Getting Clear Perspective Is the First Step Towards Leading Change.
Last May, I released a book called The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health. It highlights the seven phases in the typical church life cycle and the characteristics a church embodies throughout its growth and decline. At the pinnacle of the life cycle churches experience sustained health: the place I believe God has designed the church to live.
These are a few of the characteristics of churches in the “Sustained Health” phase of the life cycle:
A Unified Team
It is impossible to experience sustained health with division in the church. In the healthiest churches, unity characterizes the heart and action of the staff, volunteers and congregation.
The Ministry Is Multiplying
Multisite, growing numbers, church plants, more small groups, new developed leaders… It can look different from church to church, but in sustained health, multiplication is evident.
They Embrace New
Change is inevitable. As the body of Christ grows and changes, so will the church. It is vital for leaders to allow for this change and to allow the Spirit to renew the church. Churches experiencing sustained health continue to allow change and renewal to occur, without becoming inwardly focused or holding onto old methods when they no longer work.
I outline a more complete picture of what it looks like for a church to operate in sustained health in the book, but that’s not what I’m writing about today. A few months ago, my team pulled some data from the Unstuck Church Assessment, a free resource that helps you identify where your church sits in its life cycle. The data was disheartening, though not necessarily surprising:
- At the time, more than 4,500 individuals had taken the assessment, and only 4% landed in sustained health.
- Of the more than 650 teams who had taken the assessment together (We recommend the team version. It helps eliminate bias.), only 1% landed in sustained health.
Not only were very few churches experiencing sustained health, but 80% of churches that took the team assessment landed on the right side of the life cycle. This means 80% of churches that took this assessment were experiencing decline.
The data isn’t encouraging, but my team and I focus on bringing hope. Getting clear perspective is the first step towards leading change. There is a path back towards sustained health. It’s an uphill path, but it’s worthwhile.
I’m praying for more and more churches to experience sustained health. Will you join me? Imagine the life change and community impact we would see if more churches were ministering in health.
I hope you’ll also take advantage of the Unstuck Church Assessment. It only takes 10-15 minutes to complete, and we are consistently hearing from church leaders that it helped them start a meaningful discussion with their leadership teams about where and why they were stuck and what next steps to take.