Grow Course

Self-guided Learning

Below are all of the activities we ask each of you to complete individually before each Learning Community.


I. Measuring Growth

Welcome! In this first section, we will be looking at what we mean, when we talk about church growth. Click below to watch the video.

“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted” – Albert Einstein

Regular measurement allows us to compare the impact of different events and decisions in churches. Here are a few elements that can help you measure growth:
Numbers (Size)
  • (Parish return) Annual Average Sunday Attendance: This is the Sunday attendance of the last three months/number of weeks. An estimate will be sufficient, but more accurate data is always better. We suggest you break it down into three age groups:
    • Adults
    • 12-18
    • Under 12s
  • How many people are you engaged with on a usual week? This can be for prayer groups, midweek services and/or small groups.
Depth (Spiritual growth and discipleship)

It is difficult to measure how a church is growing spiritually, but some helpful indicators may reflect this, for example:

  • How many people are involved in small groups/Bible study groups/pastorates?
  • How many are serving in the church weekly (e.g. by welcoming, teaching in children’s groups, singing in the choir etc.)?
  • Giving – What is the trend for giving financially in your church? – we ask you to record each three monthly total

How is your church having an impact on your community? There isn’t a simple answer to this, and so many measurables could indicate change. However, one way to do this is to measure the number of volunteers who give towards or deliver outward-facing activities that serve your community, such as a food bank or homework club.

Each of us may be responsible for collecting a different type of statistic. Head over to your church’s Exercise Sheet, and fill out the exercise under ‘1. Statistics’.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Take some time to pray over the statistics you are responsible for.

II. How do churches grow?

Revd John Valentine discusses the parable of the sower, and how we fit in God’s plan for growth in our churches.

Image: Vincent van Gogh – The Sower I, 1888

How do churches grow?

The early church of Acts shows that churches grow in three ways: Through God’s direct intervention, with the help of external factors, and with planning.

An essential part of planning is knowing when to introduce change in an organisation. Charles Handy is the author of several books on management and organisational behaviour. In his 1994 book The Age of Paradox, he claims that most organisations and institutions grow and die following the Sigmoid curve, as shown above.

We start slowly, experimentally and falteringly; we wax and then we wane.

He then presents a simple idea: “The secret to constant growth is to start a new sigmoid curve before the first one peters out.”

This means that the best time to introduce change is at point A, where there is enough time, resources and energy to get the next growth curve past its experimental stage and into growth by the time the first curve starts to wane.

That would seem obvious, were it not for the fact that at point A all the messages coming through […] are that everything is fine, that it would be folly to change when the current recipes are working so well.”

There is often a temptation that by doing the same things you will keep growing. But history shows another story.

All that we know of change […], tells us that the real energy for change comes only when you are looking disaster in the face, at point B.

But by that point, it is already too late. It will require a great deal more effort to start a new growth curve, which also will not show immediate signs of promise, in the face of impending doom. It is important to recognise where you are on this journey so as to implement change at the right time before growth wanes.

When studying our congregations, it is useful to examine the social forces that dictate how they operate. When studying humans and other primates, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar noticed that social groups often seemed to grow up to around 150 people, then plateau. This phenomenon has been referred to as Dunbar’s number*.

In church, this number has also been linked with the observation that many small groups usually plateau between 12 to 15 people. As such, churches often seem to plateau once they reach around 12 groups of 12-15 people, or between 100 and 150 people.

Churches of under 100 people operate primarily on the relationships between members of the congregation. Churches beyond 200 people, however, rely a lot more on systems to operate properly. Problems occur for churches between 100 to 200 people, who are faced with a difficult decision: Either heavily invest into systems to grow past 150 people, or shrink their congregation by planting another one elsewhere. These have been called transitional churches**.

*Dunbar, Robin (1992) Neocortex size as a constraint on group size in primates. Journal of human evolution (Vol. 22, Iss. 6, p.469-493)

**Kevin Martin, The Myth of the 200 Barrier, 2005

Do you remember what is Dunbar’s number? Write down your answer, and check the next dropdown for the answer.

When studying humans and other primates, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar noticed that social groups often seemed to grow up to around 150 people, then plateau. This phenomenon has been referred to as Dunbar’s number.

Draw a picture of the Sigmoid Curve, and show on the curve where you think your church is. Share this with your church team, and discuss what this might mean for your church.

Write down what you feel God is saying about where your church is on the Growth Curve.

III. Vision

We would love to hear your thoughts about how you are finding the course so far. Please let us know your feedback by emailing

Pick the right answers from the list below:

  • Feasible
  • Specific
  • Simple
  • Memorable
  • Applicable
  • Inspirational
  • Sensational

An effective vision statement should be simple, memorable and inspirational.

Take 5 minutes to consider the vision statement of your church and write down any thoughts you have on it. Discuss your vision statement with your church team. Is it simple, memorable and inspirational?

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in what you do. It needs to be succinct while conveying important information.

