One of the reasons churches get stuck is that they’re unwilling to change. They don’t want to rock the boat. Leaders are afraid. People may leave. People may stop giving.
Over time, the culture becomes reticent to change. The status quo becomes the driving value.
When churches stop changing, people get comfortable. It’s impossible for Christ-followers to get comfortable and be sold-out to Jesus at the same time. Comfort is not the goal.
This is probably obvious, but let me offer this advice: If you want to be in a church that embraces change, you have to begin to make some changes.
It begins with establishing a clear vision, values and strategy. Once everyone is on board with the vision, you have to begin embracing new methods. You can’t avoid changes and expect different results.
With that, my team and a few friends brainstormed a list of relatively low-risk changes that churches might consider making. Start with one or two of these changes to help you get a step closer to seeing the vision fulfilled.
35 Low-Risk Changes that Churches Can Make
- Change service times.
- Empower a volunteer leader.
- Offer resources to help people engage Scripture outside of the Sunday service.
- Prioritize cross-cultural “missions” opportunities in the same region where your church is located.
- Challenge staff to invest 20% of their time in leadership development.
- Limit yourself to one, all-church announcement in every service.
- Develop a teaching team rather than relying on just one teacher.
- Add pictures or, better yet, video clips to your website to give people a taste of your teaching, worship and children’s ministry.
- Provide identical children’s ministry experiences at every weekend service so families aren’t limited in the services they can attend.
- Stop something.
- Create opportunities for students to serve and lead rather than just consuming experiences.
- Plan to spend less than you anticipate receiving from offerings.
- Create ways for people to share nuggets of teaching and worship content through social media.
- Launch a new weekend service.
- Start using online solutions (like Asana) to keep the team on the same page.
- Hire someone from the outside (staff or consultant) to bring fresh perspective and a new approach.
- Share individual stories of life change when you baptize someone in your services.
- Develop an annual ministry calendar and promotions plan to limit competing messages.
- Partner with another church to tackle a community initiative.
- Periodically invite other staff or volunteer leaders to your senior leadership team meetings.
- Make it easier for people to give online.
- Thank people for their giving by tying it back to vision and life change.
- Develop an evaluation process for weekend services and every other event or environment.
- Establish a hiring process that’s team-based and focused on matching the church’s DNA rather than just filling positions.
- Align the church’s strategy with the church’s vision.
- Align the church’s budget with the church’s strategy.
- Redesign your website to focus less on sharing information and more on helping people take next steps.
- Do something different in the weekend service so it isn’t so predictable.
- Set aside one day each week in the office when meetings are not allowed.
- Schedule coffee at least once a month with someone to help them take their next steps in their faith, ministry and leadership.
- Invite people to your volunteer teams so your platform and your guest services teams reflect the diversity of the people you are trying to reach.
- Cut back on printing and focus on social media and word-of-mouth.
- Update your physical environments (including that gaudy, stained carpet) to reflect current culture.
- Shorten your message, worship and services to leave people wanting more.
- Change something so people expect change.
Here’s the great thing about most of these changes — they’re reversible. Test drive the change. If it doesn’t work, you can always go back.
Don’t let people grow comfortable.
It’s time you got unstuck.