The story is well known in many churches across America. Churches that were once large and effective are in decline. Attendance is down. Money is down. People have circled the wagons for survival to stave off the congregation’s demise. The goal is survival: more people in the pews, more money in the bank account, and maybe young people who will step up and take over. Saving the congregation is the goal. The problem with this is that God calls us into missional communities not into institutions. People outside the institution and most inside the institution really won’t give of themselves to save the church. Congregational survival is not a compelling reason for people to go beyond themselves. If survival was compelling them, the declining churches would soon thrive again. If survival was compelling them, the remaining few leaders would not be tired and worn out trying to save the congregation.
People will connect with and give of themselves to something that is compelling, something that is bigger than they are. Even in our consumer driven culture of entitlement, people can go beyond self for a greater mission that is compelling. Every church has a unique Code–a unique DNA that God has brought together for a compelling purpose. Rediscovering that compelling missional reason for existence is the first step in turning a church from an ingrown fellowship to an outwardly focused mission. Rediscovering the compelling purpose for a congregation will be the key to connecting people to God in big and bold ways.
When a congregation knows their unique code, their compelling reason to exist, then three things happen:
1. A Compelling Purpose stimulates excitement for the present and future.
When was the last time the members of your congregation invited their friends and neighbors to church? Many people are not excited about their church, which means they don’t have a reason to invite others to worship or to a ministry event. But when the purpose of the church is clear and compelling, then the members are connected, and excited, and they naturally want to tell others. A Compelling Purpose increases evangelistic outreach.