3. Accountability eclipsed by entertainment
4. Technology drives expenditures
5. Disenfranchised continue to be marginalized/ignored
6. Reconciliation takes more effort
7. Spiritual transformation is downplayed
Recently I had the opportunity to pull together speakers for the annual conference of the Great Commission Research Network. These were speakers who had experience leading online churches. You can find more information from the conference at these links:
In addition one of my students from Kingswood University in Canada has started a church with her husband that includes an online service. Find more info about their multiplication strategy here: SOCIAL MEDIA & How a Toronto church plant uses gaming site Twitch to create online bible studies & community
Finally, here is a good video from CNN that gives a introduction to online churches.//fave.api.cnn.io/v1/fav/?video=us/2018/11/13/going-to-church-in-virtual-reality-beme.beme&customer=cnn&edition=domestic&env=prod
You can also view the CNN video here: https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2018/11/13/going-to-church-in-virtual-reality-beme.beme
by Robert Glazer, Inc. Magazine, 11/5/18.
… vision and values (V2) combined with methods, obstacles, and measures (MOM). It’s shorthand for some fundamental business processes:
- helping non-churchgoers,
- emphasizing conversion
- and organizing disciple-making.
Many mission statements focus on one aspect of the Good News, rather than all three.
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But the needs of those who are outside of the congregation pale in comparison with those with the church. One writer starkly reminded us that, “when a person dies without hearing that ‘God so loved the words that he sent his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, RSV), it is too late. The best thing that could possibly happen to that person has been denied.”
To help visualize this three-fold heart for congregational needs, local need and global needs, the church can be pictured as a three-chambered heart in Figure 7.4.
Figure 7.4 Picturing the Conglocal Heart of a Congregation
In Figure 7.4 congregational needs create a foundation, depicted in the lower section of the heart. Such placement is not to suggest primacy, but only to remind us that a foundation of health can better help a congregation minister to others locally and globally.
Conglocal Balance In Your Financial Expenditures
A key element of balanced conglocal ministry is balancing your fiscal expenditures in each category. In one client church the pastor stood up and boldly proclaimed that the church was now giving 20% of its income to local (10%) and global (10%) ministry. While this is a step in the right direction, the church’s lavish marble atrium reminded visitors that 80% of this congregation’s income was still spent upon itself.
If churches are to foster authentic reconciliation between haves and have-nots as well as across physical chiasms, then churches must start balancing their spending. The conglocal model provides a visual cue to churches of a church’s three-fold fiscal obligations. In a church with a growing conglocal heart you will find an increasing balance in expenditures toward meeting the needs of not just congregants, but also the local and global communities.
Conglocal Balance In Your Church Life
More than balancing need-meeting in financial expenditures, it is important to balance your fellowship congregationally, locally and globally. Most churches spend a great deal of their time getting to know the needs of those within the congregation. Though there is nothing wrong with this, it can often be out of balance. A congregation must also regularly share life and interaction with those who don’t attend their church as well as those who don’t live nearby.
Research shows that face-to-face encounters help people from different cultures and socio-economic levels accept and support one another. Such face-to-face encounters with local and global people who don’t attend your church is an important tactic to maintain a conglocal balance. Still, some readers may say that they work 40+ hours a week with non-churchgoers and shouldn’t this be sufficient? But regrettably, in most of those workplace interactions there is very little sharing of spiritual values. Plus, in many workplaces discussing spiritual beliefs is discouraged. Thus, the conglocal church intentionally creates opportunities for local and global non-churchgoers to graciously discuss their faith journeys.
For example, one church cancelled its Sunday morning service, telling its congregants to go into the community to “find a need and fill it.” The pastor’s intention was to get the congregants out into the community seeking the understand and meet the needs of non-churchgoers. That Sunday hundreds of congregants spread out across the city to meet needs in Jesus’ name.
While sharing this story at a seminar, I noticed the assembled Wesleyan pastors looked uncomfortable. The General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church, Dr. Jo Anne Lyon was actually seated behind me as I spoke (which if you didn’t know Dr. Lyon, could be a disquieting prospect). At the end my seminar she took the podium and addressed my puzzlement over the reaction of the pastors. “I know why some of you were uncomfortable with the idea of canceling church and going out to serve the community,” Dr. Lyon began. “I know it is because if you did, you couldn’t count those people in your monthly attendance totals. Now, I don’t know if I have authority to do this. But, I’m going to go ahead and say that if you send your people out to serve non-churchgoers on a Sunday, then you can count every person they touch has having been in Jesus’ presence that day.” Kindhearted smiles swept across the seminar participants, as they recognized that this general superintendent would not let customs stand in the way of reaching out to those in need.
by Helen Gibson, LifeWay, 7/27/18
(According to) the 2015 National Survey of Congregations …, released in 2016, the most recent year such data is available, shows around 1 in 4 Americans, or 24.9 percent, said they volunteered at least once over the course of the year.
