BY STEVE DUNN
There comes a time in the life of a congregation when you recognize that you are no longer making any significant impact upon the life of your community. You have been meeting together for worship for years and you find more and more of your people who find something else to do on a Sunday morning. When you ask for God stories, people have to reach back several decades to find something truly worth sharing. Your church cannot report even one new convert in the last year. The gas station up the street cannot give directions to your facility.
Then the Holy Spirit begins to stir someone’s discontent within the church. The question is asked, “Where have we gone wrong?” Perhaps more persons are stirred as well. And you begin to think, “How can we change this?”
The process of turning around from dying as a congregation to living is rarely easy. The inertia of ineffectiveness is not overcome by simple wishful thinking or tweaking something in hopes of making it more productive. This is because the process of “turning around as a church” requires serious attention to several factors of change.
1. There must be an honest look at what you have been doing as a church, identifying those programs or ways of doing ministry that keep the church focused on the people it already has instead of the people outside the walls.
2. There must be an honest appraisal of the core values the church holds to determine whether they are truly in sync with the missionary values of Jesus.
3. There must be an honest look at whether the people IN the church are committed to be disciples according to the standards of the Word instead of content with merely being members of a church.
Programs and preferences that do not connect with the people you are trying to reach for Jesus will always be a drain on your resources and a distraction from your vision. Core values drive actions and if those core values are not missional, you will not be on mission with Jesus. Church members think privilege. Disciples think service.
(C) 2013 by Stephen L Dunn