There’s an old church planting saying that’s stuck with me for decades:

The End is in the Beginning

In other words, if you want the end result to be spectacular, then the beginning has to be designed to support that visionary end.

Unfortunately, many churches and many church leaders are operating under the illusion that if they want to grow, then all they have to do is be really good at what they’re doing, let people know, and they’ll see growth.

Sadly, things don’t happen that way. If you’re going to grow, you’ve got to be better than you already are – because you’re good enough for what you’ve got. To get different results, you’ve got to be better. You’ve got to think and act bigger.

So, if you’re a church with 50 AWA and you want to grow to the next level, you have to “act” as if you’re a church of 100 AWA.

And if you’re a church with 150 AWA and you want to grow to the next level, you have to “act” as if you’re a church of 300 AWA.

It’s that “acting” that’s key to growth.

Your decision making process has to match the level you want to be. For instance, growing churches that blow through 200 do not have boards that manage – their boards deal with policy and budgets whereas the committees and staff make all the day-to-day ministry decisions. (Including worship styles, Sunday schedules, and so on.)

And your worship and ministry quality has to match the level you want to be. For instance, in a 50 AWA church your choir is probably made up of anyone who’s willing to sing. In a church of 250 AWA, the choir comprises only those who can truly carry a tune and blend with pitch, part, and volume. In a church of 350 AWA, the choir sounds professional day in and day out. At 500 AWA, the choir director is probably requiring auditions.

Staffing is another key area. At 125 AWA or less, a church typically has a full-time pastor and perhaps a part-time secretary. But if you want to break through 200, you’ll need a full-time worship leader who will put together the all-volunteer band, design worship, and probably run point on advertising worship. To make it past 350, you’ll need all that plus staff for ensuring guests and members are connecting and establishing roots … and it’ll be time to bring on the discipleship leader as well. (For more on staffing, see our Effective Staffing for Vital Churches book.)

The list goes on. Hospitality, quality of refreshments, technology, social media updates, parking, seating, your sermon, discipleship, the nursery, youth, etc. If you’re going to grow, you’re beginning … your NOW … has to be “as if” the end result is “now.”

The end is in the beginning … if you want a great end, start with a great beginning now.