On the Grow Again

Breaking through a Plateau

In September of 1984, I started Grand View Baptist Church. We had 75 people on our first day, and then kept growing. We had 121 on our six month anniversary, 154 for our first year anniversary, 195 for our second year, 295 for our three year anniversary, and 385 for our four year anniversary. God was blessing and we kept growing.

Growth continued until when we were four and a half years old we left a Baptist denomination, and we were sued for everything we owned. At that time, we gave up 11 ½ acres of land, $35,000.00 in cash, and started over again with 80 people. Those were dark days, but we just kept going soulwinning. We went from 2,000 to 4,000 to 6,000 to over 10,000 souls saved a year. Our best year we saw 20,368 saved through our soulwinning efforts. Our church and income grew as well. We built our first building, and then filled it. Then we built our second building, and filled it. Then we added on to our first building and filled it. Then we went to two services until we built our new 800 seat auditorium, and then we built another 200 seat auditorium for our Korean Church and remodeled our old auditorium for our Spanish Church.

We kept growing until the economy turned in 2003. We had reached 1.6 million dollars in income, but stayed there for the next five years. Our Sunday school leveled off to 525 and stayed there. We had averaged more, but we stopped counting extension services, and only counted people that were on our property in a Sunday school class. Now we had big days, and had people join, and many saved, but our overall average attendance stayed at 525 for Sunday school. We had reached a plateau, and here we sat for five years. After a while we thought, “Well, I guess this is all the Lord has for us. We are in Beavercreek after all, not Portland.” We found so many ways to justify it, but all we had ever known was growth. The economy hadn’t helped as well as many other factors we could point to, but we almost accepted it as the status quo—almost.

During these years, we had two staff members start a church, and another one resigned to work in another church. Finally it dawned on me that we needed more staff. I prayed and started looking for the most productive young men I could find. I realized that we needed help and productive helpers—men with initiative who could put people in the pew. So, I went before our church and asked them to increase their giving for six months in order to hire some new staff. We had enough resources to hire three, but I saw five men I wanted. We hired five staff men at one time. This was in August of 2008. That fall program, we averaged 793, and stayed at about 700. The next spring, we averaged over 940, and stayed at 800 in Sunday school. Then we had a good fall with an average just over 1,000 and stayed at 850. This spring, we averaged 1,150 in Sunday school, and now our average is about 925. That is 400 more in Sunday school in less than two years! Yes, God has been good.

Now, how did that happen? First, God did it. Secondly, we worked hard, too. I gave every new staff member except for our Youth Pastor, a bus route and an adult Sunday School Class (an empty room). The bus routes brought in children and teens, but also gave them an area to work for adults for their classes. Most of the adults drove in, but some would ride their bus. The goal I set for them was to bring enough adults to church to pay for their salary in one year. Our income that had stagnated grew from 1.6 million to just under 2 million last year. God was doing something.

We started knocking on thousands of doors again. We hired four college interns to work with us during the summer and knock on thousands of doors as well. We knocked approximately sixty thousand doors last year and thousands of people were saved out soulwinning (about 14,000 including two missions trips; 6,000 locally). Now our goal is to average 1,000 in Sunday school for a regular Sunday. We are still growing. We picked up 180 in our Spanish church, another 40 English teenagers, another 100 English adults, another 20 in our Korean Church, and another 80 children. Our parking lot is full and we use an overflow parking lot now as well. A lot has happened in two years, but here are the simple keys that worked for us:   

  1. We hired producers—men who were productive.
  2. We became a tight knit team. We bonded quickly.
  3. We started more adult Sunday school classes (6 in all).
  4. We started more bus routes (5 more routes and 7 more buses going out).
  5. We followed up on visitors to grow Sunday school classes.
  6. We created excitement in the church by the constant growth.
  7. We created a stir in the community. You don’t grow without everyone knowing about it. You don’t knock on sixty thousand doors in our area without knocking on many doors multiple times. Even a local Evangelical pastor told his staff they should strive to be more like Grand View.

Well, that is our story. We broke through the plateau and hope to keep climbing. Our next biggest challenge is to go to two Sunday school hours and two morning services again. It wasn’t God’s fault we stopped growing, it was ours. We worked on us, and God blessed again. I sincerely hope that this helps you to break out to greater numbers as well. If I can ever help you on a personal level, please let me know. May God bless you and your ministry.

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