Find a friend or family member to share your elevator pitch with. In 30 seconds or less, outline to them the vision of your church, why it matters, and how they can get involved.

Once you have finished, ask them for the following feedback:

  • Is your vision simple – it might be simple on the far side of complexity.
  • Is the language appropriate?
  • Have you given them a ‘call to action’ – maybe they want to get involved?

Take some time now to pray about your church’s vision and what God has in store for your parish.

IV. Values

What would you say are your golden rules in life and for your church? Or rather, what would make you “righteously angry”?

Mutual accountability is a prerequisite of all effective teamwork. Patrick Lencioni, in his book The Ideal Team Player, describes the key attributes of those who are best suited to teamwork.

First, the ideal team player will be humble. It’s not about them, their ego or their ambitions. It’s about the team goal. But they’re not self-deprecating – they know what they offer, and their commitment to the team goal means they will offer it.

They’re hungry for success. They focus on the goal. They have the discipline to do the right things for success and the drive to overcome obstacles.

They are people smart. Lencioni describes this quality simply as ‘smart’, but we have changed the language to avoid confusion with intelligence. As they relate to their teammates. they see what impact their words and actions are having on others and can adjust accordingly. This is more about emotional intelligence, EQ rather than IQ.

Some people have only one of those qualities. Those who are only humble will be walked all over and are of less use to the team. People who are only hungry will bulldoze through other people to get what they want. People who lack both of those qualities but are people smart are charmers.

Many people have two of these qualities. Those who are humble and hungry, but not people smart, Lencioni describes as ‘accidental mess makers’. They mean well and they want success, but they don’t see the effect they have on others, and can’t adjust. They create messes wherever they go.

Those who are hungry and people smart, but not humble, have all the right attributes… to achieve what they want. But not achieve the team goal. They are the ‘skilful politicians’. They know the effect they have on others, and it’s all calculated to get what they want, even if it looks like the team goal.

And those who are humble and people smart are not in it for themselves. They know what effect they have on people and can adjust to get it right. But, lacking hunger, they use this to get along with people rather than get the job done. They are ‘lovable slackers‘. The rest of the team loves to have them around, so much that many will fail to notice they’re not bringing anything to the party.

But those who excel in all three qualities will put their best forward for the team goal, will get the job done and will manage their relationships greatest effect for the team. They are ‘ideal team players‘.

LEAD by Greenway, Blacknell and Coombe, 2018, p.115-117. 

Do you remember what three values constitute the ideal team player? Write down your answer, and check the next dropdown for the answer.

The ideal team player is humble, hungry and people-smart.

Take a moment and pray over your church and its values, both the written values and the unwritten ones. Write down anything that the Holy Spirit has put on your heart.

V. Mapping

Plans are nothing; planning is everything. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Mapping is more than just creating a plan or having a strategy. It is a dynamic, ongoing activity that responds to the changing environment and plots the evolving journey.

The leadership map consists of the following elements.

  • Vision: This can be defined as ‘a preferred picture of the future’. it will be aspirational – inspiring you to strive forward and others to follow you. Your vision needs to be simple, memorable and inspirational. What is your purpose? Your big aspiration?
  • Values: They dictate how you will behave when no one is watching, even when it is to your short-term detriment. It also helps you decide on what you are not doing, or won’t do. What are your golden rules? What makes you righteously angry? What behaviours are you so stubbornly committed to that you won’t compromise, even to your detriment? These are your values.
  • Goals: Success is measurable. Even with big visions, you will have clear, objective stretch targets that are nevertheless achievable. They are signposts on your way to your vision, evidence that you are on the right course and succeeding. You can point to their success – or failure – with a Yes or a No. There is no ambiguity. Effective goals are SMART:
    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Achievable
    • Relevant
    • Time-bound

What will success look like for your church?

  • Current position: Leaders need to be acutely aware of where they are now. How far along are you towards achieving your goals? How are your team doing? What are the weather conditions like?
  • Opportunities and risks: External elements that may help are opportunities, and those that may hinder are risks to your enterprise. But be careful! It takes wisdom to see the difference. As Winston Churchill said ‘A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.’ What will help you progress and what will hold you back?
  • Next Steps: These are concrete actions, as measurable as your goals, but for the short to medium term. If your goals are two to five years hence, your next steps may be weeks or at most months hence. What are your mid-term priorities? Make sure to prioritise them.
    • Helpful exercise: List all the things that you could do and want to do as a church. Then rate them by how much they are in line with vision and values. Then by how many resources they will use. Be honest about what you are not doing and why not, and that it won’t be a democratic decision all of the time.

LEAD, by Greenway, Blacknell and Coombe, 2018, p.10-15

Take time to reflect. How often would you say that you plan, or update your leadership map? Every week? Every month? Every term or less? Use this opportunity to share your thoughts with your team.

Using the information in the previous action, take 15 minutes to fill out your leadership map in Exercise 2 of your Exercise Sheeet.

This does not need to be a final plan, but rather a place for team members to provide suggestions for your church.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Take some time to pray about the different sections of your leadership map.

