The following is a guest blog post by Shaun Marshall, Director of Congregational Vitality for the Evangelical Covenant Church. Shaun is one of our 50+ speakers at the Exponential Regionals this fall:
Why some churches die (and others thrive)
In my role as Director of Congregational Vitality for the Evangelical Covenant Church, I serve with an amazing team of leaders providing established Churches with resources that help them to develop and grow. Sadly, some Churches reach the conclusion that they can no longer sustain ministry, and make the difficult choice to close. In these cases, we follow an intentional process that allows these Churches to process their grief, celebrate their ministry, and leave a meaningful legacy.
I have often noticed several things in common with Churches that reach this point of death:
- The Church maintained an unhealthy, toxic culture that drove good people away;
- The Church lost its missional identity, and disengaged from its call to serve a Kingdom purpose;
- The members of the Church were not bearing fruit personally or for the gospel (no spiritual or numerical growth); and
- The leaders of the Church failed to raise and reproduce other leaders, and any good leaders have either burned out, died or left the Church.
In my role, I also serve what I consider to be some of our strongest Churches. These Churches are thriving ministries of every size and in every setting. They are reproducing Hero Makers in ways that allow them to respond powerfully to the call of God in their context. I notice four things in common with these STRONG, THRIVING CHURCHES:
- The Church is HEALTHY. To be clear, healthy DOES NOT mean perfect. There are challenges, issues and conflicts in strong Churches, but these matters are engaged in loving, mature and Christ-honoring ways. The people in these Churches have made a clear commitment to PURSUE CHRIST, and the presence of God is evident in their life together;
- The Church is MISSIONAL. To borrow a line from a colleague, these strong Churches understand that the local Church does not exist to be a CLUBHOUSE, but a LIGHTHOUSE. The members of this Church know that they are accountable to the mission of the Gospel, and leaders equip them to do the work of the ministry;
- The Church is FRUITFUL. When the Church is healthy and missional, it creates an environment where disciples GROW in Christ and bear the fruit of the spirit. As these disciples grow spiritually, their lives impact the lives of others, influencing the Church to grow numerically;
- The Church is MULTIPLYING. Strong Churches give intentional thought to how disciples will be made beyond their GEOGRAPHY and their GENERATION. There is a deliberate plan for developing leaders, and those leaders are equipped and released to serve God’s mission in the Church and beyond.
What can your team do more intentionally in each of these four areas to help your Church grow STRONGER FOR THE MISSION?
Special Invitation from Shaun
Shaun Marshall is one of over 50 speakers at the Exponential Regional conferences this fall. Join Shaun and others at the Chicago regional conference!
Hero Maker Conferences
Hero Maker is the theme for Exponential 2018. The theme focuses on the shift from being the hero to coming alongside others for them to become the heroes in our church’s unfolding story. At each conference, we will unpack the 5 essential practices for leaders to multiply leaders: multiplication thinking, permission giving, disciple multiplying, gift activating, and kingdom building.
|5 Main Sessions||10+ Speakers||FREE Equipping Labs|
Regional Conference Locations
- Washington, DC: September 10-11
- Southern California: October 2-4
- Bay Area: October 22-23
- Houston: October 24-25
- Chicago: November 6-7
- New York City: December 5-6
To learn more and to register for any of the 2018 Hero Maker conferences, click here.