Women tend to volunteer more than men, at a rate of 27.8 percent to 21.8 percent…
Americans 35 to 44 years old and those 45 to 54 years old were most likely to volunteer, at rates of 28.9 and 28 percent, respectively. On the other hand, people 20 to 24 years old were least likely to volunteer, at a rate of 18.4 percent.
Those with higher education levels are also more likely to volunteer. Among respondents 25 years old or older, 38.8 percent of those with a bachelor’s degree or higher said they volunteered, while 26.5 percent of those with some college or an associate degree, 15.6 percent of those with a high school diploma only, and 8.1 percent of those without a high school diploma said the same.
Whether or not someone is married with children may also affect the likelihood that they volunteer. Around 1 in 3 married people (29.9 percent) said they volunteer, while about 1 in 5 of those who’ve never married (19.9 percent), and 1 in 5 of those with other marital statuses (20.2 percent) said the same. Parents with children under the age of 18 were also more likely to volunteer (31.3 percent) than people without kids (22.6 percent).
(Make it easy to volunteer) Around 4 in 10 volunteers said they got involved with a particular organization by approaching that organization themselves, so make it easy for your church’s members to figure out how they can get connected to certain ministries.
(Current volunteers should be encouraged to recruit more volunteers) Another 4 in 10 volunteers said they started volunteering after being asked by someone else — and most often, that was someone who was already involved in that organization. Encourage those who are currently serving in a particular ministry area not only to keep serving, but to invite others to join with them….
(Serving = discipleship) Daniel Im, LifeWay’s director of church multiplication, described it as a way to grow spiritually on a recent volunteer recruitment episode of the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast.
“When you serve, that’s actually how you become more like Christ — because that’s what Jesus came to do,” Im said. “So why don’t you do what Jesus did, and why don’t you grow and become more like Him?’”
Review of Church Unique (Will Mancini) by Jim H. 2018 Missional Coach candidate, 4/2/18.
Over the last month, I not only read this book, I studied it. My Life Coach recommended the book last summer and when I had the chance to read it for “credit” I took it. Since I’m moving closer to working with churches in need of revitalizing I’ve been looking for philosophical positions and practices on the best way to reverse churches. Although this book is not really a philosophical book, it does begin with the idea that every church has a unique role or character that makes it different from every other congregation.
The book has four sections of which I will identify bullet points that made an impression. The sections are:
- Recasting Vision
- Clarifying Vision
- Articulating Vision
- Advancing Vision
Recasting Vision: The idea behind this section is to redeem the visioning process for churches. We made it too much into a “canned” process. Leadership can restrict vision which is the lifeline to any church.
- Every church is a unique, but they’re not valuing their uniqueness. Discovering their uniqueness can be hard work and humbling. They may have to be realistic of their uniqueness, but they need to be comfortable in their own skin.
- Church culture is defined by a list of qualities from its people. The uniqueness of a church is equal to its culture. This is not defined by a church service as much as the interacting thoughts, actions, attitudes and beliefs. The sociological impact of a church is greatly underestimated.
- Strategic Planning can kill a church! Things I learned:
- Too much information can kill vision!
- Silos in the church are killing the team atmosphere. Finding ways to break down the competitive nature within ministries and people is critical.
- Leadership blinders greatly hampers a churches capacity! My big take away on this is focusing on preparation and not planning. Also, leaders and churches can be arthritic or adaptive.
- Space often times defines a church and its vision which should be combated. Four walls don’t define us, so learning to resource those four walls to serve vision is important.
Clarifying Vision: Once we discover that unique vision, how do we communicate it and keep people attune to it.
It will take too long to go through all these clarifying characteristics, but it does seem to match other discovery techniques.
- Clarifying vision is about looking to the past as much as the future.
- Clarifying vision requires careful consideration of strengths and limitations.
- Clarifying vision is as much about identity as it is methodology.
