Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Checklist For Plateauing Or Declining Growth


What an amazing time at the Foo Fighters concert on Tuesday night in Auckland's Vector Arena. As this was the last night of their tour they extended their already 2hr gig to 2hr 40mins! It was a slamming time.
The only thing was that we were planning on busing home and the concert finished after the 11:35pm bus. So we hung around waiting for the 1am bus... and at 1:15am we re-checked the fine print... you know where this is going don't you! Thankfully my brother and I are blessed with very gracious wives!

I thought that today I'd share some thoughts that Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church shared with us in April when we had a Q&A day with him.
Bill was talking about growth... numerical growth specifically and he said that churches should be experiencing a gradual increase (continually) [over time].
But we all know that most churches aren't experiencing this... so what are we to do?

First off:
Don't blame Heaven or spiritual powers, etc. Heaven is NOT causing the plateau... we are!

Secondly:
Gather 5 theories of why this plateau / decline is happening (see the checklist below). Then systematically remove these obstacles.

Thirdly:
Beware the temptation to jump to wrong conclusions and therefore apply the wrong solutions. We too often apply spiritual solutions to management problems and vise versa.

So Here is that check list- Is there a problem with your:
  • Vision
  • Leadership
  • Preaching
  • Relevancy / style
  • Facilities
  • Structure
  • Season (anything over a year is NOT a season)
It can be painful to have to confront these issues... but the pain of confrontation is no match for the pain of procrastination!
Besides that, the stakes are too high! We need to reach our communities with the Good News. May we never be satisfied knowing that there are 10 000's of 1 000's in our communities who still need to know of God's Grace!

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this subject!

2 comments:

Kev said...

Thought you'd appreciate this thought, "Every expression of greatness, takes hard work."

Kev said...

One reason we could also struggle with this is because, well, it's hard work. There is a great message you can listen to from a series Erwin McManus does called Vital signs and one week he takes the issue "Release Your Potential"

In anything you do, there is a cost you pay, even if its easy, there's a cost, the reality is that if you want to take it to the next level, if you want to see growth & breakthrough, it's gonna cost you big, not small. I gather that might have been what Jesus was hinting at when he said pick up your cross and follow me, note he didn't say pick up this stick, of just follow me, no, the very thing that he died on, this burden and weight that he bore, we need to be prepared to do the same.

And for most Christians, its not convienent or easy, so we tend to avoid it and wonder we aren't seeing the kinda stuff we are told about in Acts here today. Fastfood church.

I'm not saying I've got it right, man there is a constant internal struggle to settle for the mediocre. God is a very patient heavenly Father, I'd kick my own ass sometimes :)