How well are you moving your vision for ministry forward? At least once a year it’s time to take stock and arrive at a clear picture of the state of your church by asking questions like: How are you doing? Where are you going? What kind of progress are you making?
Without taking time to ask hard questions and create accountability, you will quickly find yourself—and your ministry—on the status quo path. Like the Doldrums found in Phantom Tollbooth, being lulled into the steady rhythm of the status quo will get you stuck going nowhere. The longer you stay the harder it is to get yourself—and your ministry—out. Some people will never leave.
State of the Church Address
Does your church have something like a State of the Church Address? Not all churches do. However, it’s important to answer these questions not only for yourself and your team, but also for the congregation and the community. Doing so is an important element of accountable leadership and doing so with integrity and transparency builds faith in your leadership.
Some churches have members-only events at times other than during the worship service, but those serve a different function. Those are for taking care of family business—and rightly so. But you also need something once in a while that is public and readily accessible to anyone—even first time visitors.
The state of the church matters to everyone so it is important to provide some transparency into the church, what it is trying to accomplish, and how it is trying to accomplish that. The State of the Church Address is a chance for everyone who considers themselves part of the church to hear what’s going on and be updated about where things have been. You will gain even more buy in and investment by following up with some Q&A and allowing people to voice any concerns or ideas that may support the mission of the church.
5 Elements to Include in your State of the Church Address
It’s important to connect to your roots every once in a while. We all need a reminder sometimes of who we are—and who we want to be—as a church. The Address is a good time to rehearse your mission and vision, your roots and your history… especially as they concern your values as a community.
Before you tackle the hard stuff, start with some celebrations and successes. What can you celebrate and affirm? What recent wins have you experienced? Even in churches fraught with problems, you can always find something to celebrate. Consider areas like loyalty, relationships, and commitment to the Word of God.
From there, address the challenges you face as a community. Every community has some, no matter how well you may be doing. Best to talk about them openly and honestly so you can set a clear path forward to address them.
Next lay out the key issues you want to address for healthy growth. These may be related to strengths and challenges, but they are most like goals. Don’t be too lofty here. Use the SMART goals format (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) to make sure that you are setting and communicating things that are actually achievable. For instance, “We want to see people experiencing spiritual growth in our small groups this year. To make that happen we are implementing A, B, and C.”
Limit the number of goals here. Any more than five and it can begin to feel overwhelming rather than providing focus.
Finally, end with the vision. Why are you doing this? To what end? What do you want to see happen? What will all of this effort yield? A good vision should inspire hope and energy.
Goal-setting Effectiveness Profile- Goal setting turns a broad intention into a tangible step or task that is likely to achieve the intent in some specific way. Research has shown that there are seven sub-categories that contribute to good goal setting skills. This profile shows you how well you perform in those categories. Then work through the Goal-setting Coaching Guide and Storyboard to grow in the areas where development is needed.
Leadership Multiplication Pathway- If recruiting leaders is on your agenda, its time to start developing them. As the first stop in the LMP series, this storyboard offers an overview of the Leadership Multiplication Pathway process and is a powerful tool to help identify your unique starting point.