Does your church or ministry have the “right” kind of relevance?
I wasn’t in church leadership when “relevant” became a buzzword. I assume it entered our church leader vocabulary with the invention of the “seeker sensitive” model. I grew up attending church, and I can confidently tell you that relevance and sensitivity were NOT the goals of my childhood church.
Most new models are reactions to current and perceived antiquated approaches. That’s what launched the “relevant church.”
Now, what was once the church buzzword has become what we want to avoid. But if we aren’t careful, we’ll swing out of balance and become irrelevant. Which may be even worse.
In this NEW POST, I offer a better way to see relevance and offer 4 strategies to reclaim the right kind of church relevance.
POINT OF THE POST…
This post is focused on how people outside your church see your church and, more importantly, what you can do about it.
Here’s a quick glimpse. Check out the entire post for some solutions:
I subscribe to several research organizations like Gallup and Barna. Last week, Gallup sent an email with their year-end highlights that felt much more like lowlights. The article was titled “Highs and Lows of 2022, U.S. Edition.”
It was a synopsis of the “most momentous shifts in public opinion in the U.S. this year.”
Here are a few “highlights:”
1. Belief in God in U.S. Dips to 81%, a New Low
2. Americans Less Optimistic About Next Generation’s Future
3. Media Confidence Ratings at Record Lows
4. Confidence in U.S. Institutions Down; Average at New Low
These data points should terrify and encourage you if you’re a pastor or ministry leader. The terror is easier to see. We’ll get to the encouragement in the post.
FYI: I’m working with many churches to resolve the cultural issues around reaching our community and growing our church body. I have a course I’m releasing soon, but I’m giving you access to the FIRST COURSE MODULE FOR FREE: https://gavinadams.com/product/free-module-remodeling-your-church-model/
If you want to maximize year-end giving, join my FREE 30-MINUTE WEBINAR on November 9 at 3:00 p.m. EST. Register today. Even if you can’t make it, sign up so you’ll receive the replay and other free resources.
On to today’s new post…
People are creatures of habit.
When I attend meetings, I like to sit in the same place. I remember walking into high school and college classrooms, taking a seat, and then sitting in that seat the entire semester. Every student sat in the same seat that we selected on day one.
This behavior extends well beyond church pews and classroom seats. Most everything in our life functions from patterns, rhythms, and habits. That’s a good thing. Our brain is wired for patterns, thus creating habits.
We can get back on track when a habit is interrupted, but a new pattern forms if the routine is interrupted long enough. New behaviors take over.
Perhaps this is why people aren’t coming back to church.
Before the pandemic, many church attendees, even those who were consistent and engaged, followed a pattern and rhythm more than the mission and vision.
How are you responding to the challenge?
Does your current ministry model seem clear? Strategic? Intentional?
A clear, strategic, and intentional approach to ministry isn’t unholy. The opposite, in fact. Contributing to the Great Commission doesn’t happen by accident. The more intentional we are in ministry, the better we position our church and ministry for God to work through it.
Here’s a question you must answer:
If an outsider saw your ministry model, would it appear intentionally designed to move people along a discipleship journey?
Outside perspectives are invaluable. Outsiders have fresh eyes. They aren’t seeing your ministry model as a creator or through dozens of incremental additions. They see it for what it is, not what you perceive it to be.
To better see your ministry strategy accurately, you have two options:
1. Bring in an outside perspective.
2. Think like an outsider.
In this NEW POST, I outline the 6 steps you can take to evaluate your church model like an outsider.
Of course, you can always invite me in to help.
I’ve had the opportunity to lead a few groups through a cohort learning experience: The Comprehensible Church Model. We need a new model for our churches. The trends that appeared in 2016, 17, 18, and 19 accelerated dramatically in 2020. How we did church is no longer the way to best do church. We have […]
Why are NEW hybrid church efforts not reversing the trends of church decline?
Perhaps because we’ve digitized an outdated model.
The last two years hyper-focused church leaders on becoming hybrid. And while the move to hybrid is long overdue, digitizing and “hybridizing” a ministry model that was no longer working isn’t the secret to success.
I’m watching church after church after church move to be more “hybrid” while seeing their influence, attendance, and engagement continue to decline.
This can be fixed. Your church can grow again, reach those far from God and help followers grow in their faith. What you need is a comprehensive approach.
That’s why I created the Comprehensive Church Model. I’m leading churches and pastors through the model every month through cohorts. I’d love for you to join my next group.
This NEW POST is all about our current problems implementing a better hybrid church model.
If you want to learn more about the cohort, here are some details:
Here’s what you can expect from our six-session cohort:
– A small group learning experience personally facilitated by me
– A one-on-one meeting with me to discuss your specific questions and challenges.
– Planning tools and resources to make your new model teachable and executable in your church.
– A new, hybrid, and modern ministry model that you can easily implement in your church.
This Cohort will give you:
– Meaningful ideas for connecting to your community and congregation during their 70 hours of weekly discretionary time.
– New thinking about your in-person gatherings.
– Clarity on new metrics and how discipleship pathways look in today’s world.
– An understanding of the best practices for implementing our new model.
Space is limited to 10 participants.
You may bring one additional staff member to participate in each session at no additional charge. Perhaps a programming staff or digital team member.
If you’re a pastor or church leader, I completely believe this is worth reading.
I’ve been watching our church attendance and engagement throughout the pandemic, paying special attention to the trends after we opened our building for in-person services in February.
And I’m terrified by one trend. It’s an alarm bell that we must address right now.
Some people are coming back. Some will come back in time. But there is a group, and it may be a significant group, who aren’t coming back — not to your church or any church. They are the churched people who are about to be fully de-churched.
Why? Possibly because they spend the better part of the last year not engaged with church and their life isn’t any worse.
THIS SHOULD BE A WAKE-UP CALL FOR US ALL.
Life inside the local church should be distinctly better than outside. I’m afraid that hasn’t been the case for too many.
In this NEW ARTICLE, I dig deeper into who these people are and what we need to do in our church to help ensure it never happens again.