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.
Seminary students and their seminar teacher created a list of eight key characteristics of effective leadership in congregational ministry.
While the Church’s core message will never change, the methodologies for practicing our faith will be in a constant state of change for the rest of our life. The changes we will go through in our near future will make our squabbles over matters such as new technology or screens in the sanctuary look laughable.
What might it look like if we were to become genuinely open to the idea of changing our mind?
Those churches that define and differentiate themselves in a healthy way will be the ones that have a chance to manage the challenges of the 21st century successfully. Those who do not will probably not survive past mid-century.