Everything has a life cycle; from birth to death. Humans only have one life cycle. A church, however, can have multiple life cycles. From birth to maturity, to decline, to death, a church must be able to intercept the life cycle at the peak (maturity) in order to gain new life and new momentum. Churches that start a new life cycle do the following things:
Vision is at the core of a new life cycle: A new and compelling vision must be at the core of a new life cycle for your church. A vision is the “what does it look like” piece. It paints a picture of a preferred future and helps us accomplish the mission. A vision must be actionable and hold the leadership accountable. It needs to be memorable and compelling. What is the “one thing” you want to see happen? That’s your vision.
Gathering people is what drives momentum: It’s not enough to put the vision statement on the wall, you need to gather people to rally around the vision. This is when you become a vision caster, expert communicator both in and out of the pulpit, and relationship builder. You connect people to people and together, you build. Hold prayer gatherings. Host people in your home. Cast the vision and ask them to join.
Ministries birth new life: Out of the vision and the relationships, come new ministries and new expressions of existing ministries. It’s a “new wine, new wineskins” type thing. You begin to reach people you’ve never reached before. You take existing ministries and shape them so they accomplish the mission and vision. You take away old ministries and birth new ministries. Change becomes a regular part of the new life cycle and the phrase “we never did it that way before” becomes a distant memory.
Structure sustains the growth: As the church grows, systems will need to develop to sustain the growth. We all want the “blessing” but how are we prepared to steward it? We need to think through things like governance, assimilation, discipleship, serving, human resources, scheduling, leadership development, facilities and more. It may not seem like a spiritual thing, but the concept of stewardship and us being diligent with the blessings He gives is a big part of scripture.
So …. vision, relationships, ministry, and structure. These are the 4 areas that drive every life cycle. In the beginning, vision will be in the driver’s seat with relationships in the passenger seat. Ministries and structure will take the back seat. As you move up the life cycle, these areas will all take turns driving. When structure begins to move into the driver’s seat, it’s time to start a new life cycle.
Is your church at the top of a life cycle? The Discovery Weekend process is designed to help jump-start the vision process and help you move into a new season.
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