Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Kingdom Mission: 4 Steps for Stronger Engagement

I’ve said many times before that if the 1950s were to make a comeback, a lot of churches that could go on without missing a beat. The good news is they found a ministry strategy that works. The bad news is the people they reach are now 70.

Many of these churches have succumbed to the tendency that when something works, people work it. This backfires because the more they “work it,” the more they get trapped in it. Before long, the ministry strategy is 60 years old and the church that once thrived in its innovative community outreach has now shriveled to a handful of people who have completely lost touch with the surrounding neighborhood due to their well-intentioned but often insular focus on strategies and programs within their own walls.

Those leading local church bodies today know there is more to pastoral care than simply caring for the local congregation’s needs. While that is certainly part of it, the church also has to have an effective connection with the community outside its walls. There should be a difference in the community because the church exists, and if it left for some reason, there should be a felt void. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case—we become more about church preservation than community transformation.

When we took on the comprehensive Transformational Church Initiative at LifeWay Research, we surveyed more than 7,000 churches and conducted hundreds of onsite interviews with pastors. We wanted to change the scorecard from strictly looking at numbers to one that really asks if churches and people are being changed. We found that churches known as “transformational” had a number of characteristics in common, including that they engaged their respective communities on mission.

We also found that the common thread was these churches were willing to invest deeper in their mission than other churches. They wanted to move the mission forward with priorities such as engaging the lost, winning the lost and maturing believers to repeat the process. What does that process look like? Four steps are clear. Keep reading

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