Since the beginning of Grace Community Church almost 6 years ago, we have experienced what many would call explosive growth. We’ve seen hundreds each year come to faith and reconnect with Christ. That growth has impacted every ministry in our church and been felt by every stretched staff member. It’s been an amazing journey filled with lots of excitement.
I have learned, however, that there are dangers with fast growth in any organization. I once wrote some of that HERE. This is an expansion of that post.
Masks real problems – Growth gets the attention. Everyone is excited. Momentum is high. Problems within a team or organization won’t show up immediately . . . but they will eventually.
Leadership poor – I didn’t say “poor leadership” . . . but leadership poor. When the organization is growing fast, you can never seem to afford adequate staff or train volunteers quick enough.
Inadequate Systems – I wrote about that HERE, but basically your systems do not support your growth and you spend much of your time playing catch up to implement adequate systems to sustain growth.
People feel scattered/left behind – It’s part of the deal. With the rate of growth, communication is more important than ever, but people are stretched, often producing holes in the communication process.
Reactive rather than proactive – In a fast growing organization, “just keeping up” will be a consistent feeling among leadership. You’ll often find yourself “making it up as you go.” With the speed of life in the organization, there never seems to be time to get ahead of the growth curve.
Be aware - Realize that everything may not be as seems. If momentum slows, the real problems will be revealed. The sooner you can identify these areas of weakness, the less damage it will cause in creating sustainable growth. Stay grounded in your faith as a team and as leaders so you can weather this season.
Recruit – It’s even more important in fast growth situations that you be constantly looking for new and developing leadership. There must be an intentional effort in every area to empower people and train volunteers for leadership positions.
Systematize – As much as possible, you should add structure to the organization along the way. You may never catch up with growth, but as problems are discovered it will often be a systems problem. Again, the more ahead of this issue you can be the better. Continually think strategically of what is needed to ensure you can continue to grow at the current rate. You might consider reading THIS POST as you add structure.
Communicate - This is another systems issue, but the faster you are growing the better your communication must become. Communication is always a struggle in any organization, but healthy organizations continually analyze their system and attempt to improve. In stressful times, communication must receive even more attention.
Discipline - It’s important, even during explosive growth, to discipline yourself enough to plan for the future. Leaders need to be visionary enough to look for what’s coming next and attempt to plan ahead. In spite of the constant demand due to growth, leaders must take time away from doing the work to evaluate and ensure operations are improved to maintain growth and momentum.
Scripture is clear that Heaven rejoices over one sinner who repents, so regardless of a church’s size or growth rate there is something for which to be excited if lives are changing. Sometimes God brings supernatural growth and during those seasons leaders should be especially aware of potential dangers. (Can you imagine the first century church adding 3,000 to their numbers in a single day?)
Have you ever been in an organization with explosive growth? What would you add to my list?