Pastor, do you need to turn around membership in a declining congregation? The greatest barriers and solutions may be as near as the thoughts you think.
Ed Stetzer in his book Comeback Churches described 324 churches that turned the tide of decline and entered a new era of growth. The pastors who led those churches back identified leadership as the #1 most important factor in the turn-around.
The ingredients they identified as a part of successful turnaround leadership included:
- An attitude of growth
- Intentionality and proactivity
- Shared ministry
- Activation of a shared vision
Once again, as I have often written here in The Leader’s Edge, we see that the leader’s mindset makes a powerful difference. Mindset sets the parameters of what is possible. Mindset infects those around us for good or ill.
Mindset includes the way we see the church, a picture of where it can go, what we believe about ourselves as leaders and the congregations.
In a church that feels stuck, a gravitational pull towards inertia and passivity can exist. It can be hard to believe for more. It can be tempting to settle in and accept the status quo. The need for change can seem so enormous that it appears almost unattainable.
The leader who wants to turn around a declining church must bring a mindset and attitude of growth in order to bolster and boost the congregation’s vitality and faith. The battle begins in the leader’s mind and then expresses itself in Intentional and proactive steps toward growth.
Shared ministry means that the pastor does not and should not do it all. Empowering others to develop their ministry gifts not only creates engagement and momentum but also buffers a pastor from the burnout that accompanies a “do it all” mentality.
Activation of a shared vision provides a road map to guide everyone towards goals. Churches need a collaborative vision that involves and unites others towards a clear definite path.
The Great Commission commands us to make disciples. A vision statement that specifies what our congregation is going to do for which populations and how we are going to do it provides clarity that fosters involvement.
Take encouragement, set your mind toward growth, envision big things, call the congregation to action and believe that with God all things are possible!