VI. Barriers to Growth

Here are several challenges, or barriers you will likely face on your journey to church growth.

  1. Focus: It is important to establish and maintain a tight focus on what your church is there for, who you are ministering to as a church, and what your priorities are.
  2. Organisational structure: This relates to how your church operates. Have you got the right structures in place to accommodate more people? Does everyone go through one leader, or do you have lay leaders or small groups to pick up pastoral concerns? This also relates to the PCC (Parochial Church Council). Do they work as leaders or as governance, as oversight? The Church of England describes its churches as episcopally led (by clergy and team) and synodically governed (by the PCC and Synod). How is this reflected in your church?
  3. Buildings and spaces: Sometimes buildings can be too small, but they can also be too big, which makes people uncomfortable being in too much empty space. The optimum capacity level for a building is between 60 and 80% full. If it is more than 80%, people will feel crowded, if it’s less than 60%, then they will feel like the building is very empty.
  4. Integrating newcomers: How do people get to join your church? Welcoming people on a Sunday isn’t usually enough, people often need to be invited to join a midweek group, to a pastorate or connect group, or to an informal social group, so that they can feel part of the church. This is an easy win for a church.
  5. Culture: Culture can be defined as the way we do things around here. It is the stories that we tell, the things we celebrate or reprehend. Peter Drucker* famously claimed however that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast“. You may have an incredible vision, but the wrong kind of culture can easily crush that.

*Peter Drucker was an Austrian-American management consultant, educator, and author, whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.

What would you say is or are the biggest barriers to growth in your church? What steps can you take to overcome them?

Share your thoughts with your team.

Take some time to consider your own spiritual formation at the moment. How is your prayer life? How often do you spend time in Scripture? How often do you fast, or give?

Consider the following questions:

  • Am I delegating tasks or responsibilities?
  • How am I doing that?
  • Should I be delegating more or less?


I. Biblical Discipleship

As you start this next session, take some time to pray.

  1. What has the Lord put on your heart so far during this course?
  2. How does this impact you, as a disciple and as a leader?

Do you have any positive examples of discipleship, or how you saw God at work through others? What comes to mind? Use this opportunity to share your thoughts with your team.

Let’s start by asking the question: What does it really mean to be a disciple of Jesus?

In February 2015, General Synod published a paper on discipleship, written by the then Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Revd Steven Croft. The following points describe what it means to be a disciple.

“6. Jesus calls both men and women to be disciples: to learn from him, to pattern their lives upon his life, to follow him. The first disciples recognised that the Kingdom of God was drawing near in the ministry of Jesus. They were called to repentance and faith (Mark 1.14-15). They were invited into a community marked by a particular rhythm of life: the call to be with Jesus together and to be sent out (Mark 3.14). All are called: the poor, the rich, the sinners, the sick, the disgraced and forgotten, the lost and weary, the unclean and the oppressed, women and men, the young and the old.

7. To be a disciple is to be called to a life of learning and formation in the likeness of Christ. Jesus draws his disciples apart and teaches them the deep patterns, ethics and actions of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5.1-12), the ways of prayer and worship (Luke 11.1-4), the principles of life together (John 13.1-20).

8. Yet to be a disciple is also to be called to live a distinctive life of witness and service, an apostolic life, sent into the world, to follow God’s call. Through the course of Jesus’ ministry, the disciples are sent out in mission and return to reflect (Luke 9.1-6, and Luke 10.1-12). This pattern of sending and gathering leads to the great commission of the 2 disciples in the power of the Holy Spirit by the risen Christ (Matthew 28.16-20; Mark 16.14-18; Luke 24.44-53; John 20.21-22; Acts 1.6-11).

9. There is a cost to discipleship. The first disciples leave everything to follow Jesus. The pattern of the cross and resurrection is to be written deeply into the life of the disciple:
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves, and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9.21-22).

10. Yet discipleship is also an invitation to the strongest hope, the deepest joy, the greatest fulfilment, the most authentic pattern of living, the highest adventure known to humanity. The call of Jesus is to have life in all its fullness (John 10.10). His message brings us joy:
“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete” (John 15.11).

11. A disciple is called by the grace of God to live a life dedicated to God’s glory and distinct from the life of the world around us:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12.1-2)

12. Disciples seek to live in the power of the Spirit, as members of the Church, and in the perspective of the resurrection life. In the words of the prayer from the baptism service:
“May God who has received you by baptism into his Church, pour upon you the riches of his grace, that within the company of Christ’s pilgrim people you may daily be renewed by his anointing Spirit, and come to the inheritance of the saints in glory.” – Common Worship, Holy Baptism, 71

13. The New Testament uses a rich stock of images to remind us of what it means to be a disciple. First among them is the image and sacrament of baptism. We are washed and made holy, set apart for God (Hebrews 10.22; 1 Corinthians 6.11). In baptism, we have died and our lives are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3.3). God has marked us with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit who is at work within us constantly reminding us of God’s love and compassion (Ephesians 1.13; Romans 8.23, 26). We are called to respond to God’s grace through a continual offering of our whole lives in service. This is the heart of our worship, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12.1-2). There are no part-time disciples. There are no disciples for a season. Together we are being formed by the Spirit into a new community, the people of God, a priesthood of all believers, living stones in the Temple: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2.9-10).

