The exercise was simple. I made a list of over 30 of the most unified churches I know.
Some of them have been my clients in the past. I then made a list of over 40 fragmented churches (they were easier to find). From that point, I began to answer my own questions: What makes this church look like it’s unified? What makes this other church look like it’s fragmented?
I then compared my two columnar lists to find the greatest contrasts between the two groups.
When it was all said and done, seven characteristics stood out.
1. Longer-term pastorates.
The average tenure of a pastor in the unified churches was an amazing 8.2 years.
The pastoral tenure in the fragmented churches was 2.1 years.
2. Shorter and less frequent business meetings.
Slightly less than half of the unified churches had annual business meetings only. Only two had monthly business meetings. The remainder of the unified churches had quarterly business meetings.
All but four of the fragmented churches had monthly business meetings.
3. Balance of ministries.
Balance of ministries for members and outreach ministries for nonmembers and non-Christians. While I cannot say that the balance is 50-50, there were certainly more outreach ministries in the unified churches than in the fragmented churches.
The latter group of churches focused their ministries on their members.