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Breaking the 200 Barrier Green Lake Presbyterian Church in Seattle Washington

Written by Ed Stetzer on . Posted in Ed Stetzer

Church sets new long-term goals every three years.

Green Lake Presbyterian Church is a 78-year-old congregation located just miles from Seattle’s downtown core. We have a great tradition of biblical preaching, foreign missions, and local church planting. Our current demographic is primarily young families, but we’ve experienced an increasing number of university students and singles, as well as a robust and mature group of empty nesters. Over the last decade we’ve had several seasons of growth. The first spurt led to a multi-site ministry and the eventual planting of two new congregations.

About five years ago we hit a point of stagnation. Numerically we steadily hovered around 160-180 on an average Sunday. Our lows were in the 130s and sometimes, if we had a perfect week—no vacations, no illnesses, etc.—we’d break 200.

Nothing was terribly wrong, but things weren’t great either. During this time, we recognized some unhealthy patterns both in our church’s culture, as well as in how we as a leadership team shepherded the body. We knew if we wanted to grow—numerically and spiritually—things had to change.

One of the first things we did was build an intentional and executable long term plan, or a mission plan as we’ve come to call it. Here’s what we did:

  • Imagine the future. Take a few minutes, close your eyes, and imagine your church in three years. If all went well and the Lord blessed, what would you see, touch, and experience across the spectrum of your church’s life?
  • Reverse engineer. Once our team had a collective vision for the future, we were able to build backwards from it. We identified five key areas we needed to grow in. These included reshaping our shepherding strategy, developing better discipleship objectives and processes, and identifying opportunities for outreach and evangelism.

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