Very often, especially right after I post an article like 5 No-Brainer Characteristics of Churches that Actually Connect Beyond 100%, I’ll hear from readers that there church just doesn’t have it in them.
“We talk about connecting beyond 100% in small groups…but it’s just not us.”
Sometimes they’ll write, “As much as I’d like to be that kind of church, it’s just not in our DNA (or culture, or wiring, or you fill in the blank).”
Can I tell you what I tell them?
I believe it’s actually not true. I believe that just a like a person can change, so can a church. It won’t be easy. It won’t happen overnight. But it can happen.
My Personal Change Story
I lost 30 lbs over the last year. I had gained the weight over the two years we were in Chicago (great food, great friends, long winters). I decided it was time to get rid of the weight and made changes.
Here’s my plan: Eat healthier. Eat less. Walk more. Start running.
Can a Church Change?
I believe a church can change in the same way an individual can change. It won’t happen without a deep desire to change. It will need to be a shared desire. It will take a commitment to a process. A genuine resolve.
But with the right work a church can change.
My Canyon Ridge Change Story
I don’t have the space to tell you much of the story, but I can tell you this. I’ve almost been here four years. I agreed to come in part on the assurance that there was a commitment to have more adults in groups than attended the weekend worship service. There was also an acknowledgement that becoming that kind of church would require change; that continuing to do the same things would not produce different results.
In September of 2015 we took our fourth consecutive shot at a fall church-wide campaign. After each of the previous three attempts we thoroughly evaluated, collected learnings, and made new commitments. And after each of the previous three campaigns we acknowledged we were moving in the right direction but were not there yet.
The key learnings of the three previous campaigns were:
- The emphasis on the campaign was diluted by competing programs
- We didn’t start promoting early enough
- We stopped promoting too soon
- Our senior pastor didn’t seem fully engaged
- We weren’t fully leveraging the weekend service
We learned from each attempt. And we did move forward, but not enough to break through.
This year? We had dramatically different results by finally embracing the things that needed to be done.
We’re not there yet. We are on the way. We’re different than we were. And we still have a long way to go. But…we are changing. And you can too.
By the way, I work with a few churches every year who want to change. If you want to find out how it works, just email me for more information.
Image by B Gilmour