This week sixteen of our churches, with their pastors and leaders, are participating in a TurnAround Boot Camp. That’s one third of our churches! The Pacific Conference is committed to help build healthy local churches and this is one example of how we are working together.
Here are four “musts” for church transformation that we are learning at our training time:
- We must begin with what we believe, not what we do. Too often we focus on doing something different rather than changing our thinking. It is not enough to change the music or some program. It is essential that we move away from seeing our church in terms of the past and our own preference to seeing our church the way God sees. We’ve been challenged to go to God’s Word and seek the leading of His Spirit to transform our hearts rather than follow a fad.
- We must clarify the vision. One of the exercises we did was to share our own church’s vision (you should try this at your next Council or leadership meeting—it’s very revealing!). Many of us were unsure of our vision and some simply said they didn’t have one. Without knowing where we are going, we can’t be effective. Vision determines what we need to focus on and how we are going to get there. It allows us to say “No” to most things (even good things!) so we can say “Yes” to the best things.
- We must align our resources. Leading a church is a lot like leading cats (we are all independent, unique and unpredictable). However, when ministries are aligned, we funnel our time, talent and treasure toward a common destination. Every program in the church must pass the “Is this fulfilling our mission and vision?” test. Too often we are doing what we have always done, but expecting different results.
- We must resolve conflict. Conflict is inevitable, even among God’s people. The mistake many of us make is that we view conflict as a problem. Many times conflict is an opportunity. Think of it like a “pain”, it shows us that something is wrong. The sad reality is that many of us don’t want to face conflict and would rather leave the church than work through it. Whatever the point of tension, the goal should be to honor one another and hopefully restore the relationship.
BEFORE YOU GO…
How is your church doing with these four areas? What would you add to the “musts” for church transformation?