- Clarifying vision is always about what God is already doing.
- Clarity makes leadership credible
- Vision Frame: The way Will Mancini broke this portion of the book down was helpful. I will be studying this further to possibly integrate it into my own processes. It does help to “frame” vision since it can be all encompassing.
- Mountain Top + Milestones: this was also a helpful concept to process. It is understandable that people need to see the big picture, but to create successes along the way to keep people motivated and moral up.
Advancing Vision: Once the vision has been clarified and articulated, the messiest part is advancing it. Life happens and people get distracted.
- My job as a leader is to constantly align, attune, and integrate the vision into the minds and hearts, actions and passions, and roles and organization charts of the Church Unique.
- This is the part that scares me the most. My strengths lie in the previous parts and not as much in this area. I know I need to develop these skills. God may put me in this role again to do just that.
by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 4/13/18.
Yearly a handful of missional coach candidates shadow me on my consultations (more info here if you are interested in being considered for next year’s cohort).
Recently, the missional coach candidates and I were discussing the use, misuse and impact of mission and vision statements. First, I will share my personal conclusions from having worked with hundreds of churches on their mission and vision statements. Then (below my comments) you will find the discussion that inaugurated these conclusions.
If you have read my books, you probably know I am not a fan of Vision Statements (though I discuss them and the differences with Mission Statements in most of my books).
- Vision Statements help visualize a preferred future,
- create metrics for goal attainment,
But, I have seen them generate little use in these areas, despite pleas and pushing from the leaders.
They often consume too much time, because I suspect, Christians like philosophizing and theologizing more than practicing something.
So, I have come to conclude that John Kotter has the answers. He states that visions (created by a collation) are temporary and elastic things. In other words, they are tied to a project.
- Now, I’m not saying that vision statements aren’t needed.
- They are, but they should be more flexible, temporal and more quickly created.
- Have a Mission Statement that defines your theology, history and polity.
- Create multiple Vision Statements as time and projects dictate.
(Below is the conversation among my 2018 Missional Coaches candidates on this issue):
On Apr 13, 2018, at 11:10 AM, Tim W. wrote:
I did my graduate degree in business in the days when the competitive edge of Corporation, Inc. rested in these kinds of organizational tools. The church world then adopted the language and approach. My bias is still towards using these. I see them as critical pieces in organizational design BUT I also do not want to spend copious amounts of time/energy/money generating these statements. More to the point, if a congregation does have them, then they need to embed them deeply into the heart of the church. AND, if they are not authentic and missionally-driven statements, then it’s pointless anyway. :))
On Apr 13, 2018, at 9:01 AM, Mark C. wrote:I would agree on many of your points. The fact that what the local church does is actually their vision is truer that what we or they want to believe.In most cases the Great Commission Vision has been neglected in place of a Great Coffee Dream.Here to surVMarkOn Wednesday, April 11, 2018 9:19 AM, Tim W wrote:
Hi all … I want to chime in on some of the mission/vision statement comments in this string from my experience as a denominational exec.I agree that churches can spend too much time on massaging vision and mission statement(if they even understand the difference/function of these two tools), but I also thinkmany churches spend too LITTLE time on them as well. There must be a balance. When properly formed and used, these statements provide a great deal of agenda harmony, synergy in the organizational system, clarity of priority in budgeting, effectiveness in staffing right, and a host of other things. Most importantly, it removes the fuzziness in the minds of the congregation as to congregational direction. In fact, when done well, the very process of drafting a statement together reveals gaps, relational deficiencies (both personal and organizational), and then creates energy, excitement, optimism, and makes strategic planning more robust. Of course, these statements in themselves can’t do anything for the church; it’s all in the way they are employed into the organizational system.The truth be told, though, most churches already operate from vision, but it’s usually informal, imprecise, and carried by a few power brokers in the church. A couple of great questions to ask when conducting a first consult with the congregation is this: if your church was at its very best, what would this look like? where would she spend her time and resources? These questions do not directly address the vision question because if you ask “what is your vision?” most people will either recite what they read on the bulletin cover or will look dumbfounded. When asked outcome oriented questions, however, a picture emerges and this picture is the imperfectly constructed vision.Ultimately, the vision statement is a tool to help organize for mission—no more and no less. It’s power is in its simplicity to direct and excite and it’s contribution to the real-world ministry of the church.Just my thoughts…Tim