With churches across the country forced to close their doors to avoid the spread of COVID-19, many pastors and leadership teams have been scrambling to figure out new ways to assemble for worship and fellowship. A church in Kentucky held a worship service in an unused drive-in movie theater, and many others are trying to learn how to livestream for the first time.
What will it take for the church to regain its place in the center of our culture? I posed this question in a panel discussion with three visionary leaders: Tom Elenbaas, Harbor Churches; Mark Jobe, New Life Community Church; and Dave Ferguson, Community Christian Church. (You can see the full conversation here.)
When Brady Boyd was brought on as pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO, it was to replace the founding pastor in the wake of a public scandal. “The staff was hurt and wounded and wondering if the church’s best days were behind,” said Boyd in an address he gave at the 2019 Outreach Summit. One hundred days after Boyd started at New Life, a gunman opened fire on the church’s campus, killing two teenage girls before committing suicide in the children’s wing. “Everyone wrote off New Life with these two tragedies,” he said.
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.
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?
During Aspen Group’s 2018 Alignment Conference, Josh Gregoire, Church Relations Coordinator for Aspen, facilitated a panel discussion about structuring churches to help them regain impact in their communities. The panel included three influential church leaders: Dave Davis, Parkview Community Church; Matt DeMateo, New Life Centers of Chicagoland; Mike Martin, All Nations Worship Assembly. Here are four tips these leaders shared for increasing your church's impact in your community: