The first commercial airplane flight in the entire world was in 1914 in Tampa, Florida. Actually, Tampa was the “B”. It was the landing spot for this historic, across the bay flight. Apparently, there was a guy who needed to get to the other side and guy who had a plane that could do it. It was really just that simple.
Churches also need to be that simple. We need to take folks from A to B. Here’s my thinking on the topic.
Currently, I am on a jet. (Read Part one: Attending a Jet) As I write this I am aboard Southwest Flight #816 headed toward Denver, Colorado. It is kind of noisy. It is kind of crowded, but it is going where I want it to go. The folks on board are doing a good job. It appears, they have made the flight many times. But it is easy to see they are not treating it like a routine.
There is no casualness allowed. And I am not speaking of the way folks are dressing. The captain, flight assistants and all the folks helping in the cabin are professional, courteous, and enjoyable, but most of all focused. They are determined to get me from A to B and quite obvious they have a plan to make that happen.
Effective churches also have very clear focus. They know what they are doing with people. They know where they are taking them. And on top of that, the whole process is pretty obvious to see for everyone around.
Is your church there? Is my church there? Ugh! Not nearly the way we should be; however, here is what we have learned that can be holding us and many churches back.
What are Some Common Hindrances?
Hindrance #1- Routine-itis. This is the sickness that comes from doing something over and over and over again. No modern day airplane flight can ever be allowed to be come routine. Neither should a church’s Sunday services or ministries ever be allowed to become routine. Never let the “efficiency people” take over from the “effectiveness people.” I wrote about this in a blog article entitled-Efficient Teachers are Ineffective. Don’t get caught in routines and rituals. Make every Sunday and every program a step toward getting folks to “point B.”
Hindrance #2 Over Emphasis on Duty. Hebrews 10:25 talks about not forsaking the assembling together of believers. The verse is often used as a leverage point of duty to get folks to come to church. “Forsaking not” is a good and valid admonition, but when it is used as a control or a big stick, it can turn a joyful event into a burdensome activity. I can’t picture Jesus putting a lot of pressure on folks to show up at his meetings out of duty. His stories, miracles, engagement with relevant topics seemed to keep plenty of folks nearby. They were always anticipating the next gathering. Demanding attendance can really take the focus away from developing a clear and simple path toward spiritual development.
Tip: Church leaders need to make a conscious effort not to allow regular events to become routine. A wise leader keeps things fresh!
How Do I Step Toward Clarity?
Reveal Real Values- Every church has core behaviors that are the expression of its beliefs. Take some time to examine these deeply. Don’t settle for the cliches or doctrinal statements. Here are a few questions to get you moving. What makes your church tick? What makes you different than other church in your community? How is your doctrine actually expressed? What does your church like to “do” with its beliefs? Clearly identifying these values will help your church folks and guests understand “where you are going.”
Visible Values- Once they are identified and crafted into simple statements, make sure they are highly visible to everyone. Here are four things we do with our core values:
- Publish-Make sure the values have a place of prominence in your printed materials. Print them alongside doctrinal statements, by-laws, etc… Make them prominent in your church brochures, tracts and digital plan.
- Post-Create large and prominent posters or wall hangings with your values. Display them on your screens before and after services. Hang them on the walls in the classrooms and offices.
- Explain-Regularly repeat them and use them in sermons and teaching times. Use illustrations that support your values. Explain them regularly in announcements and in the church bulletin.
- Connect-Make sure a high percentage of calendar items and budget items are directly connected to a core value. If routine events or expenses have little or no connection to a core value, consider how to phase them out.
Conclusion: An effective leader is not someone who has lots of followers. He or she is a person that takes people where they need to go. Likewise, an effective church must have more than just attenders, it must have a clear and concise plan to get folks from A to B!
Question #1: Why is it important that your core values are not just short “clips” from your doctrinal statement?
Question #2 Have you listened to the accompanying audio/podcast on this topic? Progress Bar for Spiritual Development
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