There are many struggling churches in mainline denominations that aspire to Make disciples for Christ, Serve the Community and Impact the World. Often they struggle with limited finances, limited energy and few people. Efforts to reach more people and share the life changing message of Jesus Christ seem futile and the few ideas that do work seem to never provide the traction necessary to change the direction of the congregations decline. I believe that there is something to learn from relevant success stories of congregations that have already gone through the process of revitalizing and restoring their mission. The role of the transformative, revitalizing pastor is to help the congregation discover the best practices to achieving the long term mission and vision. . As a pastoral and leadership coach here are some suggestions to accelerate the learning curve:
- Find multiple examples of congregations with similar demographics and a similar ministry context that have coped with equivalent challenges successfully. Learn from their mistakes, experiences and successes
- Find congregations that model excellence in the ministry areas that you desire to grow in even if the resources are outside of your denomination in a congregation that has no ministry context similarities. Learn what the best practices are and let them become the standards that your strive for as you revision the ministry.
- Develop a step by step logic model of the reasons for the best practices and the success of the turnaround churches. Look for features that they share in common.
- Present these shared “success factors” as precepts, guidelines, and principles that can be implemented by all those who wish to achieve similar levels of success.
- Document your journey by video, journaling, pictures and recordings.
- Celebrate mini successes along the journey and review the ultimate goal and objectives often