75 questions for people who want to help churches to grow

Helping churches to grow is hard work but there are some things that need to be addressed to help congregations to grow which seem to be fairly consistent across churches which are otherwise very different in style. Some time ago I published two lots of 25 questions for people who want to help churches to grow.

I thought it was time for 25 more. The new ones are the first 25 below and then come the ones that I’ve published before.


  1. If someone were to hear about the congregation from a non-congregational member, what is the most likely thing they would be told?
  2. What is the smallest number of words you could use to accurately explain the ethos of the congregation?
  3. What are those words?
  4. What strategies do you have to get good quality photographs of life of the congregation to use online?
  5. Which of the arts does the congregation use in its worship and regular life?
  6. How do the church education programmes relate to contemporary culture?
  7. Do things start on time?
  8. What steps have you implemented to ensure you don’t have the same meetings over and over again?
  9. Do you have a set length of time for meetings and does someone stop them after they have gone on enough?
  10. How do you stop people making decisions in the car park before or after the meetings?
  11. Who chooses the hymns?
  12. Why do they choose the hymns they do?
  13. When was the last time the congregation learned a new hymn it sang more than once?
  14. How many different styles of singing the psalms do you use and is that enough?
  15. How many opportunities are there for weekly non-eucharistic worship?
  16. Which would attract more people, a course in meditation or a course on prayer?
  17. Is anyone working for the local congregation underpaid?
  18. Does your bishop/presbytery/judicatory body or person help enable growth or are they a distraction from it?
  19. Is there are three year budget?
  20. Is the congregation moving into or out of debt?
  21. What percentage of people in the congregation would have a basic understanding about the congregation’s finances?
  22. Does anyone ever break copyright law whilst acting for the congregation?
  23. How do you share good news about the denomination that you belong to?
  24. When did you last issue a call to prayer for the congregation and what was it for?
  25. If someone wants to make a confession is it clear who they should approach and how they should get in touch?
  26. If you didn’t have to go to your church on Sunday would you still go?
  27. Are the clergy happy?
  28. Are the musicians happy?
  29. Does the congregation have a stronger ethos than that of its denomination?
  30. What one thing could you change this week to make the worship better?
  31. Why didn’t you make that change last week?
  32. What steps are you taking to make the phrase “All are Welcome” come true?
  33. Do you do church business on a Sunday after church or is there a better time for that?
  34. In the next month are you more likely to spend time on ecumenical activities or church growth activities?
  35. Do people who leave become ex-members who have disappeared or do they still contribute to the life and ministry of the place?
  36. What is the noticeboard like?
  37. What is the first thing you see when you come through the door?
  38. Did you implement the recommendations of the last “mystery worshipper” you asked to give you a candid assessment?
  39. Which church events in the next six months will be newsworthy locally?
  40. Which church events in the next six months will be reported in the local media?
  41. Do you have enough staff and who decides this?
  42. What would your clergy really like to do that they can’t because of the laity?
  43. What would your laity really like to do that they can’t because of the clergy?
  44. Which would attract young families more – a bible-based week long summer activity for children or letting it be known that gay people are welcome in your church?
  45. Can you email those members of your congregation who want to receive regular updates?
  46. Do you email those members of your congregation who want to receive regular updates?
  47. Has someone done the work required to make sure emails sent to large numbers of people don’t end up in spam boxes?
  48. Who in the congregation has gifts that could be better used doing a different job in the congregation than what they are currently doing?
  49. Who is your volunteer co-ordinator and is it obvious how to contact them?
  50. Can you volunteer without being a member of the church?
  51. Do you have a decent church website?
  52. Is it up to date?
  53. Is it responsive – ie does it work on mobile phones?
  54. Does your own online profile feature your ideas and hopes and dreams other than a desire for people to turn up to church?
  55. Do you know what you are doing with twitter and facebook?
  56. Who could you learn more about social media from?
  57. Do you have a compelling reason why people should come to your church other than where it is or what denomination it belongs to?
  58. Can everyone in the church tell you in one sentence what that compelling reason is?
  59. What is your beginners’ course like?
  60. What comes after the beginners’ course?
  61. Do people like the preaching?
  62. Do people enjoy the music?
  63. Have you dealt with conflicts from the past?
  64. Are the people friendly?
  65. Do you have any new groups starting soon?
  66. Do you talk about making the world a better place?
  67. How will people experience joy if they come to your congregation?
  68. If someone from your past turned up unexpectedly at worship how would it make you feel?
  69. How do you identify newcomers and what do you offer them?
  70. What problems will arise if you do grow and how will you deal with them?
  71. Do claims that you welcome everyone stop you working at welcoming those who traditionally find it hard to find a home in church?
  72. Do you use language that is inclusive of everyone?
  73. How do you know?
  74. Is there any identifiable group of people that you can’t explicitly say are welcome because of how an individual or group in the congregation will react?
  75. Do you want to grow or not?


  1. Richard Ashby says

    Kevin, that’s very interesting set of questions. Can I shamelessly steal some for something I am working on in Chichester? Thanks

  2. Alan McCulloch says

    Very thought provoking set of questions applicable in large part to many walks of life as well as the Church.

  3. Richard Haggis says

    I should like to share it with my Baptist masters in Oxford if that would be OK. We’re in process of deciding who we are, before starting to look for a new minister to work with and lead us.

  4. Markus Dünzkofer says

    76. What role does Jesus play in your preaching/formation/proclamation?
    77. Can you wrap your reasons for going to your church into a joyful and inviting “elevator speach” (a speech taking the amount of time you need to ride a lift/elevator)?
    78. Do you know what your neighbourhood is looking for, what its needs and desires as much as its joys and hopes are?
    79. What would you miss if your church would close? Would you neighbourhood miss you?
    80. How does your church get its “hands dirty” with creating a just society and preserving creation?
    81. Do you undergird all you do with prayer and worship?
    82. Do you willingly and joyfully give of your time, talent, and treasure to your church?
    83. What role does discussing your own resources play in the formation of your church? (Stewardship)
    84. Do you share details you spiritual and church life joyfully with friends and neighbours?
    85. Do you share the concerns and worries of your friends and family with the responsible people in your congregation?
    86. Are there church events happening outside your buildings?
    87. Are children neither seen, nor heard; seen, but not heard; or seen and heard?
    88. Do you pray for growth?
    89. Do you pray for your city and neighbourhood?
    90. What role does the cross play in your identity and formation?

    • It seems to me that people can help churches grow with the most varied theological presumptions. I’m not convinced that any particular one leads inevitably to growth.

Speak Your Mind