14. Baptism is both initiation into Christian faith and life and commissioning for Christian service. Disciples are sustained and sanctified in their Christian living by participation in the Holy Communion in which God’s people come together to be with Christ and are sent out in mission to God’s world. In the Eucharist, there is opportunity for confession of sin and amendment of life, the receiving of grace in word and sacrament, a renewal of Christian fellowship, a remembering of Christ’s death and resurrection, and an opportunity to dedicate ourselves afresh in God’s service. Above all the Eucharist is a sacrament of God’s grace, an outward and visible sign of the inner and spiritual grace of God’s love for the world poured out in Jesus Christ.

15. Disciples are called to dwell deep in Christ and continually to welcome Christ to dwell in us by his Spirit (John 14.23; Revelation 3.20). As we dwell deep in Christ, in teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in the prayers, so we are continually renewed in the grace of the Holy Spirit and able to bear the fruit of the kingdom (Acts 2.42; John 15.5). That fruit will be seen in the transformation of God’s world in peace and justice (Isaiah 5.7); in the transformation of God’s people in holiness (Galatians 5.22); in the making of new disciples, called to salvation and for service (Luke 5.10).”

The same General Synod paper then outlines several points on how disciples are formed and sustained – how they grow and flourish in their faith.

Disciples are formed and sustained primarily through the grace of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit seen in the witness of the local church, through a community dedicated to a life of prayer, service and witness in daily life which is a living interpretation of the Christian faith. Such a community continually invites others to explore the Way of Faith and provokes questions in the society in which it is set. The Church is called to pray constantly that God will pour out grace afresh in every community in our land and that men, women and children will be drawn by that grace to the fire of God’s love.

17. Disciples are formed through the ancient discipline of catechesis, teaching the faith to those who are ready to learn more and preparing to be baptised and confirmed or to renew their baptismal promises. The Church responds to the grace of God in the lives of those being drawn to faith through offering opportunities for prayer, accompaniment, formation in holiness and learning the faith as a regular part of the life of every parish and fresh expression of church. Divine and human agency both play their part. In the words of St. Paul, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth”. – 1 Corinthians 3.6

18. In this quinquennium the House of Bishops has developed new resources for this work of teaching and learning the faith and forming disciples in the Pilgrim Course. The General Synod has debated Intentional Evangelism (GS 1917) and the Archbishops have established a Task Group for Evangelism to take forward the call to make disciples in every place at the present time.

19. Disciples are sustained in their on-going Christian life not primarily through courses but through worship, mission and community – through being with Jesus and being sent out*We grow in our discipleship through Christian witness at work and in our leisure, in our prayers and in our worship. Disciples are formed and sustained through experiences of difficulty and suffering as well as through joy. Formal Christian education plays a key but secondary role to this formation in the life of the Church through deepening engagement with Scripture and the tradition, through providing opportunities for reflection on Christian experience and through equipping the saints for the work of ministry until all come “to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ”. – Ephesians 4.12

20. Lay and ordained together share a common discipleship. The outworking of that discipleship is the living-out of our Christian faith in the whole of our lives: in our work, in family life, in the wider community, in the service of God’s kingdom. Christian discipleship is expressed today in thousands of different ways and places: in food banks, schools and hospitals; through the creative arts and media; in homes, workplaces; through voluntary work with children, the elderly through mutual care and support of young to old and vice versa, through Street Pastors, homeless projects, campaigning, credit unions, peace-making and political action, in the building of stable, loving families, in generous giving, in love for our neighbours, in hospitality, in care for the environment, in soup kitchens, advice centres and voluntary organisations. Together as the Church we are the Body of Christ, a community of missionary disciples*. This missionary discipleship is the foundation of every Christian’s vocation to work and service.

21. Nurturing this sense of discipleship across the Church is therefore vital as the Church of England seeks to serve the common good through the life and service of every member. Nurturing discipleship is the very essence of promoting spiritual and numerical growth. Nurturing discipleship lies at the heart of re-imagining both lay and ordained ministry.

What five steps does Jesus take when discipling others in Matthew and Mark’s gospels?

Below are the five steps of discipleship in Mark and John’s gospels.

Mark 1: 9-20 John 1: 32-42
Revelation of Jesus’ identity
Invitation to turn and trust

What are you seeking?

Follow me Come and see
Fishers of people Bring others to Jesus
Take up your cross (Mark 8:34) Go and die (John 12: 24-26)

What five steps does Jesus take when discipling others in Matthew and Mark’s gospels?

Take some time to reflect on the following questions:

  1. How do you feel you have been discipled?
  2. How have you been involved in making discipling others in the past?
  3. How would you want to disciple others moving forward?

