There are five attitude shifts that help churches move from declining to growing. Previously I talked about how declining churches focus on can’t: what they can’t do, what they don’t have, the reasons something can’t be done. Growing churches focus on what can happen and what is within their power. That shift takes us from helplessness to empowered discipleship.
The second shift is about what you do with that empowerment. Once you’re focused on what is possible how do you decide what is good? In most declining churches, “good” is defined by preferences. Leadership asks what do members like or what are we most comfortable with. Declining churches continually choose familiar activities and approaches even when they have obviously diminishing returns. By contrast, growing churches are committed to making disciples. Every choice, from music to programming, is grounded in that principle. Growing churches have a clear identity and mission which they pursue even into unfamiliar or uncomfortable territory.
Power and energy come from seeing what is possible (can instead of can’t). Grounding in principles helps us discern what possibilities are best to pursue. Last week, Church Council received a slate of recommendations from the Future with Hope team. These propose a set of guiding principles to lead our life together. The report also offers goals and actions to put these principles into practice. The full report is available in print at the church and online here. On November 21, the congregation will vote to adopt the Future with Hope plan. If accepted this will be the roadmap for our life together. It is my prayer that we will not only unanimously embrace the recommendations, but wholeheartedly pursue the work of disciple-making.
Please take time in these weeks to read the Future with Hope report and consider its implications. On November 14, as part of our Sunday worship, we will walk the Grace campus and pray for the future of the congregation in preparation for this decision.