Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Questions the church must answer

If a church finds itself stuck in a rut it needs to begin asking some questions about how it got there and what it needs to do to get out of the rut. Asking questions is also a good thing to do when a church is going through a transition such as seeking a new pastor. Unfortunately, many churches never stop long enough to ask questions, or if they do, many of them ask the wrong questions. Here are five questions I often recommend churches ask.

  1. Why are we here? This has to do with the church's purpose or mission. The correct answer is actually rather simple. The mission of the church is to fulfill the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. The mission of the church is the same for every church regardless of size. However, if they are honest some churches would have to give some other answer. They would be hard pressed to prove that they take either one seriously.
  2. How will we accomplish our purpose? This goes to vision. While the mission of the church is the same for all churches, the vision will be different for each church. The vision will be how will this church fulfill its mission today in this community. A church without a unifying vision will be a church that is drifting along accomplishing very little. Be very careful about how you answer this question because your checkbook and your planning calendar will demonstrate what your church's vision really is.
  3. What will hinder us from achieving our purpose? This goes to leadership. Everything rises and falls on leadership. Virtually every church seeking a pastor that I have worked with have told me they want a pastor who will grow their church. When I have explained that if their church could grow by what it's been doing it would already be growing so I'm assuming they want a pastor who will change everything they are doing they usually back off that answer. Church controllers and traditions are often the main culprits that keep churches from achieving their purpose.
  4. Who are we here for? The church should be the one organization that exists for the life of its non-members. If the church just exists to take care of its members then it really doesn't matter what they do. Such churches don't really want a pastor anyway. They want a chaplain.
  5. Is what we are doing here today worth the life of the Son of God? I often rephrase this question and ask it this way, "Did Jesus really die for this?" You may want to ask this question at the start of every meeting and ask the congregation once a month.
These are not easy questions for many churches to answer, but they are critical if the church wants to fulfill its God-given purpose. Of course, a church doesn't have to wait until it is going through a transition. It wouldn't hurt for the leadership to ask these questions annually. Once they've answered these questions they could ask them of the congregation to see how aligned their answers are compared to the entire congregation.

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