II. Small groups

What has been your experience of small groups? Do you have any stories of how God has worked powerfully through small groups? Take this opportunity to share your experience with your team.

Small groups will thrive in part thanks to their leaders. As such, it is important for you to think about how to cultivate the leadership you want for your small groups. Find the people in your congregation who are already embodying the values of your church and can humbly serve others.

Once you’ve identified those leaders, think about:

1 – How are you sharing your vision and renewing it as a team?

Make time to gather small group leaders together, cast a vision for them, to remind them of how they are playing their part in the mission of your church. Also, set realistic expectations. What will be the realities that they will face in their small groups? Make a habit of regularly regrouping small group leaders to share stories and renew their vision as a team.

2 – What is your pastoral support structure?

How will you support your small group leaders? As they will often be volunteers, they probably have other things going on in their lives. Furthermore, these leaders will be confronted with a large proportion of the pastoral needs of your church. It is important that they do not feel overly burdened by that, and you need a robust support and referral structure to ensure that. For example, small groups can be organised into clusters, with a designated person responsible for caring for the needs of their leaders and praying for them. This also offers a chance to keep small group leaders accountable for their actions.

3 – What is the culture/priorities you want to set in small groups?

When managing small group leaders, it is important to foster a particular culture, sometimes subtly different to that of your church. That culture should include elements such as:

  • Feedback: This is important because as a team, you might have ideas that sound good in theory, but don’t work in practice. It’s important for small group leaders to know that they can let you know how things are going, and how to continually improve things. Be humble, listen to their needs, and don’t be afraid to let go of new ideas if it means empowering your small group leaders.
  • Gratitude: What small group leaders do requires great sacrifices in time and energy. It’s important to regularly acknowledge what they are giving for that. For example, get them to stand up on a Sunday morning so that the whole church can clap for them. Other examples include Christmas cards, celebrating stories on social media and inviting them to dinner!

4 – How is your model sustainable, and multiplying?

How can you create a culture, where your small group leaders are always thinking about replacing themselves, and about who they can train to lead? It’s important to give people the opportunity to lead as this creates a mentality that no leader should feel burdened by leading a small group.

Now have a think about how small groups are run in your church:

  1. How are you sharing your vision and re-envisioning as a team?
  2. How would you describe the pastoral support structure in your small groups?
  3. What is the culture or what are the priorities you want to set in small groups? Eg. feedback, or gratitude.

As a team, outline some thoughts in Exercise 3 of your Exercise Sheet, on how you see your small groups thrive and multiply.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

III. Five types of leader

Let’s start by examining the text (NRSV):
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it is said, “When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive; he gave gifts to his people.” (When it says, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) 11 The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. 14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

APEST is an acronym for each of the five ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4. On the website of The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch, each of the APEST ministries is described as follows:

  • Apostles extend the gospel. As the “sent ones,” they ensure that the faith is transmitted from one context to another and from one generation to the next. They are always thinking about the future, bridging barriers, establishing the church in new contexts, developing leaders, networking trans-locally. Yet, if you focus solely on initiating new ideas and rapid expansion, you can leave people and organizations wounded. The shepherding and teaching functions are needed to ensure people are cared for rather than simply used.
  • Prophets know God’s will. They are particularly attuned to God and his truth for today. They bring correction and challenge the dominant assumptions we inherit from the culture. They insist that the community obey what God has commanded. They question the status quo. Without the other types of leaders in place, prophets can become belligerent activists or, paradoxically, disengage from the imperfection of reality and become other-worldly.
  • Evangelists recruit. These infectious communicators of the gospel message recruit others to the cause. They call for a personal response to God’s redemption in Christ, and also draw believers to engage the wider mission, growing the church. Evangelists can be so focused on reaching those outside the church that maturing and strengthening those inside can be neglected.
  • Shepherds (or pastors) nurture and protect. Caregivers of the community, they focus on the protection and spiritual maturity of God’s flock, cultivating a loving and spiritually mature network of relationships, making and developing disciples. Shepherds can value stability to the detriment of the mission. They may also foster an unhealthy dependence between the church and themselves.
  • Teachers understand and explain. Communicators of God’s truth and wisdom, they help others remain biblically grounded to better discern God’s will, guiding others toward wisdom, helping the community remain faithful to Christ’s word, and constructing a transferable doctrine. Without the input of the other functions, teachers can fall into dogmatism or dry intellectualism. They may fail to see the personal or missional aspects of the church’s ministry.

Three of the options below are correct. Choose the correct answers.

  • Ministry of Christ
  • Mission of Christ
  • Blessings of Christ
  • Body of Christ
  • Fullness of Christ
  • Faithfulness of Christ

The correct answers are:

  • Ministry of Christ
  • Body of Christ
  • Fullness of Christ

Which types of leadership do you see in yourself? Take some time at this point to pray and reflect on this.

