One of the words that I have thought about a lot in recent years is intentionality. Maybe it's because one wants to live life more intentionally as one gets older. Maybe it's because I hate to waste time. It might be because during my 14 years as a judicatory minister I saw very few churches doing anything with any sense of intentionality. Actually, it's probably because of all three of these reasons.
As I've often said, many churches open their doors each Sunday morning hoping something good will happen. Few do anything intentionally to make that happen. Many churches complain about their lack of growth, but few are taking intentional steps that will enable growth to occur.
The working title for my book Intentional Ministry in a Not-So-Mega Church: Becoming a Missional Community was Transforming the Small Church from Maintenance to Missional. The thesis for the book was that churches had to be intentional in their efforts to minister or effective ministry would never occur.
The church I am now serving as Transitional Minister recently completed a vision discernment process. We worked hard to identify God's vision for the future of this church, but the real work is just now beginning. A vision statement is only worthwhile if it actually guides the decisions and actions of the church. Too often, the vision statement is approved by the church, filed away in a folder, and never heard from again. I don't want that to happen in this church.
I've challenged each ministry team in the church to begin discussing what they need to do to make this vision a reality. I asked them to consider what they need to do differently, to set goals, and identify the steps they need to take to reach those goals that will allow them to live into this vision. I want every ministry in the church to be very intentional about what they are doing so the church can have the greatest possible impact on our community.
How intentional is your church when it comes to planning ministries? Do you identify what your community needs, or do you just try something you heard worked for another church somewhere else? Maybe your church is one that simply unlocks the door and expects God to bring in the masses. Exactly how well is that working for you? If it's not working as well as you would like (and I doubt it is) then what do you need to do differently? What intentional steps does your church need to take to have a more powerful impact on the people God has called you to reach? Intentional. It's a good word for ministry.