When churches are small, they’re happy when anyone comes in the door. They plug people into positions of need even if “the fit” isn’t exactly right. They try to make everyone happy and keep them coming back. Because people come from so many different places with so many different ideas, the leader controls things by making most of the decisions. This works for a while, but eventually this limits growth. The leader can’t make every decision. The ministry grows stale and this level of control quenches it’s freedom. How can churches be free and focused?
1) The hard truths of church.
No church can do everything, and not everyone fits in every church. Leaders can neither do everything nor make every decision. Your church is the ideal church for someone, but it’s not the ideal church for everyone. Your job is to gather and equip the people God sends you without holding on to those who He may be calling somewhere else. Your job is not to make every decision. Your job is lead people who make decisions.
2) Free churches find the right people.
They find people who value what they value. They attract others whose vision parallels their vision and hold similar doctrinal and moral standards. They find individuals whose goals align with their goals. Make your church the perfect church for your ideal church member, and they’ll find it and keep coming back. Figure out who God has called your church to be, and be that church. Define your vision and values and express them clearly in everything you do. Set goals and celebrate successes along the way.
3) Free churches focus their ministry.
The larger an organization the smaller its focus. Clear vision, values, and goals bring freedom to your people. Evaluate your current programs, systems, and events against these, and end things that don’t fit. End them even if someone loves them. Use the data you’ve gathered in your ChMS to evaluate programs against the things that are important to your church.
4) Free churches give their people focus.
They allow ministry to be released from the few to the many. More people get involved because they know what their doing and why their doing it. Allow your pastor the freedom to transition from a pastoral mindset to that of a rancher. Release pastoral functions to the people and let the pastor lead. Allow smaller groups of people to work toward your goals by finding ways to live out the vision together. Have these groups use your ChMS to manage themselves.
Your church will be focused and free when it refines it’s values, vision, and goals and focuses it’s efforts on only things that support them. It will both draw and keep like minded people focused on the ministry that matters to them.