Rather than thinking of turnaround as simply a reversal of numerical decline, the real turnaround for congregations that thrive in the next decade will be a move from irrelevance to relevance in the lives of their constituents and their communities.
Traditional, established congregations that are more than 40 years old are in steady and persistent decline. Now is the time to speak the truth, reclaim our hope and launch a realistic and thoughtful plan for our future as God’s people.
What are the signs that an intervention may be called for? And what should that look like?
The spirit of Jason is one of adventure and a willingness to embrace the possibility of the new, a spirit that embraces the upside-down way of Jesus. Maybe the church today needs more upside-down ways of thinking.
I believe there has never been a better day to be the church. Indeed, I believe the 21st century will find the church of Jesus Christ emerging from decades of slow decline to rediscover authentic community, witness and vibrancy.
Out of my work at the Center for Healthy Churches, I have discovered four core leadership principles for pastors of congregations that are facing decline and longing for turnaround.
Rather than spending time judging others so that we feel better about ourselves, we are called to go out and find those who have wandered from God’s dream for their life and bring them back to the life God intended for them.
When the visionary rhetoric of a vibrant future collides with the realities of established precedents, facilities, job titles or traditional methods, the result is conflict. This is where many congregational visioning processes get derailed.
Whatever we believe the Kingdom is to look like in the coming season of our congregation’s life is what reigns supreme when it comes to priorities for facilities, staff, structures and finances.