The 52 Churches Project: 52 Churches in 52 Weeks

An after-hours meeting in 2021 led to inspiration: we could literally double a church in one year.

I presented the idea to a pastor, and he labeled it a BHAG—a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. And it is. But it's also completely achievable. I can boldly say that any church or organization can double in a year.

The initial steps that lead to doubling are actually straightforward and simple. Helping organizations thrive in the midst of continued, rapid growth definitely has its challenges. It takes, among other things, a staff and members that are nimble.

More Inspiration

Years ago when my father-in-law retired from his role as a minister, he took several months away to give the new staff space.

He filled that time with visits to 14 area churches. Many of those churches were ones that he had heard good things about over the years, and he was finally getting the chance to visit.

After 14 Sundays and 14 church visits, he came away with a sobering realization: all of the churches he had visited were really friendly — to each other.

If you knew my father-in-law, you'd know that, far from being a cynic, he's friendly, warm, and laid-back. He would have been incredibly receptive to any hospitality offered. He was the easiest person to welcome.

The other harsh reality came after the church visits:

Of the 14 churches he attended, only one ever followed up with him.

This presents an opportunity, not just for churches, but for all organizations who want to grow.


Not the First to Visit 52

After being inspired to visit 52 in 52, I wasn't surprised to learn that others have already taken or are already on similar journeys with blogs, books, and videos to track their progress.

  • Some have been purely spiritual in nature
  • Others have been focused on visiting churches of various faith traditions
  • Still others, like the journey by Peter DeHaan, are similar to mine in that he's passionately focused on growth.

Why Double?

The primary goal of The 52 Churches Project and the related project, Church Times Two, is to observe and report how organizations achieve healthy, sustainable growth.

My hope is that I'll be able to provide helpful insight, tools, and resources to three different groups of people:

  • Staff
  • Members
  • Seekers

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