Does Your Church Have a Goal and a Means? Blog Feature

By: Kyle Rozendaal on January 29, 2015

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Does Your Church Have a Goal and a Means?

Church Design | Culture | Leadership | Managing Facilities

Let’s reflect on the game of football. Two teams compete to carry, throw, or kick an oblong ball (inflated or deflated) into their opponent’s zone at the end of the field or through the uprights behind that zone. Doing so results in points, and the team with the most points wins the game.

Conceptually, the game isn’t all that brilliant. But what makes it so exciting is how the teams play the game. Great football takes teamwork—11 individuals knowing their roles and working in unison to move the ball down the field, while developing an on-the-field strategy to stop the other team from doing the same.

In short, football has one goal (score the most points) and a means (throwing, running, and kicking the ball) to achieve that goal. Does your church have the same—a goal and a means?

The means are probably the easiest part to point out: Sunday worship services, children and teen ministries, Sunday school classes, men’s and women’s Bible studies, local community outreach missions, and overseas missions. And the end goal may seem obvious: God’s reign in heaven and on earth.

But what does that goal look like in real terms?

During the 2015 Sentralized Chicago conference, Michael Frost author of Incarnate: The Body of Christ in an Age of Disengagement, pointed out that churches do a great job at creating and offering the means to advance God’s kingdom. But it’s the goal that’s not so clear. Most Christians have a difficult time explaining exactly what God’s reign will look like.

Frost described God’s reign as a beautiful sunrise with low-hanging, bruise-colored clouds, rays of red, yellow, and orange sunlight bursting through over green and golden fields, while the sky slowly turns from dark indigo to a pale blue. But, when sitting in a room with a friend who’s covered in ages of grime, dirt, and dust, it can be much more difficult to demonstrate that sunrise.

You can try and explain its brilliance, but in reality that will never do the sunrise justice. Or, you can wipe away some of the grime and show them a glimpse of that sunrise, hoping they long for more.

Frost stated that, as Christians and forbearers of God’s reign on earth, we need to be talking about and demonstrating what God’s reign will be like.

Frost challenged everyone at the conference to never use an out-of-the box ministry because those ministries will never be as effective as custom-tailored ministries. Rather, like football teams, churches need to develop custom game plans to help meet the needs of the communities they serve. Those game plans can include anything from weekly community barbeques, redesigning the church building to better serve the community or redesigning the church entrance to be more handicap accessible.

“Unexplained actions do not, in and of themselves, constitute the mission of God’s people,” said Frost. “People need to hear about and see God’s reign for it to be effective.”

In other words, churches, like Super Bowl Champions, must have their goals and means aligned in order to be effective. How aligned are yours?