The Church has a future. This we are guaranteed of in the Scriptures. The future, however, does appear like we are not doing that good of a job sharing our faith, reaching the lost and impacting culture. Over the past twenty years have led four turn around situations. Each one of them in a different time zone with their unique culture. This list of 11 things are common denominators found at each location. No matter the size, denomination, beliefs, or time zone you can practice these 11 things right now and begin to see a change.
- Have the Ability to Say No.Clarity not only attracts, it divides. With clarity you will have to say no. Ever been to the eye Doctor? He presents images for each eye and asks; yes or no, better or worse. In each situation I am asked to evaluate. When the image is not clear I say, No. Leaders must have the ability to say no.
Know this, at any church and at any given time you will always have 10% of the people who don’t like you. Don’t b be afraid to say no for fear of upsetting someone even your yes’ do that.
- Get outside the box. Houdini was a master at demonstrating the power of getting outside the box. It may sound counter intuitive but in order for us to get out of the box we must think inside the box first. Before Houdini ever stepped in the box he knew how to get out. Death would come if he stayed in the box. Know how to get out of the box and then do it!
- Quick decision making. Establish a culture of decision making.
4 types of decision making styles (all four need to be a part of your culture)
1. Command Decisions – when decisions need to be on the spot.
2. Collaborative – team feedback decisions.
3. Consensus – body decisions.
4. Convenience – when someone else needs to make the decision.
- Flexibility. Overcome adapt. Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be bent out of shape.Culture moves fast. Life is predictably unpredictable. There needs to be an awareness of the need for flexibility. If we are not careful we can fossilize in our systems and ways of operation.
- Make this day that day. Of all the advantages a leader has it is the ability to see where you are going. Seeing what needs to happen in order to move forward is a great thing – it helps lay the groundwork. Start leading, planning, equipping like you are more than what you are – that way when you get “their” you can handle the increase. Lay the groundwork and the need for: staff, rooms, ministries, events, budgets.
Frequently ask what if questions:
– What if we see 20 new families?
– What if 100 visitors came on a Sunday?
– What if we start turning families away because of our nursery, children’s area, student ministry?
Plan today like your tomorrow is here!
- Become contagious not religious. Faith is contagious – Excitement is contagious – Joy is contagious. If you will smile, be happy, be genuine – celebrate not complain – love instead of condemn – lift up instead of load down – offer grace instead of grumble you will attract people! Be a church where people want to invite people to attend.
Ask: If you weren’t paid to go to your church would you attend?
- Embrace social media. The first automobile instructors had a hard time getting people to press the brake instead of yelling, Woa!!! Just because we don’t understand something will not make it go away. Social media is part of our social and cultural experience. It may be hard to imagine and you may be tempted to say Woa – but social media is here to stay.
Find someone who understands it. Post something once a day on FaceBook: Scripture, pictures, etc. Have someone take pictures and post them. Social media is a free public relations campaign in your hands. It’s free fellowship – it’s fast fellowship and yet its effects last much longer than the moment.
- Value Experimentation. If the horse is dead dismount. Remind the church that failure is more common than success.
Did Noah have any experience building a boat?
Did Abraham have any experience navigating to the Promise Land?
Did Peter know how to walk on water?
We must continually tweak current ministries and try new ones.
- Move from Membership to Ownership
If you have not studied Arthur Flake then you need to. Arthur Flake was a master for his time. He did more to grow Sunday School than any other man I am aware of. In a book by him I discovered 6 points of Sunday School from Arthur Flake. (Don’t think Sunday is out of date. We still practice SS, we just call it Life Groups. The only difference is they meet off campus and days of the week. It’s still a “reaching, teaching arm” of the church.
1) Attendance 2) On Time 3) Bible Brought 4) Offering 5) Prepared Lesson 6) Preaching Attendance.
What Pastor would not be pleased if our church members came to church with that attitude? There’s more great stuff from Flake. The point is this – church members, at that time, had an ownership in the ministry (not just the carpet of a classroom). Teach ownership – get them involved in the work of the ministry.
10. Adjust people’s priorities not just their schedules. The early church did more than add a time of worship and house meetings to the schedule. The early church changed people’s priorities about God, life, and mission.
Teach the value of living life on mission.
Schedule times of living life on mission.
Get them serving … often…with impact.
Show them a preferred future.
11. Practice 52 Quality Sundays. Act as if this Sunday is someone’s first. Emphasize Quality and Quantity.
Put your best forward on Sunday. Sunday is the first day of the week. Train your church in this philosophy: “If we get Sunday right we get the week right. If we get God right we get everything else right.”
Sunday needs to be a win for everybody.Define the win for your leaders, for your members, for your visitors and for your mission.
Ask: What will make an impact on the lives of those who attend?
Do not ask: What will they like – what will make them happy?
The Church has a future as you can see. We can follow 11 principles right now and see immediate results.