The first person I ever heard talk about culture was Erwin McManus, pastor of Mosiac Church in Southern California. Erwin describes culture as spontaneous and repeated patterns of behavior. Brian Zehr, Co-founder and Leadership Architect at Intentional Impact, teaches that there are three things that make up culture: values, narrative, and behavior.
Before a person ever steps foot in your brick and mortar church for the first time, they likely will have visited your church website to see what you’re all about. Are you communicating who you are and what they can expect in a way that’s clear and inviting so that they’ll want to learn more? Are your overall church communications helping you reach more people and engage your congregation? Or do your communications reveal some underlying problems that may need attention?
Discover the impact Millennials' values, allegiances, and assumptions will have on your church.
If you’ve got children and teens in your church, you likely have their mothers to thank for bringing them. In Households of Faith, a study produced in partnership with Lutheran Hour Ministries, data finds that mothers—more often than fathers, or any other category of frequent participants in households—are seen as the confidants, providers of support, and drivers of faith formation. They’re also the ones most likely to take the kids to church (79%) and teach kids about the Bible (66%), God’s forgiveness (66%), and religious traditions (72%).
Much has been written about the difficulty churches have in finding great staff members, particularly for leadership positions. Among other factors, the job market is strong and Baby Boomers are retiring at a pace faster than new talent is entering the workforce. While Aspen Group is not a church, we can certainly relate to the struggle to find great employees.
Healthy churches are led by leaders who are intentional about coaching up and leading others on their team. But how do pastors do this well? In Tom Verducci’s classic book, The Cubs Way, he chronicles the team’s owner Tom Ricketts’s acquisition of Theo Epstein to head all baseball operations, the subsequent construction of the team, and manager Joe Maddon’s leadership style, which he calls his “13 Core Principles Of Managing.”
Pastors who are focused on church planting and multiplying often focus on leadership and ministry as the key aspects of launching new churches. But one critical piece is almost always missing from the multiplication plan—a facility strategy.
In 2004, religious facility construction was an $8 billion a year industry in the U.S. That's a lot of church buildings. At the same time, other research was emerging that indicated that church attendance and growth had plateaued or was declining. We saw a massive stewardship issue—how could so many churches be renovating and building new facilities and yet not experiencing growth, either in attendance or in spiritual maturity?
What is context in your community? What surrounds your church? Are you in the inner city? Are you in an affluent suburb? Do you have major employers that have moved to town or have moved from town? Is there a big plant closing? What are your demographics? Are you in Jerusalem or Judea or Samaria, or are you the end of the earth? Your context is what surrounds you. It is your culture.
Talk to any church leader, and they’ll tell you it feels more challenging than ever to get people to come to church on a Sunday. Even in growing churches (like ours), the competition for peoples’ time, attention and devotion seems to get more intense every year. You’ve felt it too. So what’s up? And where is future church attendance heading?
Churches once held a place of influence at the center of our communities. In the past, many hospitals, colleges, and social services were launched out of a vision to obey Jesus’ admonition to give to the poor, clothe the naked, care for orphans, and visit the imprisoned. Churches were viewed as an anchor in our communities, and they literally were given a central place in the town square.