IV. Growing leaders

How do we create a leadership ecosystem that focuses not on ourselves, but on “watering” others?

We often hear in churches that people are too busy. Everyone is so exhausted, and there are simply not enough leaders to grow our church. In response, we could say that there’s is a chance that what we actually have, is too many unformed leaders. We might be looking for people who can lead like us, but those people might not exist… yet. If you can’t find experienced leaders, you need to develop them.

Training leaders is a part of discipleship. It doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it happen without some investment on your part as a mentor.

We need to take budding leaders on a journey, which includes four stages as they are described in the Leadership Square.

1- Unconscious incompetence: Learners usually start by blindly presuming things will be easy. We see this in the gospels when Jesus calls the first disciples to follow him. Their feelings are mainly that of excitement and boldness. This is the right time to inspire potential leaders with a bold vision.

And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.”Matthew 4:19

2- Conscious incompetence: Once future leaders start learning from their mentors, they slowly realise how hard the task at hand really is and can easily become discouraged. This is where it is important to coach learners, by showing them what needs to be done, while reassuring and encouraging them on their journey.

And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. – Matthew 8:26

3- Conscious competence: Learners quickly transition into this next stage, where they are eager to exercise and develop their skills themselves. As such, mentors need to transition from coaches to helpers. Note that Jesus empowers his disciples to go and perform miracles very early on in the gospel of Matthew. However, he gives them very specific instructions, and only allows them to practice in a familiar environment.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment.” – Matthew 10:5-8 

He is also readily available to help them when in need.

And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”. He said to them, “Because of your little faith. […]” – Matthew 17:18-20

4- Unconscious competence: The previous steps rapidly enable mentors to acknowledge the competence of their learners, by fully delegating responsibilities over to them. As learners acquire more and more field knowledge, they can fully grow into their given responsibilities and spark new innovations. Which leads to…

5- … Learners teaching future learners: Jesus’ final command was for the disciples to not keep their knowledge for themselves, but to go out and teach others what they learnt

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. – Matthew 28:19-20

How wonderful it is, that as church leaders we are able to rest assured in the words of the one who is teaching us all…

And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Choose the four correct options from the list below:

  • Unconscious incompetence: You do, I watch.
  • Unconscious incompetence: I do, you watch
  • Conscious incompetence: I do, you help
  • Conscious incompetence: You do, I help.
  • Conscious competence: You do, I help.
  • Conscious competence: I do, you help.
  • Unconscious competence: You do, I watch.
  • Unconscious competence: You do, I help.

The correct stages are:

  • Unconscious incompetence: I do, you watch
  • Conscious incompetence: I do, you help
  • Conscious competence: You do, I help.
  • Unconscious competence: You do, I watch.

Using the Leadership Square as a framework:

  1. Think about who are the potential leaders in your church family.
  2. Where are they on the leadership square at the moment?

Take some time now to pray for people that can be considered your “apprentices”, or people that are learning from you… and for more apprenticeship opportunities.

V. Teams

Church growth comes in many forms. Where do you feel like you have seen growth in your church? What lessons do you think we can draw from this? Use this opportunity to share with your team.

When leading or growing a church, it might be tempting to appoint people to particular roles, simply because you know them well or because they work or look like you in some way. However, a homogenous team can stifle creativity and at worse may lead to stagnation. It’s important therefore to avoid this temptation and focus only on recruiting the best person for the job.

When recruiting, we suggest building a diagram like the one above. This helps paint a clear picture of the members of your existing team and their leadership types. While it is important for you to think through your recruitment strategy, many roles will need to be defined and “grown into”, in the same way that some parks are designed following where people have worn the grass out. Design your job roles following the responsibilities each team member naturally gravitates towards.

As a church, fill out Exercise 4 in your Exercise Sheet and outline your team’s roles as well as each person’s leadership type.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Now take a moment to reflect on the following questions:

  1. How is my team looking at the moment (morale, performance)?
  2. How do I regularly value my employees and volunteers?
  3. What expectations have I set in terms of progression, pay, benefits (if applicable)? Are they fair?

Complete the following lists:

  • The 5Cs to look out for when recruiting
  • The three necessary qualities of an ideal team player

The 5Cs to look out for when recruiting:

  1. Character
  2. Calling
  3. Competence
  4. Chemistry
  5. Capacity

The three necessary qualities of an ideal team player:

  • Humble
  • Hungry
  • People-smart

As we end this module, take some time now to pray for your church team, what you have discussed, and any changes that need to happen.


I. Who are we inviting?

In Acts 17:16 onwards, we see Paul taking deliberate steps to embrace the context of his listeners in Athens (bold added):

16 While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was deeply distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17 So he argued in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons and also in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.

18 Also some Epicurean and Stoic philosophers debated with him. Some said, “What does this pretentious babbler want to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign divinities.” (This was because he was telling the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.) 19 So they took him and brought him to the Areopagus and asked him, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 It sounds rather strange to us, so we would like to know what it means.” 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners living there would spend their time in nothing but telling or hearing something new.

