Continuing our series on The Great American Spiritual Awakening, it’s time for us all to get back to the blocking and tackling of ministry basics.
Innovation became a BIG church leadership buzzword over the last 30 years. Every thought leader, conference, and book was looking for the next new idea that would unlock a church’s potential.
In the post Covid church, we would all do well to remember that one of our most powerful priorities as leaders is to return us, our staff, and our church to our roots. It is time to get back to the basics.
Steve Jobs’ reinvention of Apple in the late 80s is case in point. Jobs prioritized the few products that Apple was best at, discarded the rest, and streamlined.
In-N-Out Burger sells $5.75 billion worth of burgers, fries, and shakes annually by following a military strategy. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” They worked to get a few menu items perfected, developed a kitchen that flowed efficiently, and recruited and trained great employees. The result of this honed approach is massive customer loyalty and financial growth.
John Wooden, legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, would start every season’s first practice teaching players how to put on their socks and lace up their shoes correctly. This was to show the importance of preparation to prevent blistering and missed practices. It was a back to basics methodology.
At Intentional Churches, we are calling church leaders back to the relational roots of the Great Commission.
Priority #4: Return to a “Back to Basics” Mindset
Here are a few back to basics principles to help you fuel your thinking on this topic.
Personal Not Institutional
Institutional thinking is usually a subconscious viewpoint with a slow, steady drift. It causes church leaders to think that it’s our ideas and brand that reach and grow people in Jesus.
The gospel is a people business. People and the Spirit reach and grow people. Many of the digital strategies adopted recently are evidence of this drift to institutional thinking. Static broadcasts of services and automation of church marketing strategies have minimized the human side of the gospel.
RAISE AWARENESS TIP: This is a great team conversation. Use a white board or flip chart sheet. Divide it into 2 columns. Then ask your team two questions. What are examples of our church strategy that are institutional thinking? What are examples of our church strategy that are personal and relational?
Opt In Instead of Attaining a Standard
In the name of being spiritually responsible, churches have used the tool of church membership to set a high standard of expectation around certain behaviors. Although often with a right heart, one unintended negative consequence of this high bar was to focus on outward actions and not internal transformation.
Opt in thinking is the way forward. This means painting a picture of what a transformational life in Jesus looks like for normal people. And then giving people a crisp and clear step toward Him. Here is a run at a worship service ending that I have found helpful:
You have heard it said that image, money, and experiences will lead to a happy life. Let me tell you a different way to think about this. Jesus will help lower your anxieties. He will make your relationships better. He will help you to shine light and bring hope to your network of relationships. What would have to be true to have a life more like this?
If this is a way of life you desire, that journey begins by following the teaching of this guy named Jesus. He said, “I have come so that YOU may have life and that YOU might have it more abundantly.”
If this is the journey you have been on, please stop by Guest Central as you exit to take a next step on this journey.
RAISE AWARENESS TIP: Ask your communications and programming team this question. What are some ways we could frame more of our host moments within our services to meet people where they are and give them clear access to a next step toward Jesus?
Send Out Instead of Bring In
For years, church growth strategies focused on trying to get those not following God on the church property. Once there, we would fill their calendars with a ministry buffet of obligations and options believing that this would develop them into missionaries in their relational networks.
In today’s church and culture, we must minimize on campus time for our people. We must prioritize on campus content and experiences to train and equip people. It must provide every day people with simple tools and thinking for every day work in the mission field of their lives. I plan to write more on these mindset shifts in coming blogs.
RAISE AWARENESS TIP: What would have to be true to redesign your 1st step class or event to be only 25% content, 50% table conversation, and 25% application of a new simple tool that creates an action step?
This Spiritual Awakening is real. A friend recently said to me, the two things required for a true revival are a hunger for Jesus in culture and the local Church changing its approach to meet the new movement of God. We see it everywhere in America. For it to become a full fledged revival, the local Church must adapt to a new generation with new strategies, tools, and mindsets. The hunger for Jesus portion of revival is showing up everywhere in culture right now! You can do this!
Stay tuned for part 5 of this series where we will be discussing the seismic generational shift in our culture.