follow up.” If you have to choose between a good teacher and someone with great followup skills… always choose follow up skills and use a video to teach. It takes a huge amount of energy to Shepherd a new convert through 12 to 24 weeks of discipleship. But it must be done.


  1. thank you so very much for taking time to post church growth on the web I am a new pastor and i need all the help I can get.

    Thank you and keep it up

  2. You’re very welcome, pastor Vail… Church growth is a passion of mine, so this is quite therapeutic for me as well!

    Check back often… I’m regularly updating the site, and would love your feedback on the items posted.

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