22 Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely spiritual you are in every way. 23 For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.

It is important that we understand the different contexts of the people we are talking to. Today, we can follow Paul’s example by using some of the methods shown next.

In a few words, describe the different groups of people your church is trying to reach, and where they like to spend their time.

Head over to Exercise 5 in your Exercise Sheet. Take a few minutes to suggest different avatars or personas that represent the people who come to your church.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Take some time now to pray over each of the personas you have identified for your church. Pray that God will highlight ways of reaching out and welcoming them. You may also want to “prayer-walk” in the areas you would like to see transformed.

II. Three steps to inviting

As Chris explained in the video, Michael Harvey mentions three steps to becoming a more inviting church:

  • Vision: If every one of us asked God for someone to invite, and then we went to invite them, and they accepted, we would double our congregation. God has the hardest task: opening up the hearts of the people we talk to.
  • Modelling: Could you get up in front of the congregation and say: I’m inviting someone, will you? Vision and modelling alone are said to mobilise 20% of the congregation to invite.
  • Cascading: 8/10 people, however, will be influenced by the “Bystander effect“. When they hear the vision, they think: “They don’t mean me”. To address this, we can regularly encourage people on a one-to-one basis to invite others.

Next, reflect on these three steps and how they can be applied in your context.

What is the vision for invitation in your church? Take some time to pray about how your church is inviting others.

How can I model inviting in my life? How can I avoid the bystander effect and inject courage in people to invite?

Do you have a good example of invitation? Share a positive example of invitation that you have experienced or observed with your team.

Lastly! Do you remember which are the three steps to inviting?

The three steps to inviting are:

  1. Vision
  2. Modelling
  3. Cascading

III. Digital communications

It can seem daunting to navigate the noisy world of online communications, but these six steps can help you put your best foot forward:

  1. Always start with vision, culture and values
  2. Carve out time with your team to plan the communications (eg. half a day for the month ahead).
  3. Create a plan like the one above (click on the image to zoom in). Specify which content you will post on which platform. Think especially about how you can follow up with your congregation and newcomers throughout the week and not just on Sunday.
  4. Plot the key dates of the year. Put them in a termly plan and schedule the promotional posts for each event. Two to three weeks’ notice is usually enough to warn people about events. Choose the best channel for different types of information.
  5. Use apps that automatically schedule posts like Planoly, Buffer, or Hootsuite (more here).
  6. Lastly, do not compare yourself with others. Do what you can and start as small as you need!

With this in mind, Chris will offer some tips on how we can communicate well online.

What are the six steps to developing a digital communications strategy?

The six steps are:

  1. Always start with vision culture and values
  2. Prepare and create a plan (½ a day per month)
  3. Know your avatars/personas well
  4. Only put out good content
  5. Don’t put it off – just start!

How are you communicating in your church? How far in advance do you plan your communications? Are there other channels you could use?

Now, take some time to fill out Exercise 6 in your Exercise Sheet with suggestions of online interactions you would like to have with your congregation. From emails to social media to events, feel free to add creative ideas!

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Take some time to pray for the different ways your church communicates. Pray that those will honour God and bring people closer to Him.

IV. From welcome to integration

When inviting people to our church, we want to think about the steps on the journey they will take to get there. Here are five touchpoints that are important to consider:

  1. Invite and Attract – Think about who you want to bring to your church. Where do they come from? What do they do? What are their lifestyle attitudes and behaviours? The more you know about them, the better you’ll know how to communicate with them, and through which channels. One of the easiest ways to do this is to build personas or avatars, which we’ll introduce in the next session.
  2. ConsiderOnce someone is interested, they may check your website to find out more about your church. So make sure to anticipate their questions and that your information is correct. Provide the appropriate website experience, give details and next steps for the specific audience you want to reach.
  3. ExperienceThey have decided to come and see! This may be at a Sunday service or a midweek event. It is now up to your church to provide the best experience for them so that newcomers will want to stay around for more. Consider the quality of the gathering, its timings and how accessible it is.
  4. Follow up – Just before the end of the service or event is a great time to invite people along to something more, like a small group, service or introductory course. Leave people with a contact or links with which they can interact further. This is a crucial moment, so be very clear about the next steps.
  5. Create advocatesThey’ve signed up! Now that they have a positive perception of your church, they are more likely to share this with their friends. So give people all the resources they need to pass on the message. Remember, this group will become your future advocates, and hopefully bring others through these five steps.

How do people get involved in your church? Head over to Exercise 7 in your Exercise Sheet and write your thoughts on this and other questions. Remember, you can write in different colours so that each team member can share their thoughts.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

An elevator pitch is a brief, persuasive speech that you can use to spark interest in what you do. It needs to be succinct while conveying important information.

In this exercise, an acquaintance asks you to talk about your church and how they can get involved. You have 30 seconds to give your pitch in a clear, inspirational and memorable way.

