An important reality for pastors and churches to embrace is that we are perfectly structured to get the results we’re already getting. If we’re not completely happy with our present revitalization outcomes, something has to change. At the beginning of this new year there are 5 personal resolutions renewal leaders can make that will help their congregations journey toward greater mission-focused vitality.
Here are the five resolutions church renewal leaders should make:
Resolution 1: Make Space
In The 4 Disciplines of Execution Chris McChesney highlights that every organization battles a corporate whirlwind. Daily operational demands suck all free time into the vortex. The same is true for pastors and churches. The reason so little revitalization progress is made is that there is so little time to imagine alternative futures. Resolve this year to make space to read a renewal book [see below], take a thoughtful walk in the woods, attend a revitalization conference or facilitate a vision retreat.
Resolution 2: Ask Good Questions
Listening is the first step in a renewal journey. Listening begins by asking good questions. Resolve to ask congregational members about their hopes for the congregation’s future. Ask neighbors about their hopes for a better community. Especially, ask the Holy Spirit what Christ hopes for your church.
Resolution 3: Model Best Practices
A key leadership principle is that leaders must be what they want their followers to become. There’s nothing more important than for renewal leaders to lead by example. If you want others to befriend someone on a journey to God then resolve that you will make such a friend. If you want others to share their faith, organize a block party or serve in a local non-profit then resolve that you will lead the way.
Resolution 4: Choose to Act
Most leaders have a renewal “to do” list that never gets done. Resolve this year to do at least one thing on your revitalization list that will move the ball down the field. This may include starting an Alpha Course, reworking a pastor’s class, launching a food pantry, inviting an ethnic minority congregation to share your facilities, or refreshing your facilities to put a “smile” on the building. These first actions will get the ball rolling on future actions.
Resolution 5: Believe God
A conference speaker once noted that Christian leaders can ask others to do many things on their behalf but there is one thing they cannot ask others to do for them; namely, believe God. Resolve this year to believe that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20). The hope of a leader fuels the hope of the people. Hope is the essential without which renewal cannot happen.
These five simple resolutions may be the spark that ignites renewal in your faith community.
Written by Keith Doornbos
Here are five renewal books to get you started:
CHURCH UNIQUE by Will Mancini
THE U-TURN CHURCH by Kevin Harney and Bob Bouwer
CANOEING THE MOUNTAINS by Todd Bolsinger
KINGDOM COME by Reggie McNeal
AUTOPSY OF A DECEASED CHURCH by Tom Rainer