The thought of making a difference stirs you to take action. The excitement of something unique and fresh drives you to step out in faith and plant a church. The first year of the church plant may not have been perfect, but the forward momentum keeps you focused and on track.
Years later, you find yourself stuck in a rut.
You find yourself stuck in a rut. Stuck in a funk or whatever you want to label it. The excitement has been replaced with problems. Maybe you have a building at this point and ministry seems more like property maintenance. There are thousands of possible scenarios. The question now is – “How do You get Unstuck?”
But it’s not just you personally. Your church – the ministry God told you to start is now stagnant. You and the church are stuck in a rut. Back to the question: How do you get unstuck? How do you and the church get out of this rut?
There is the spiritual side, and there is the practical side.
I’m going to assume you are good vertically – meaning you haven’t neglected prayer and reading the Word outside of your sermon prep. I also assume you take the time to listen to the Holy Spirit. With those assumptions in place (but not to be taken lightly), let’s look at some practical things to consider.
1) Stop comparing yourself to others!
Stop looking solely at the number of butts in seats and look at other metrics that indicate church health.
Elevation Church is the rarity and not the norm. Stop using them as the gauge for your success.
If you want a healthier outlook, consider this: You and the church you are comparing to your church are actually on the same team! #TeamJesus
Other metrics to consider:
- How many are serving at the local church level?
- How many people are involved in Small Groups?
- How many people are inviting friends?
- How many people share the Gospel with their friends, family, and Oikos?
2) Identify your dream team
I’m going to use some “Good to Great” book verbiage. When we first start planting, it’s about getting people on the bus. When a person is not passionate about an area of ministry, it shows, and it has ripple effects. We need the right people in the right seats on the bus if we want the church to be most effective in making disciples.
Find a church or ministry that is excelling in an area of ministry and send your team to get training. Don’t fear going beyond tribal (denominational or network) lines to receive the help you require.
To summarize this point:
- Identify who is the right fit to lead each area of ministry
- Get them the training they need to get to uplevel that ministry
3) God’s message is everlasting – methodologies change over time.
What worked ten years ago may not work today. I have rarely seen children get excited about the flannel graphs. A couple of decades ago it was cutting edge. Today… not so much.
The truth is there are some things we do at church in which there is no reasoning or thought behind it. The program or ministry hasn’t been effective for years. When asked why you are offering a particular program or why a specific ministry exists when only two people attend, the reply is, “Because we’ve always done it that way.” Sorry, that’s not an acceptable reason.
I challenge you to think more about effectiveness, not tradition, determining every ministry or program within the local church.
4) Make sure the mission and vision are clear
Clarity attracts and confusion repels. This is especially true for those who strongly desire to make a difference. Sometimes repetition is the key. Other times, less is more. Everything done within the local church should align with its mission and vision. If it doesn’t fit – don’t commit 🙂
5) An Outward focused culture changes everything
Many churches have drifted away from their original mission. That has happened to churches, ministries, and even Christian Universities. It doesn’t happen overnight but through a series of choices and compromises spread out over months and years.
How do get back on track? Answer: Return to your First Love. Return back to what you did at first. Hopefully one of the things you did at the beginning of the church plant was outreach. Reaching those who are far from Christ, building relationships, and sharing the good news of Jesus.
Think along the lines of servant evangelism and kindness outreach as a good starting point to bring the church into an outward-focused mindset. For more info on servant evangelism visit – Kindnessoutreach.com
In the next blog post, we will examine the spiritual side of this matter.