One of the great challenges which causes many churches to have problems is a lack of understanding about current ministry realities. This is true of children’s ministries in particular, just as it is true for the entire church. Put simply, we who are in leadership are tempted to ignore early warning indicators. We assume things are fine, or we choose to gloss over developing discontent because to admit the existence of problems seems like a personal attack on those who have the most ownership over current reality. Or it might feel like we lack faith in God’s ability to grow and strengthen the church. Or it could simply feel too daunting to confront what a growing number of people, even leadership, suspect is happening at a deeper level.
Understanding current ministry reality is a necessity for leaders of congregations. Despite any misgivings we may have, there really is no option to taking an honest, multi-disciplinary appraisal of our situation so that we can place our fingers on the pulse of where we stand, plus gain a diagnostic appreciation of all the supporting dynamics which flesh out the ministry’s status.
Such a diagnostic should not be seriously considered only after it is apparent there are problems. Here me out on this, those of you who are in growing and apparently successful ministry situations. Your day for soul searching may be closer than you think. Consider the brand new automobile you may have purchased at some point in your life. Remember how you vowed to follow every manufacturer’s recommended maintenance guideline? Now, 60,000 miles later or so, did you do it? If so, I commend you! But if you are like me and you let some of those recommended diagnostics slip past their recommended deadlines…. Well, the point I am making is that we know we are supposed to do regular check-ups and maintenance on our vehicles even if they obviously are running well. Most of us do not have the prescience or expertise to know what is happening underneath the hood based on cursory observations. Is the church any different?
Whether our churches are growing, plateaued, or declining, we need to evaluate current realities. Leaders who are willing to be honest with themselves and their congregations take measures at appropriate times to appraise current realities so that their core teams can then work with them to focus on needed areas for growth and improvement.
There are tools and resource people available to help you do this. In the weeks ahead I will be assembling an arsenal of existing and original tools to help mid-size to smaller churches in this way. If you are interested in a consulting relationship in the days to come, don’t hesitate to email me directly to inquire. I am not opposed to helping leaders of larger churches, but I must point out that my entire experience is in smaller congregations. Typically, if you are in a church of 1,000 or more I probably would refer you to someone who has that kind of experience.