Every year, I get a complete physical from my doctor. It’s a thorough checkup from head to toe. I usually have the same initial thoughts about this invasive, needle-sticking, blood-sucking, finger-poking experience. First, I’m too busy for this. I just don’t have time. Second, this is not going to be fun! Third, I don’t want to know what I might learn. But the end result is always the same. I’m glad I did it, and it always leads to continued or better health.
Your church is similar to this experience. No one really wants to do a thorough and honest evaluation, but you are wise to do so. It leads to better church health and robust performance.
One of the “secrets to success” is asking the right questions. Dr. Martin, my physician, always asks me a lot of questions. But it’s obvious that he’s not just randomly asking a laundry list of standard questions. The questions are strategic and come from years of experience and wisdom resulting from over 30 years of practicing medicine.
I strongly recommend that you gather several influential leaders in your church and ask the following questions. You’ll be glad you did. Keep in mind that, once you discover the answers, you need to act upon what you learn. It’s similar to Dr. Martin’s report. If he wants me to lose weight, or exercise more, or to take a certain medication, I need to act on that or the physical exam has no real value.
10 Good Questions to Ask:
1. In what ways is the unique culture of your church helping you make progress?
How would you describe your culture? Is your church culture helping or hurting as you pursue God’s purpose for your church? Dr. Sam Chand wrote a great book titled Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code. He states that more than vision, programs, money or staff, culture has the greatest impact on your church’s future. I agree! I highly recommend it to help you work through this question.
2. How would you describe the level of spiritual maturity in your church?
There are so many ways to approach this question, so let me offer our spiritually strategic approach at 12Stone® Church. We look for a few key indicators. First, are our people praying? Do they hear God’s voice and obey? Second, are the people serving in ministry? Third, are they giving financially? Of course you could list more things, but if these three are strong, most everything else will fall into place.
3. Are you developing new leaders, and how are you doing that?
Next to the favor of God, everything rises and falls on leadership! Do the leaders in your church demonstrate strong spiritual depth and a servant heart? What are you doing to find and develop new leaders? You will not realize your potential as a church without a serious dedication to this endeavor. I’m passionate about this topic and have written a book to help you develop leaders: Amplified Leadership.
4. How would you describe the strength of your volunteers?
Are your volunteers a powerful army or a struggling band of survivors? Much of that depends on how you select, train, encourage and empower your volunteers. Do you recruit to a vision or just to get a task done? All churches face the pressure of needing people to volunteer to serve, but how you build teams makes all the difference. How would you rate the overall esprit de corps of your volunteer ministries?