As we nurture our children, we gradually give them new opportunities for responsibility and independence. We encourage them to dress themselves and pick out their own clothes. We provide food options (all healthy, of course) that they can choose. We provide books and games that will stretch them mentally. We start acting “as if” they were older and encourage them to move to the next level.
A church that desires to grow must start acting in the same way. I often say to pastors, “If your church wants to move to the next level, you must start acting as if you were already at that level.” This means providing adequate staffing, sufficient worship opportunities, differentiated educational groupings, and challenging ministries. For example, if your church wants to have a quality children’s program that will attract and retain children, you need to develop one. Perhaps you only have two or three children attending now, but you can start staffing and planning as if you had a dozen children. When a parent brings a child to your children’s ministry, he or she will see that you are providing more than the minimum; you are expecting children and prepared for them.
This acting “as if” applies to the pastor as well. Perhaps you have been the chaplain of a family sized congregation. In order for the congregation to move to the next level, you may have to become more of a coordinator and administrator. Rather than serving as a “sounding board” for the church’s matriarch or patriarch, you may have to lead through personal relationships by delegating, assigning responsibility, and recognizing achievements of others.
If we act “as if” with diligence and commitment, we soon find that we have arrived at our goal. Someone has said, “Fake it until you make it,” but we are talking about more than just “faking” it. We are talking about providing the structure, resources, and leadership that will accommodate the next level of growth. If you don’t do this, you probably won’t grow.