5 Bold Moves Your Church Should Make Now
By Nancy Rankin
- Realize that Discipleship Begins at Home: We talk a lot about people being more intentional about sharing their faith but we assume all have a faith to share. Many good church going adults have had little Biblical and theological training and/or nurturing of their faith. One of the best Confirmation Classes I ever taught was the year our church only had two 12 year old boys ready for Confirmation. I asked an adult Sunday School Class if they would be willing to take the Confirmation Classes with the two boys as their Sunday School lessons. They agreed and to their surprise they loved it. Why? Because they all admitted none of them had ever had a Confirmation experience and no one had ever really helped them articulate their beliefs. So as we encourage churches to have intentional discipleship systems it makes sense to begin with the church members themselves. When we talk about our desires to reach new people with the good news of Jesus Christ we need passionate, mature Disciples of Christ to mentor those new people while continuing to grow more faithful themselves.
- Stop the Infighting: The game show, “Family Feud,” can be a lot of fun to watch but when families in churches won’t stop fighting it gets ugly. The feuding families can spend so much energy on whether their family members are in power and whether or not they believe the pastor is on their side that little or no ministry occurs. This creates a toxic atmosphere that will drive healthy people away. It is time to call a truce and refocus on the mission of the church. Consider bringing in a professional mediator and at the very least call all members to a better level of behavior as Christians.
- Fall in love with the people who live just outside of your church: When I do consultations with churches I often share with them their demographics of the three miles around their church. Most are surprised by how many people live in that three mile radius and they are even more surprised by how many are children. Yet, they often have few, if any, children in their congregation. Their own children are grown and gone. Find ways to be involved in the lives of children in your neighborhood and schools. Make a difference for the better for children and their families whether or not they ever attend your church. Expect the neighbors to bless you more than you will bless them. It’s Kingdom work and Christ’s love we are to be about; not just surviving as a congregation.
- Think Sunday Plus: Not only should we accept that different people like different styles of worship but we have to recognize that not everyone will choose, or even can choose, to worship on Sundays. In addition to so many sports activities happening on Sundays there is the reality of people who have to work on Sunday or who have children who are visiting with their non-custodial parent every other Sunday. Why don’t we make worship more accessible? We have churches who are seeing success with weeknight worship services that also provide a meal. Some offer these services as a ministry of their Missional Network of churches rotating musicians and preachers for the services and volunteers for the meals. Interestingly these services are being attended by people in the neighborhoods around their churches.
- Give Worrying to God and Simply Do the Next Right Thing: The Church belongs to God and should be the manifestation of Christ’s body and life on earth. We aren’t here to save the church; that is in God’s hands. We are here to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ. As Christ’s Great Commission guides us, we are to go and make disciples. We baptize and bring into our fellowship new believers. We are to teach them what Jesus taught us in the scriptures, and we are to serve the least and the lost. That is what matters. Regardless of what happens in the future let us be found faithful in every daily task and witness. And to God be the glory.