“Well it’s official,” said my executive assistant this past week, “we are all restarts now.” She’s right, nearly every church is now a restart. A typical church restart is a congregation that closes for several months then reopens with a fresh ministry passion. That’s the story for most congregations today. After months of being sequestered, churches are now attempting to restart with fresh ministry zeal. A church would do well to harness this idea of being a restart to create greater intentionality as their fall ministry season launches.
Here are 7 practices of restart congregations:
Practice 1: Restarts make clear that they are restarting
Restarts want everyone to know that there is an intentional break from the past to embrace a new future. Tomorrow will not look like yesterday. Churches would do well to embrace this idea of being a restart so they can explore fresh ways of living as Christ’s loving presence in a rapidly changing world.
Practice 2: Restarts highlight the church’s mission
Restart congregations are forever discussing the reason for their existence. In every way possible they highlight their “why.” This is a particularly important time for congregations to rename a clear, shared and compelling vision that focuses on loving our neighbor and making more and better disciples.
Practice 3: Restarts focus on innovation
Restarts ask themselves three questions: First, what should we keep from the past? Second, what should we leave in the past? And, third, what must we now create to meet the opportunities of this new ministry day? Creativity and innovation are the heart of every restart.
Practice 4: Restarts assemble new teams
New ways of being church demands new teams and new leaders to dream and execute those fresh ministry passions. Restarts depend on new structures to enliven vision. Old ways of deciding often need to be dismantled. The structures of restarts are action oriented and encourage experimentation.
Practice 5: Restarts invite participation
Restarts consider every person a critical contributor to the work of the church. Everyone is expected to have skin in the game. Restarts are clear about what they expect from members in terms of personal spiritual formation and contributions of time, treasure and talent for the work of the Lord.
Practice 6: Restarts are focused on assimilation
Restarts are passionate about creating a community of believers that blends the old with the new. Former members (the remnant) are asked to co-share ministry with new folk who making their way into life of the church. In a COVID-19 world, that community should include new on-line participants.
Practice 7: Restarts create mission-focused measurements of success
Restarts don’t measure success by the typical three “b’s” of budgets, butts and buildings. They measure success by the “R.B.I.’s” of relationships, blessings and invitations. Choosing new ways of measuring success is important in a COVID-19 world where in-person Sunday morning worship is not guaranteed.