At the beginning of the Coronavirus, churches faced a steep learning curve. In a few days they had to learn how to worship on line, how to stay connected with members, how to adjust budgets to reflect changing income, how to care for a community facing historically high unemployment and how to disciple persons they were meeting on line. Amazingly, faith communities figured it out. They did what needed to be done.
There is something else noticeable about churches during this pandemic. Some churches cleared the initial learning hurdle and then remained where they first landed while others cleared the hurdle and grew in their ministry skill-sets week after week. The contrast is evident to anyone willing to notice. Those who have gotten better are daily becoming more effective ambassadors of Christ in a rapidly changing world. Ministry leaders must be dedicated learners in this time of unprecedented change.
Here are 7 practices that will help churches keep getting better:
Practice 1: Embrace a “we haven’t arrived yet” attitude
The best church leaders are satisfied but not content. They are satisfied with where God has brought them but not content to remain. Ask yourself, “How can we improve by 10% this coming week?”
Practice 2: Examine what others are doing
Growing ministries keep an eye on what other ministries are doing. They learn by observation. Watch other churches on-line. Join a peer learning group or create one. Ask others what they are doing.
Practice 3: Find helpful resources
There are multiple resources helping churches navigate the changing cultural landscape along with the practices and technologies this landscape demands. The CRC Network and prochurchtools.com are two.
Practice 4: Seek honest feedback
Feedback is the breakfast of champions. Send out a congregational survey to ask how you are doing. As a leadership team, watch and evaluate your on-line services. This is a great time to find a ministry coach.
Practice 5: Ask for help
There are persons inside and outside your congregation who possess the skill sets you need to improve your ministry. Ask them for help. Let them guide you. They’ll be honored you asked.
Practice 6: Make investments that are necessary to improve
There is equipment, software and personnel you did not need for your old ministry practices but are essential to get better at what you do today. Find the resources you need and make the investment.
Practice 7: Believe that all things are possible
Have you ever watched an illusionist/magician and thought “that’s impossible?” It is impossible until you learn how it’s done. What you’ve seen and imagined in ministry is possible if you learn how it’s done.