I like using the terms faithfulness and fruitfulness to describe the progress congregations are to make. It allows leaders to focus on disciple-making as the primary work rather than events designed to simply assemble crowds.
Recently, my mind returned to the well-known statement by leadership expert Peter Drucker:
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
As a church leader in the modern days of the West, temptations abound to read the insightful book, attend the impactful conference, or dream up the innovative plan that will leverage growth in a congregation. But before you initiate the next version of the old 2020 Long-Term Vision Strategy Looking Forward to Tomorrow Plan…allow me to offer up a suggestion. The culture of your church may need help. Whether it is growth, development or a complete overhaul, make sure that the people are ready in heart and motivation for the movement that a new strategy will bring. Here are eight attitude adjustments that may help your local church life.
1. Our neighbors are not problems to avoid or projects to fix but people to invite into friendships. One thing that will solve every woe of decline in the church is quite simple: Gospel-focused friendships with lost people.
2. All of the easy places of ministry are illusions. Sinful people and broken lives are involved. It requires perseverance. So be nice to difficult people, because after all, you are one.
3. Speak about the church in the first person. It is always “we” and never “you guys,” “y’all” or “the church.” If your conversations are filled with saying to church leaders, “You ought to be doing…” or “The church ought to…” then you’re giving in to the temptation of being a consumer rather than a co-laborer. The church is not here to serve you. You are the church here to serve Christ and His mission.
4. Recommit yourself to daily and deep study of God’s Word. Bible engagement is the top factor that affects your spiritual growth more than anything else. We know this intuitively, we have experienced it personally, and it has been proven statistically. Get busy studying the Word.
5. Passionately pray for the Holy Spirit to bring a great awakening. No great spiritual movement happens without God’s people crying out to Him in prayer. Pray in every environment of your life from personal devotions to Bible study groups to worship services.
6. Replace complaints about lost preferences with discussions about Jesus. Titles for Bible study groups, which announcements get made, temperature of the sanctuary, music style and program emphases all change over time. If your conversations are more about church preferences than Jesus, you do not have priorities that need rearranging. You have idols to tear down.
7. The fruitful growth of our church is directly related to the faithful work of our members. There is no program or innovative strategy that will grow the church effectively. Ministry and growth is a personal business done by people who are personally invested in people who need Jesus. When you see a void in ministry, don’t point at it. Serve in it.
8. Know your one. Have one local person that you are praying for their salvation and looking for opportunities to present the Gospel. This is the consuming passion in the life of a disciple.
This article originally appeared here.