I just finished reading Boom! written by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg. The book addresses how to transform a business or other organization to lift it above the competition. Towards the end of the book they quote another book that discusses the problem we have living in a surplus society. "The 'surplus society' has a surplus of similar companies, employing similar people, with similar educational backgrounds, coming up with similar ideas, producing similar things, with similar prices and similar quality." They then ask the question, "What makes you unforgettable?"
Sometimes I will ask churches why anyone would want to attend their church. I'm not trying to be mean. I want to remind them that there are dozens of churches in every community that people can attend, so why should people choose their church?
If every church sings three songs, has a couple of prayers, takes up an offering, has a sermon, and sends everyone home inspired to eat lunch, what difference does it make which church a person attends? In the quote above change the word companies to churches and the statement still rings true. We have surplus churches, not because we have too many, but because the vast majority of them do nothing to make them different from dozens of others in the same community.
In one of the greatest leadership books I've ever read, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't, Jim Collins writes "We don't have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don't have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. The vast majority of companies never become great, precisely because the vast majority become quite good - and that is their main problem." In the margin next to that statement I wrote "The same is true of churches."
If your church is to make an impact it has to find ways to stand out from the rest. Get outside the ministry box and identify the needs of the people you are trying to serve and develop ministries that will actually meet their needs. Pursue excellence is all you do and refuse to settle for good enough. Stand for truth and practice grace. Determine that your church is going to be a world-changer. Open yourself up to the Spirit of God and invite Him to lead you in the vision God has for your church. Ignore those who say you can't, and follow the One who will make it possible.
We have an abundance of surplus churches. We need churches that will stand out and make a difference. Which church will you lead?