Over the last month, we’ve looked at attitudes that make the difference between a congregation thriving and dying. The first three were about focus. Are we focused on what we can do? Are we focused on good priorities? Are we focused on making new disciples?
The last two are about action; specifically, how we act and when we act. Churches that thrive are proactive rather than reactive. Sadly, most churches are very reactive communities. When leaders are busy, it’s easy to let things slip to the back burner. When life is uncertain, it’s easy to take a wait-and-see approach to decisions. When we are tired or unclear on our priorities, it is easy to choose what will make the most people happy (or at least what will make the loudest complainers happy).
A certain amount of caution and routine is helpful, but when all our actions respond to the most immediate problem, we soon end up caught in doldrums with no plan for the future. All congregations end up somewhere, but thriving churches seek their destination on purpose. They are proactive about charting the course for the future and choose decisions that will move them forward to their goals.
This week our church took a major proactive step for our future. After much discernment, the Future with Hope committee released a report in October. This 6-page document is a set of priorities and action steps to move Grace into a chosen future. I am pleased to report that 40 votes were cast, and all unanimously approved the report.
In many ways, this is only the beginning of our work. Accepting the report commits us to some short and long-term projects. I am excited to see the fruit these will bear and invite you to begin praying now about how you will be involved.
But it is important to take this moment to celebrate. Grace has made a choice. We are moving from reacting to problems to aiming at a future. We are deeply grateful for all the people who contributed to this work and especially to the Future with Hope team who struggled for so long. They have truly given our congregation a tremendous gift.