Two Communication Keys That Doubled My Church

Two Communication Keys That Doubled My Church

October 9, 2013 by

Years ago, after selling a small business, I took some time off, painted our house and volunteered time at our church.

In three months, by the surprising grace of God, I was the executive pastor, serving 350 people and about 75 volunteers!

Two years later, the church attendance doubled to 700. Volunteer involvement doubled as well, despite being a “mobile” church (with three different venues in those two years) in a city with lots of churches. There were plenty of other challenges as well.

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on the two keys to this growth…

1. Tell People Why the Church Exists
It might sound elementary, but I challenge you to really examine this point for yourself.

Assuming you’re not the only church in a 50-mile radius, why should people commit to your church? What does the leadership believe is most important for this community? Communicate this—clearly and often.

One way of looking at this is to be clear on what your church is not about.

In other words, have the courage to be lovingly unapologetic…

“We hope you love our church, but here’s what we’re focusing on, and here’s what we’re OK with not being so great at.”

Once you start trying to please everyone, you’ll please no one. As an added bonus, your joy will decrease and your stress will increase!

For example, if a big music team isn’t on your dream list, keep it simple. Help people understand where you are laser-focused.

Just make sure you communicate the “why.”

2. Make Daily Difficult Choices Based on Your “Why”
Lack of follow-through is why many savvy churchgoers roll their eyes at “Vision Sundays” and “Mission Statements.” Face it, these globs of words get stale on a forgotten web page or new members’ PDF and rarely are used in daily decision making.

Every week you’ll be asked about some new ministry idea “the church should do.” Most of these suggestions will be terrific—but that’s also why most churches cave in and try to be all things to all people.

People can sense when a church is rudderless. How? They simply look at actions.

We were almost derailed by a well-intentioned foray into… small groups. Every other church on the planet was doing house groups, and that’s why we started them—or tried to.  The amount of effort we put into it and the amount of pressure we exerted on people was huge.

And you know what? Nobody really wanted them in the first place, least of all the senior pastor. The (predictable) result was a few frustrated small group leaders, treading water and hoping for more church support.

Say no thanks.

People respect a church that is clear about their purpose and sticks to their focus. Communities are hungry for dependability and stability. You can’t have that when you’re chasing lots of good ideas at the expense of your great idea.

The best communication is not words anyway, the best communication is action.

People in your city will appreciate a focused church, where words and actions paint a clear picture, even if they choose not to attend! Are you OK with that?

Photo by Chris Goldberg
Post By:

Mike Loomis

Mike Loomis is a church and nonprofit consultant, writer, literary agent, and senior team leader with Vaughn Street and www.MikeLoomis.CO.
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17 Responses to “Two Communication Keys That Doubled My Church”

  • Ethan Lee
    October 9, 2013

    I’m not involved in Church Ministry yet but these are some great notes to keep on file for the future. Thanks for the post Mike!

  • Mike Loomis
    October 9, 2013

    Thanks, Ethan! Having also worked with many businesses and nonprofits – I’d say the same principles apply.

  • Steven Fogg
    October 9, 2013

    Saying no many times means that your ‘yes’ counts for more. Great stuff Mike!


  • the Old Adam
    October 11, 2013

    I doubt anything would work at our church.

    But your suggestions are worth a try.

    Thanks, Mike.

    • Mike Loomis
      October 11, 2013

      Hey Old Adam, Steve – Thanks for the comment. Love your site BTW. I honestly believe these 2 keys are the CORE of a church, and therefore the TOUGHEST to actually do. The honest conversations these points create, are sometimes difficult… OK, always difficult. So we avoid them. Been there. But we must address the WHY in honesty.

  • Whitney
    October 11, 2013

    Understanding that the why is more more important than the how will enable us to do more with less. These are great points that also transfer to secular business.

    Thanks for sharing,

  • Mike Loomis
    October 11, 2013

    Yea, Whitney – well said!

  • Josh Collins
    October 11, 2013

    Mike, this is such a great post! I too have found myself so frustrated within different church communities, whether I was a regular attendee or working with one. For a church, staff, or congregation to experience leadership having such brutal honesty and clarity about their why, and what they are and what they aren’t, creates sacred beauty and safety. This then truly opens the doors for authentic felt experiences of the gospel.

    What comes next is nothing short of miraculous!

    • Mike Loomis
      October 11, 2013

      Wow Josh – can I delete my post and replace it with your comment?! Yes – brutal, vulnerable, honesty. A key to growth.

      If you’re reading this and not the senior pastor – be patient, and pray along these lines!

    • michelle
      October 16, 2013

      Can somebody in this thread please put this conversation into some solid facts? I dont follow, and Im probably dense but I do not understand what you are getting at. Thank you.

  • Laura
    October 17, 2013

    Mike – I am in sort of the same boat with Michelle. In my case I need to hear some examples before I understand the concepts. So what *was* your church’s “why”? How did its concepts translate into specifics that guided your yes’s and no’s? Were small groups clearly outside of your “why,” or was the core value of honesty simply saying “stop doing what’s not working”?

    • Mike Loomis
      October 22, 2013

      Hey Laura and Michelle – Thanks for letting me know this wasn’t clear. (and sorry for my delay in replying!)

      I believe this is BEYOND “stop doing what’s not working” – and is about “Stop doing programs, and stop making choices, to try to please everyone!”

      For us, we realized small groups were something we did just to follow a trend. Nothing wrong with small groups.

      When I started at the church, we were very clear about our purpose for being. To paraphrase:

      “This church is not your life. We’re here to be a PART of your life. We do NOT want your world to revolve around this church. You should never feel guilty about “skipping” a Sunday to spend time with family. You should not empty your bank account out of guilt. We’re going to have great worship, but our kids ministry will be SIMPLE. We are a mobile church. because of that we’re not a great place to be married or buried… sorry. Because we don’t expect people’s lives to revolve around this church, if you want to get together in small groups, go for it – but we’re not going to institutionalize it. We’ll tell people what you are doing, but we will not twist arms to keep a program going…”

      About 2 years into this journey, we started violating those values, and started COMMUNICATING (with words and actions) different values. Growth stopped. We started to apply pressure on volunteerism and giving – to provide for all these nifty programs (which we said were not important to us, earlier)

      Hope this helps!


  • Dave Shrein
    October 21, 2013

    It is amazing how powerful yet difficult it is to focus on the simple and most elemental pieces of a church vision. When everyone is clear on the mission of the church that clarity makes it easier to not only get on board with the mission, but it also will shape the culture of the church in a singular (powerful) direction.

    Thanks for breaking it down in ways we can understand.

    • Mike Loomis
      October 22, 2013

      Thanks, Dave – I think that’s why this is so tough… it’s SO basic. And requires brutal honesty. (And why my post might not have come across as clearly as I hoped. I’m responding with some examples)

  • Seth
    October 30, 2013

    We went through this same thing. It was difficult to figure out the “why”, but when you are finally able to think in that manner it was a great experience and ultimately led to us creating our Manifesto (

    Our entire team just got back from ZingTrain ( and learned about creating a vision. It was great knowing our “why” and then being able to structure a vision.

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