Tuesday, March 22, 2016

You will choose today what your church will be five years from now

I often like to tell churches that they are today what they decided five years ago, ten years ago, and even twenty years ago what they would be. I doubt that people thought the decisions they were making back then would continue to impact their church years into the future, but they often do. There are consequences to the choices we make, both positive and negative, that can have long-term effects on our churches.

We can't do anything about the decisions made in the past, but we can be cautious about the decisions we make today because those decisions will impact what our churches will be in the future. Our churches will be five years from now, ten years from now and even twenty years from now what we determine today they will be. That determination will come from the decisions we make today.

If we want our church to be a strong, healthy church in the future what are some choices we need to make now? There are many including

  • We must stand on the authority of the Scriptures. Too many churches have abandoned biblical authority and replaced it with man's philosophy. Some believe if we weaken biblical teaching we will be seen more favorable by the unchurched. Actually, studies have shown that is not true. Even if it was true, we still must not compromise the Word of God.
  • We need to call strong leaders as pastors and be willing to follow those leaders. Many smaller churches want to call chaplains to serve the needs of the congregation and make sure they are comfortable rather than calling a leader who can lead the church into serving its community.
  • We must understand that the Great Commission and Great Commandment make up the mission of the church. These make up the purpose of the church, and a congregation that is not seeking to fulfill both is a church in name only.
  • We must be vision-driven. That vision will differ for each church and will describe how your church will fulfill the mission today in your community. Every decision made by the church must be congruent with that vision.
  • We must call spiritual men and women to serve in lay leadership positions in the church. We cannot afford to ask people to serve in leadership based on their seniority in the church or their last name.
  • We must not allow controllers to continue to run our churches for the benefit of themselves and their families. These people are killing our churches and must be confronted. If they will not change, they need to be removed from all positions of leadership.
  • We must become serious about discipleship. We have long associated discipleship with education, but education is only part of it. Discipleship comes from combining education with experience. Churches need to find opportunities for their people to serve others.
What might a church look like five years from now if it focused on doing just these seven things? What might such a church look like in twenty years? Now, read each of these from a negative perspective. If a church decided to do just the opposite of what is written here what would it look like? See, the choices you make today will determine what your church will look like in the future. Choose wisely.

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