100 Years of Church Growth
One tool to clarify five eras of ministry
A sneak preview of a new tool that shows where the church has been and where it is going.
Effective leadership includes an acute awareness of context. What are people feeling? What are they thinking about? What is most important to them right now? How can I best serve them where they are today?
Most times, these questions don't need to be asked and answered every day ... because our context is usually fairly static. Every once in a while, though, things come along that disrupt people's lives in significant ways. An effective leader knows how to read the moment and lead with intention and strategy that will move your organization toward your mission.
It's obvious to every church leader that we're living in a critical moment. How are you responding? Are you still concerned with simply making it through each week? Or have you begun to rethink and reshape your strategy for the post-COVID reality?
You are in possibly the most critical moment of your ministry lifetime. How you lead in the next few weeks and months will either break down barriers and set the course for your next season of ministry effectiveness or it will leave you stuck in the mud, limiting your mission-focused momentum.
There are several reasons why this particular moment is so critical to your future mission-related effectiveness. The most important one, though, can be summed up in one word: disruption.
People's lives have been completely disrupted. They can't do the things they normally do. They're discovering and building new rhythms of living day-to-day. Not only that, but your normal organizational rhythms have also been significantly disrupted. You can't rely on "what you've always done." You've already been forced to innovate just to make it from week-to-week.
In moments of deep disruption, you can work from a blank slate and design a strategy for the future without needing to navigate the baggage of leaving the old ways behind. The old ways are gone anyway. People are expecting that things will be different. Why not maximize this moment by developing and implementing fresh strategies that will make more disciples?
We all knew that we were living in an increasingly online world. Many of us had begun to employ strategies for how to connect with people online as an entry point into our churches. But most of us had not moved toward using the online world as a place where discipleship can happen. Because of COVID-19, the future has come rushing into our present, challenging us and enabling us to deploy online discipleship strategies we never would have implemented pre-COVID.
We're never going back. The world is going to be different after post-COVID. Do you remember how the process of flying was never the same post-9/11? The same is going to be true of our culture post-COVID. Many experts are warning us that we will most likely continue with some sort of physical distancing for the next 18 months. We may never go back to shaking hands with people when we meet. We have been thrust forward into a future that might have been coming all along, but it's come upon us much faster than we thought.
I've been working on a book for the last 9 months that was already going to be called Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth. What's astounded me, though, is how quickly we've pivoted into a new era of church ministry because of COVID-19. I never anticipated exactly what we're seeing, but I was thinking about what the next 20 years of church could look like and developing tools to help church leaders navigate the waters of change.
The book is not set to release until November 2020, but I want to get the content and tools into church leaders' hands sooner than that ... along with a strategic and practical process to guide them (and their teams!) to steward this critical ministry planning moment well.
I've been working with Dave Rhodes (co-founder of Younique) and Cory Hartman to refine and articulate these new Future Church tools. To get them in your hands, along with the strategic process I described, we're launching Future Church Virtual Cohorts starting NEXT WEEK, May 12!
You can bring as many people from your team as you like ... and the cost is the same, just $1500 for a 13-week strategic process that will reshape your disciple-making ministry for YEARS to come.
As a part of the process, you'll receive a pre-release PDF copy of Future Church: Seven Laws of Real Church Growth. You'll get 90 minutes of content, coaching, and collaboration every week from me, Dave Rhodes, and Kelly Kannwischer (CEO of Younique). We're suggesting that you block off the 90 minutes for the content and coaching from our team AS WELL AS an additional 90 minutes each week to work through the tool with your team. That will ensure that you get the most out of this ministry investment.
It's difficult for me to articulate how important I believe this moment is for us as church leaders. I want to see every church TRULY multiplying disciples (not just adding attenders!) and I believe we have a once-in-our-lifetimes opportunity to reshape our strategies to meet that goal.
My prayer for you is that God will continue to lead you and give you special grace, strength, and insight during these days. God has not called us to small dreams, but God-sized dreams! I want us to pursue them together.