How to Build Church Momentum in the Dead of Winter

(Pexels/Terje Sollie)

Wondering how you can see an explosion of life and health in your church this winter?

Make a way for the people in your church to grow and to invite their friends and, to your mild surprise, they will. You can see new excitement in the lobby and in the pews.

Would you like to see momentum and growth in your church this winter?

If you struggle with commitment and attendance in your church, take a look at what we're doing this year to build momentum in the dead of winter. Pick the ideas that work for you, and go make it happen, my friend.

'I Love My Church' Weekend

We have a tradition at New Song: the second weekend of the New Year is a celebration and vision-casting service. We call it the "I Love My Church Weekend."

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This single service sets the tone and direction for our ministry for the next 12 months.

'I Love My Church' T-Shirts

The celebration starts the minute people enter the building.

Greeters direct everyone to a t-shirt table where they are given a free T-shirt that says, "I Love My Church" on the front and "New Song Community Church" on the back.

Everyone gets one, from newborns to 90-year-olds.

Everyone has to show up this weekend, because it's the only weekend we give the shirt away free. We all feel like more of a family because we all now have the same T-shirt. The shirt is a great conversation starter and one-on-one marketing tool out in the community. We encourage everyone to wear the shirt to all church events like Beach Baptism, Beach Clean-Up, New Song at the Amphitheater, Halloween Fest and more.

Giving away a T-shirt builds good will. Good will builds momentum. Momentum helps with fruitfulness and faithfulness.

Yes, the shirts cost us money. They're worth it.

Celebrate the Previous Year

During my "I Love My Church" message, I'll take 12 minutes to walk through a passage that reminds us of God's purpose for His church. He wants His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, and we're a significant part of that.

Then, I'll take 12 minutes to walk through ways He's built His kingdom with us in the previous year. I'll report the number of salvations, rise in ministries, results from our missionaries and church-planting efforts.

We'll celebrate together what our Next Door ministries have done in our community. We'll hear about individuals and groups.

Most churches go through bumps and bruises. It's easy to remember the bruises, but we want to remember God's power and faithfulness so we celebrate what God has done.

Forecast the Coming Year

I'll conclude with 12 minutes of where we will be heading in the year to come.

I'll talk through hopes for increase in quality and quantity. I'll cast vision for the launching of a few new ministries. I'll ask everyone to go with me on this venture; to pray and give and serve and rejoice.

During this section of the sermon, I'll ask everyone to take the prayer sheet out of their program.

Since this is 2019, I'm calling it "19 Prayers for 2019."

We'll work our way down the list, which puts us all on the same page. Then I'll ask them to keep the list and pray through it regularly. Mobilizing a whole church in united prayer is powerful. God listens and responds.

Here's our prayer guide to give you a starting place for yours.

19 Prayers for Our Church in 2019

  1. That each one of us would want and pray to reach one person in 2019.
  2. That God's presence would be felt in every service and meeting.
  3. That we will continue to feel and act like a family.
  4. That attendance average will grow by 7 percent by the end of the year.
  5. That 500 will come to Christ through our people and ministries.
  6. That we will have 80 life group leaders by the end of 2019.
  7. That we will get our preschool and offices built in our Oceanside building.
  8. That we will make progress towards the new auditorium and café also.
  9. That we will develop plans for our preschool on our Carlsbad property.
  10. That 100-plus attendees will become members in 2019.
  11. That our children's and youth ministries will be fully staffed.
  12. That our Celebrate Recovery and Cancer Support ministries will help many.
  13. That our Next Door ministries will help many people.
  14. That our missionaries will thrive and expand God's kingdom.
  15. That our partners in Panama will see fruit and leadership development.
  16. That our ministry will be fully funded every month.
  17. That God guides our pastor and board.
  18. That we start an excellent grandparenting ministry.
  19. That our marriages and families will grow healthier and more loving.

Here's a quick look at the outline for the I Love My Church Weekend sermon:

  • 12 Minutes: Preach a passage about God's kingdom on earth like Acts 2 or Matthew 16.
  • 12 Minutes: Celebrate what God has done through us in the previous year.
  • 12 Minutes: Forecast what you hope God will do in the coming year and give your church a prayer guide to pray for those things.

"I Love My Church Weekend" generates joy and enthusiasm. I'll utilize that to do some great outreach the following weekend.

The Wow Weekend

On the third weekend of January, we hold what we call a "Wow Weekend."

On a Wow Weekend, we bring in a special guest who has a "sow" factor that enables us all to invite a friend. This year's guest is a young man named Daniel Ritchie.

Daniel was born without arms. His testimony of God's faithfulness is fantastic. We've invited friends and neighbors, and we're inviting the Wounded Warrior Battalion to join us as well.

Read 9 Big Ways to Make the Most of a Church Guest Speaker to see our most recent strategies for fruitful Wow Weekends.

The Next Sermon Series

From there, we'll launch into a community-friendly series. This year's series is called @Home.

In John 14:23 (ESV), Jesus said, ""If anyone loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."

We'll explore what it looks like to have Jesus make His home in every room in our house.

The top needs in our community are marriage, family, and money. I'll preach sermons on "The Bedroom"(marriage), "The Family Room"(family) and "The Home Office"(money management); along with "The Attic"(what we do with our baggage), "The Study"(spending time with the Lord), and "The Kitchen"(health and body management).

What's Next?

Churches aren't easy to love. They're full of sin-scarred humans.

But I really do love my church. And I love starting out the year telling them how much I love them and why they should love their church too.

I hope you'll experience a great love for your church and great fruit in your church in this year ahead.

Hal Seed is the founding and lead pastor of New Song Community Church in Oceanside, California He mentors pastors who want to lead healthy, growing churches with resources at

This article originally appeared at

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