For most, their experience of the Church universal is the local church. The local church remains the most powerful vehicle through which to spread God’s love and grace. Despite what many numbers tell us, I still believe that some of the local church’s best days are still ahead of it, especially within mainline traditions. Today, I offer 5 resolutions for the local church to keep in 2019.
Do What You Do and Do It Well
The conversations happen in board and staff meetings of churches all over the country- “X church up the street is growing like crazy. We need to be like them in order to grow.” Most communities have the megachurch or two where seemingly everyone, especially under the age of 40, attends. While this is perception more than reality, there are fast-growing large churches in many places. However, your church is not going to grow or have a meaningful ministry by trying to be a cheap imitation of any other church. They do what they do well. If you don’t already know, discern what it is your church does well and do those things. It’s why people already there love your church and why those who are coming in the future will love your church.
Don’t Underestimate Your Church
This piggybacks on the above. I’ve talked with leaders of some of our denomination’s larger churches who have said, “we are just so small compared to X church up the street.” Don’t underestimate the ministry your church is doing today nor the ministry you are called to do in the future. I’m not sure if we’ve taught humility too well or what, but we are a little too good at limiting what God can do through our churches. Don’t underestimate, no matter your church’s size, what you are doing in people’s lives and in your community. I’ve had too many conversations with people who say, “this church has changed my life.”
Churches are always making noise about voids in leadership. Yet, we fail to consistently identify and train leaders in church leadership. When we do put new leaders in positions of leadership, we fail to accurately communicate responsibilities or offer much support. Equipped church leaders can also be equipped civic and corporate leaders as well. Lord knows we need more of those as well. Jesus equipped the disciples to carry out his ministry. Equipping people today is an important role of the local church.
Throw Open Your Doors
Seriously. Yes, I do mean be more inclusive but also don’t get caught up in a particular demographic finding your church. Design a church that truly welcomes all and then prepare to welcome whoever feels led to your mission and ministry. I’ve designed and started new ministries that I thought would appeal to a particular group of people and it ended up appealing to everyone except that particular group. Be ready for the Spirit to work
Church needs to be more fun! Seriously… our reason for gathering is to live out the Good News and if that’s not a reason for celebration, I don’t know what would be. There is a season for everything in life and in the life of the church. Celebration is one of those seasons. A spirit of joy is present when we celebrate the good we have done and the love and grace we have offered. It’s a perfect response to all that we receive from God.
I’ll say it again. The local church is the most powerful way to spread God’s love and grace. Blessings on your 2019!