Once you’ve taken an honest assessment of your church’s missional culture and accepted what might be a very harsh reality, a truly exciting future awaits.
Although it can be hard to look at your church’s missional culture with a critical eye and face the facts head on, there’s a very good chance that doing so is key to jumpstarting important changes and shifts in your church’s mindset and ministry. But once you take this courageous step, you can begin the exciting work ahead.
THERE IS NO SILVER BULLET
You must keep in mind, though, that there is no magical, miraculous program to follow or pill to swallow that will suddenly change the culture of our churches. As Pastor Eugene Peterson says, change requires a “long walk in the same direction.” Cultures are built over time with consistent focused effort and energy. Small, intentional steps are what will lead to breakthroughs.
In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins likens the breakthrough process to what happens when you turn a giant metal flywheel with a large number of short pushes. Eventually, the wheel picks up momentum and will continue spinning on its own. Once it is, you can keep increasing the momentum with no more effort exerted than on the first push.
Pursuing the same focused goal over and over again creates “the flywheel” effect.
When it comes to implementing any new missional vision, you will have to start with many small actions—actions that may, at first, appear only to lead to very slow movement. But take heart! Over and over again, with every consistent push of the “flywheel,” momentum will build.
THE FIRST BIG PUSH—PAINTING A PICTURE OF RESURGENCE
Let your congregation know that the honest assessment of its missional temperature isn’t the end game. In actuality, it’s only the exciting beginning of being able to paint a vibrant, new picture of resurgence. It’s a blast casting a vision for what the future on God’s mission can look like!
But how do you begin to consistently hold it up for your people?
We can’t stress enough the importance of pulling out all the stops in order to get the message across that each person in your church—every believer—is a sent one—called and equipped to help others believe where they live, work and play! But since vision truly leaks—like water from a bucket that has a hole—the challenge and excitement of being part of a life-changing, world-impacting movement will have to be repeated time and time again.
One significant way to cast vision and paint a new picture is to take field trips to places where the missional culture looks more like you’d like it to look at your church. One larger church did this:
The lead pastor was so invested in this idea that he persuaded his church’s elders and deacons to commit $20,000 per year in order to send a group of what he called “influencers” from his church to a conference where they could truly catch the vision. For over six years his church sent 120 influencers to that same conference so the missional vision shared there would be caught by enough of his people to really impact change. Over time, as each new group went to the conference and experienced what their church and their own individual lives could be, they returned and implemented ideas. Eventually, the culture of their church shifted as individuals learned how they could become part of helping spiritual seekers encounter the gospel.
We are not saying that all churches have that kind of money at their disposal. But when it comes to painting new pictures, serious ongoing and consistent investment will be involved.
For example, we know of congregations that visit each other, intentionally exchange ideas, and partner together so that they can “spur one another on to love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24). There are churches that schedule in times of story-sharing and “God-sightings” when their community gathers so that the vision of a missional lifestyle is caught and inspired.
You can paint a picture of exciting resurgence. We are all sent on the mission of God as we live, work and play.
What can you do—where can you go—and how often will you repeat, repeat, repeat—so that your people will see and catch the amazing vision of what their church can begin to become, too?