Conflict, insufficient giving, lack of volunteers, flat attendance, lack of interest in missions, long-term members who leave, first-time visitors who don’t come back, a decreasing number of baptisms — at some point, we’ve all experienced these signs of a church that is, in the now famous words of Tony Morgan, ‘stuck’. These challenges are also the very reason that Church Community Builder was birthed over 15 years ago in a southern California church that was wrestling with more than one of these signs. Our goal was to develop church software which could help leaders overcome these challenges, but here’s what we discovered along the way: software alone can’t get you unstuck. What’s needed is an integrated balance of people working within clear processes which are supported by effective systems and tools. So where do you start as you seek to attack these challenges head on and wipe them out?
What we’ve learned is that most of the issues that plague today’s churches could be solved by implementing one intentional strategy: equipping the saints. There’s a reason Christ modeled this method of ministry for us in the Gospels — it works! Among many other benefits, it multiplies your ministry by empowering more people to share the load instead of resting everything on the backs of paid staff.
Finding the best way to equip people for ministry isn’t just a big church opportunity. It is an opportunity for everyone — the small church meeting in a school, the established church just becoming multi-site, and the newly planted church alike.
Two keys to getting unstuck by equipping the saints
- Start with implementing sustainable processes. Most of the issues that get churches stuck are minimized when church leaders focus on building sustainable processes around equipping the saints. When people are growing spiritually, they will give, attend, tell others, volunteer, and serve. And, consequently, the questions leaders ask will change. They will no longer wonder what they need to do to get people involved. Instead, they will begin to deal with the ‘problem’ of having fully funded, fully staffed ministries with an abundance of volunteer leaders who are looking for places to serve. Wouldn’t that be a great problem to have?
- Ensure your processes are moving people from believers to disciples. Paul said it is the role of church leaders “to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12–13). To avoid being a church that simply attracts people and tracks their contributions, you may need to adapt some of your current processes. Ephesians 4 clearly calls us to be an equipping church. The process of equipping and empowering people is what helps someone move from simply believing in Christ to being His disciple.
Are you ready to get unstuck?
There is so much more to explore on this topic than can be covered here. Based on the work Church Community Builder does with all kinds and types of churches across the country (and even around the world), we’ve put together some ideas to help you bring clarity to how to equip and empower people to engage in ministry. If you’re ready to dive deeper into how to create a ministry built in equipping the saints, download Ephesians 4 in Practice.
What are you doing to make sure your ministry processes are built around the idea of equipping the saints?