The Center for Church Renewal is committed to helping churches live up to their full redemptive potential. To arrive at that goal, every member must contribute their own time, treasure and talents to the accomplishment of a shared mission. As someone pointed out, “the frontline produces the bottom line.” The challenge for churches, like most organizations, is that they struggle to engage the frontline. The Harris polling group surveyed several organizations and found that only 15% of those surveyed could identify their organization’s most important goals. Only 19% of those who knew the goals felt passionately about them. And only half (51%) understood how they could contribute to their organization’s top priorities. If every member fully understood their congregation’s goals, felt passionate about those goals and understood how they could contribute to the goals, the possibilities for Kingdom impact would be almost limitless.
Here are 7 practices that help churches live into their full redemptive potential:
Practice 1: Begin with a Clear, Shared and Compelling Vision
Someone said that a mist in the pulpit is a fog in the pew. What’s true of sermons is also true of vision. Churches must clearly articulate what they feel called to do. This vision must be compelling enough to get the church out of bed in the morning and it must emerge from the hearts and passions of members.
Practice 2: Put the Vision Out-front
The congregation’s vision must be on display so no one can miss it. The vision should be painted on walls, displayed on bulletin boards, attached to every communication, mentioned in every sermon, and connected to announcements. This demands, of course, that the vision must be concise and memorable.
Practice 3: Identify Personal Practices
Personal practices are actions expected of every member if they are to participate in the shared vision. Everyone needs to know the answer to “what would you have me do?” A good example is the e3 commitment developed by Providence CRC in Holland, MI. You can read the e3 commitments here.
Practice 4: Customize Contributions
Not every member will contribute to the vision in the same way. The uniqueness of every member’s gifts and callings must be recognized and then applied to the accomplishment of shared goals. Develop a list of multiple ways of engaging a range of gifts so members can contribute according to their spiritual wiring.
Practice 5: Provide Training
One of the greatest failures of most churches is that lofty challenges are presented without accompanying training. Challenging without equipping is ministry malpractice. Surrounding every vision should be a process of equipping so members can be successful in fulfilling the goal.
Practice 6: Do Mission Together
A great way to get members involved in mission is to do mission together. For example, a church could meet briefly on a Sunday morning then go in service groups into the community. Or together churches can assemble care packages for prisoners or the global needy. Small groups, too, can make missional investments together. Participation increases significantly when mission is done in community.
Practice 7: Tell Great Stories
Great success stories are the most compelling way to get every member involved. These stories tug at the heart and provide examples of inspiring ways to join in mission. Share these stories regularly and abundantly.