How do we get back to normal? It’s a common question these days. After all, most restrictions are lifted and with the nearly constant pivoting that’s taken place over the last year and a half, we are craving stability. Of course, some things will go back to “normal” but some will not. Now is the time when you have some say into how that plays out. Maybe the better question is how do I get my congregation from here to there?
From Here to There: The Starting Point
Navigation is the process of getting from here to there. It is good to take stock of where you, your staff, and your congregants are as a starting point. Unless you know where you are currently, navigation is impossible. Essentially, identifying the “You are here” dot on the map of change and transition is what we’ve been pointing you towards doing over the last couple of weeks. A couple of weeks ago, we talked about letting go. Last week, we looked at landmarks common to the Neutral Zone. Today, we start to look forward. After all, truly letting go requires something new to embrace.
From Here to There: The Arrival Point
Visionizing what’s next is a big Neutral Zone job. Brainstorming, clarifying vision, planning, and developing leadership are all part of visionizing. As you work through these, remember to step back now and again to get an objective look at your plans and assess how well they will further your mission.
I often summarize the mission of the church with the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. We are to love God with all that we are, love others as we love ourselves, and make disciples. But isn’t it amazing how we can get bogged down even in a simple mission? When that happens, I like to take a look at the bigger picture found in Revelation.Isn't it amazing how the church can get bogged down even in a simple mission? When that happens, I like to take a look at the bigger picture found in Revelation. Click To Tweet
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”
All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:
Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.
Is “back to business as usual” best?
This is the Kingdom Jesus came to proclaim, it is the culmination of the Great Commandments and the Great Commission. Our relationship with God and then with others is to result in the population of the worship service described in Revelation 7. It is looking forward to that end that we bend our attention to make more and better disciples. Disciples who look more like Christ, who produce the fruit of Spirit, and capture the heart of God as they live out their purpose here on earth and share the hope that they have with others.Our relationship with God and then with others is to result in the population of the Revelation 7 worship service. It is looking forward to that end that we bend our attention to make more and better disciples. Click To Tweet
While you want some sense of normality, you don’t want to go back to ruts that kept you from moving forward. If you are hoping to get your church from here to there, normal is a container not a catalyzer. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to assess your “normal’ according to the mission. Every ministry in the church should ask and answer these questions until everything they do is intentionally working toward more and better disciples.
- How does our current programming contribute to the mission?
- What connections are needed to accomplish the mission more effectively?
- In what ways can we make course corrections to more intentionally populate that heavenly worship service?
- How can we better meet people where they are at and help them take their next best step as they grow in Christ?
UPCOMING Fuller DMin: Leading for Healthy Growth
Are you ready to plan for healthy growth?
Especially during these challenging times, it’s important that we zero in on the essentials. The program focuses on missional discipleship, transformational leadership, and fruitful ministry. Together, these components create a simple ministry flow that results in healthy ministry growth, flourishing churches, and communities reached with the gospel. We’ve put together a cohort that helps you live into each of these areas in turn.
There are still a few spots open but it’s time to get serious- registration closes in October!
If you’d like more information on the cohort, you can find it here.
Change Management Resources- One of the key life competencies required of people today, in all kinds of different situations, is the ability to anticipate and respond effectively to change. By demonstrating effective change agent skills, we will be able to lead ourselves, individuals and groups in implementing actions that enable vision to be transformed into reality. This collection of resources can help you assess, build skills, and coach others to be more effective agents of change.
The Discipleship Difference– Follow a pastor as he transitions his congregation to a more effective disciplemaking culture. People do not grow in Christ linearly. So, why do we expect a linear discipleship program to work for everyone? Nonlinear does not have to be complicated. The Discipleship Difference outlines ways to meet people where they are at while walking through intentional and measurable discipleship.
Becoming Barnabas– Processing transition cannot be done by just one person. You need a team of encouragers to come alongside people and walk them through the process. Becoming Barnabas casts vision for such a team within the church. When you are ready to train up some Barnabas’s, check out the Barnabas Ministry Training Kit.