10 Key Shifts for Churches

Thom Ranier, President and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, recently shared these 10 key shifts churches must consider as they minister in an ever-changing world.

1. Disappearance of easier growth. 20% to 30% of the growth most churches could have had 10 year ago is gone today. Attending church is less important to many people today.

2. Land and facilities. Churches are building smaller and acquiring less land. Worship centers are being downsized—unrelated to lower attendance. Millennials have an aversion to a large gathering. There is also a shrinkage in the number of acres that are needed for a church.

3. The rise of using lead metrics. Lag metrics represented what happened in the past. Lead metrics lead to results—attendance growth, giving growth, etc. An example of a lead metric is how many times church members connected with non-church members each week. Another example is the number of people who invite someone to church.

4. Shift to community centrism. If our congregation is not significantly making a difference in the community, we will be among the congregations who do not survive. Millennials leave churches when they learn that the church doesn’t have a priority in impacting their community.

5. Financial re-focus of churches. Many churches are beginning to ask: “Why are we spending money on this and that, and are we spending the money in the most effective way?”

6. Dealing with the attendance frequency issue. The number one struggle of most churches is how often the most faithful attend. Fifteen years ago, folks were involved two or three times a week—now it is two to three times a month for the most faithful members. A significant drop-off in attendance frequency is generally because being part of a congregation has a lower priority today. Church membership has come to mean so little. We need to state up-front what it means to be a member of a church, including faithful attendance.

7. The small group mandate. Worship-only attenders leave. Those who are connected through small groups stay. Those who are in small groups give about 80% more than those not a part of small groups. There is a small group revolution taking place. Lead pastors must be the champion for small groups. On-campus small groups are growing most rapidly because of the availability of childcare.

8. Major staffing shifts. Historically, we have brought on the same types of staff members. Today, there are more virtual workers to support church staff. There are more virtual church financial managers.

9. Children, children, children. The first hire for many churches, after the pastor, should often be a children’s staff person. Safety and hygienic issues must be priorities for churches. Children should be the priority even above middle-school and high-schoolers.

10. The huge leadership edge of continual learners. Learners inside and outside their disciplines are seeing growth in their churches. Leaders must stretch themselves to learn something new every week.

Church Policies and Procedures Bring Freedom – Part 2

By Raul Rivera, CEO of StartChurch.com

God’s response to a frustrated prophet

In Habakkuk chapter 1, the prophet registered a complaint with the Lord.  He was concerned about the way God’s enemies were triumphing over the righteous because the righteous had no leadership.  The Word of the Lord came back to the prophet, and the Lord required Habakkuk to put into writing the answer (Chapter 2:2).  He was told to make it plain so that those who were in charge of dissemination would be empowered to carry out the details of the revelation.  What did he write?  The vision is revealed all throughout chapter two.  It was a set of policies that steered the nation back to a path of righteousness.  Established policies create consistency and consistency promotes faithfulness. 

Pastor, let me ask you a couple of questions.  Do you have any written policies that guide the church?   Do you have the following policies?

  • Church property use policy
  • Cell phone use policy
  • Budget policy

My frustrated friend

My friend admired his pastor and wanted to make sure he served faithfully, but it was difficult to do it with joy, when the church had no clear policies to make decisions on projects and no real spending budget.  All decisions had to be made by the pastor, and if changes were necessary then those, too, had to be brought to the pastor…but the pastor would often forget the decisions he made.  Oftentimes, weeks would pass by and then the pastor would get upset over money that had been spent or the way something was being done, even though those serving in the various departments were merely carrying out the pastor’s previously rendered decisions.  Understandably, this recurring issue had been a point of frustration not only to my friend but also to many on the staff.  My friend wanted to help his pastor by asking him what and how he wanted to lead and then creating policies for all to follow, but he couldn’t.  The pastor said he did not want to submit himself to written policies.  He wanted to make decisions as they came.  Hence, why the ceiling above my friend’s head was too low.

“Policies not only help to set the vision, but they free those who serve under you.”

God has entrusted you with a vision

As Pastors and ministry leaders, God has entrusted you with a vision. But having the vision and living the vision is two different things. Having the right policies in place gives the vision clarity so others can read it and run with it. While the process of developing your polices does not sound that exciting, building a foundation upon which vision can be built does.

Source: StartChurch.com – 04/22/2014