Much of the content of this article is taken from Dr. Dan Reiland’s free monthly e-newsletter ‘The Pastor’s Coach’ available at www.INJOY.com.
Sometimes the barriers keeping us from reaching more people aren’t how we do things, but how we think about life at our church. Consider the following:
• Conduct an informal check-up on the church’s self-esteem.
This is an important process to go through because many small churches genuinely want to grow but are unable due to their corporate poor self-esteem. This is not dissimilar to a person to wants to grow spiritually, mentally, professionally, etc., but their self image is so skewed that they can’t move forward. Until that person sees things more accurately, including their potential, they are unable to grow. A corporate self-esteem check-up is relatively easy to do. Write ten statements that reveal how they feel about the church and rate the questions on a scale of 1-10 each (1 = low and 10 = high) for a total of 100, or 100%. Some sample statements are:
1. You are proud (versus embarrassed) to bring new people to our church.
2. Our music and worship ministry is a blessing to those who experience it.
3. Our church has changed your life in a positive and noticeable way.
4. Our building is attractive and comfortable.
5. Our budget and resources allow us to make a difference in our community.
The answers will reveal much as well as get you started with some specific ideas to raise the self-esteem and morale of the congregation. Don’t try to fix everything. Go for one or two small noticeable wins first, and when accomplished let the congregation know publicly. Cheer them on to even greater change and watch the corporate esteem rise.
This series of questions will also help reveal the strengths of your church. When people say positive things about your worship or their Sunday school class, you may be finding an “engine” that can drive your church forward. At the same time, if comments are consistently critical of another area, you may have found a ministry effort that needs to slide to the back burner until you have the people you need to do it more effectively.
When people see the effort to put the church’s best foot forward, their confidence in leadership grows and their overall attitude toward the church escalates. Every church has weaknesses, but when people see that leaders also see those weaknesses and are taking steps to limit the negative impact, their comfort with the time it takes to fix things increases.