Find a friend or family member to share your elevator pitch with. In 30 seconds or less, invite them along to a church event, and why you think they would enjoy it.

Once you have finished, ask them for the following feedback:

  • Was the invitation clear?
  • Did you strike the right tone?
  • Have you given them a ‘call to action’ or a next step?

Take some time to pray about how you invite and welcome people to your church.


I. Multiplication Model

Before we begin, let’s remind ourselves of the discipleship steps in Mark and John’s Gospel. Can you remember which order each step is in? Select the right answers below.

  • 1. Follow me.
  • 1. Revelation of Jesus’ identity.
  • 2. Invitation to turn and trust.
  • 2. Take up your cross. Go and Die.
  • 3. Invitation to turn and trust.
  • 3. Follow me.
  • 4. Bring others to Jesus. Become fishers of people.
  • 5. Take up your cross. Go and Die.

The right answers are:

  • 1. Revelation of Jesus’ identity.
  • 2. Invitation to turn and trust.
  • 3. Follow me.
  • 4. Bring others to Jesus. Become fishers of people.
  • 5. Take up your cross. Go and Die.

Jesus understood multiplication to be part and parcel of healthy growth. We can see this in the following verses, where Jesus describes a healthy crop as one that produces many more seeds.

“That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.  As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where they did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 13:1-9

In the context of discipleship in our churches, this parable offers hope in the abundance of crops than can be yielded from a single seed. Jesus also seems to highlight the fact that multiplication also comes in smaller numbers. See how he speaks about multiplication from a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown”.

To apply this, let’s start by looking at how we multiply disciples around us.

2 Tim 2:2 mentions four levels of disciple-making. How can we replicate this in our churches? Who are you discipling?

Now take some time to think about the people in your church who you can ask: “Who are you discipling?

Write down each of their names, and commit them to God in prayer.

II. Leadership Pipeline

Multiplying leaders is all about equipping people to develop their gifts and then grow other leaders.

Do you remember the four stages of the leadership square? Head over to Session 12 (Growing Leaders) if you need a prompt. Select the correct options from the list below.

  • Unconscious incompetence: You do, I watch.
  • Unconscious incompetence: I do, you watch
  • Conscious incompetence: I do, you help
  • Conscious incompetence: You do, I help.
  • Conscious competence: You do, I help.
  • Conscious competence: I do, you help.
  • Unconscious competence: You do, I watch.
  • Unconscious competence: You do, I help.

The correct stages are:

  • Unconscious incompetence: I do, you watch
  • Conscious incompetence: I do, you help
  • Conscious competence: You do, I help.
  • Unconscious competence: You do, I watch.

In the previous video, Bishop Ric presents up to five levels of leadership in churches. Can you name and explain these?

The five levels of leadership are:

  1. Leading self
  2. Leading others
  3. Leading teams
  4. Leading leaders
  5. Leading networks

Head over now to Exercise 8 in your Exercise Sheet, and write down some suggestions for who you think could be in your leadership pipeline.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Reflect on an example of leadership from your experience. Do you have a leadership pipeline in your church? Remember, this could be in any or all areas of ministry (eg. children’s team, musicians…).

III. Five levels of multiplication


Hendrik Heerschop, Gideon’s Sacrifice, 1653

Gideon’s story is a moving example of the power God has to turn a self-confessed “weak” person into the leader of a nation.

“The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.


The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Gideon replied, “If now I have found favour in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.”

And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.”

This passage contrasts God’s abundance (“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.”) with Gideon’s scarcity thinking (“My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”). It shows how, with God at his side and trusting in him, Gideon has nothing to lose or fear.

Next, consider what level you think your church is at. What has been the dominant mindset in your church up to now? Does it need changing?

Consider what level you think your church is at. What has been the dominant mindset in your church up to now? Does it need changing?

How do you see your current mindset impacting your Action Plan? What does/would movement thinking look like in your church? Use this opportunity to share your thoughts with your team.

IV. Becoming a Multiplying Church

Bishop Ric suggests four ways to become a multiplying church in this next video.

  1. Work out why it’s important
  2. Encourage disciple-making
  3. Think about planting within parish
  4. Think about planting outside parish

Do you remember Ric’s tips on becoming a multiplying church in London? Feel free to go back if you need a reminder.

Bishop Ric suggests four ways to become a multiplying church.

  1. Work out why it’s important
  2. Encourage disciple-making
  3. Think about planting within parish
  4. Think about planting outside parish

Bishop Ric suggests four ways to become a multiplying church.

  1. Work out why it’s important
  2. Encourage disciple-making
  3. Think about planting within parish
  4. Think about planting outside parish

Which feels most relevant to your church or your parish right now? Why? How can you address this?

Write down your thoughts under Exercise 9 in your Exercise Sheet.

If you need help finding your church’s Exercise Sheet, please email We recommend you also bookmark that page in your browser.

Take some time to pray and commit the course and all you have learnt to God. We also invite you to reflect on the profundity of Jesus’ Great Commission.

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’”

– Matthew 26:18-20