Churchleaders.com gave some stats that say that churches more than 40 years old are shrinking. Church plants are exciting. People are involved, ministry is growing, and every week seems like a huge victory or an invigorating challenge. The people who get involved in church plants are risk takers who like to work. Church plants reach people. The church is new and people are genuinely glad to see them. The whole church is focused on reaching a city or a particular demographic and every fiber of its structure is focused on reaching people and integrating into the core group.
Here are 5 tips for Keeping an Old Church New
Focus on Relationship Issues Problems happen when people spend time together. We tick each other off, and we let each other down. Rumors spread and gossip poisons hearts. Jesus has an answer, “Forgive daily.” He taught that brothers who have trouble with each other or even think their is trouble should go get it right. We don’t stress this enough in most churches, and we don’t practice it. Paul had some words for gossips, “Stop.”
Engage Culture Culture forms when people spend time together. Existing churches create their own cultures and can fail to engage the culture that surrounds them. This is why you can have an affluent group meeting in a building surrounded by poverty. They are culturally conditioned to show up at this particular building on particular days to do a particular things. Things which are irrelevant to the souls surrounding them. Jesus has an answer, “Go to every tribe, tongue, and nation.”
Keep an Outward Vision Ministry maintenance takes effort. Buildings need repair. Day to day ministry takes time, and people look to it to meet their needs. Coming to church can get in the way of going to the world. We can all get in the routine of focusing on Monday mornings and Sunday’s deadlines. Focus on where you’re going not just what you’re doing. Jesus has an answer, “Go.” We need to heed the Master’s call to go into all the world.
Plan for Fatigue Church is hard work. There’s always someone in crisis, always a great need to be met, and always a lack of people or resources to meet these needs. God always comes through, but the process can be hard on His people. People get tired. Jesus has an answer, “share the load.” He gave a mission to His people, and not to a person. He also took His disciples aside to rest. Find ways for people to Re-Create. Build fun and rest into your systems.
Love the Body more than your Building Our buildings highlight our values. They are extensions of our priorities. New buildings generate excitement, and old buildings can drain recourses. Leadership can get so caught up trying to make a budget or maintain a building that they forget about the reason they exist. Jesus has an answer, “Love God and Love People.” He has nothing against buildings, but they aren’t the priority.