Resetting The Church
Jarrod shares challenging questions every church leader should be considering in this powerful pivot point in history.
The recent period of reflection has not only been good for me as a person, but also for us as a church. It is so easy in the hustle and bustle of church life to experience mission drift, and to slowly, subtly, veer off course over the years. This results in us wasting our corporate energies in fruitless endeavours, things that aren’t relevant anymore, but we continue as it’s complex to end them! We spend vast amounts of our budget on things that aren’t productive, or live with perspectives regarding our purposes, our people and our priorities that are actually decades out of date, as we haven’t properly analysed them for years.
“Don’t be too self-reflective” one leader gruffly wrote to me, when speaking about the need to pause, reflect and think. “We need to stay proactive, there’s a world to win!”
But I don’t find that stance biblical at all. What use is it being proactive at something that isn’t working – If something is not saving souls, transforming the world or discipling nations it needs careful consideration – and that doesn’t always come easily in the rush of the busy week!
Our Master Jesus spent a little over 10% of His life in public ministry (that we know of). Just 3 ½ years out of His 33 were actually spent “busy about his Fathers business” (Luke 2:49), which would tell me God actually needs very little time to do remarkable things! Accuracy outperforms busyness. And accurate wisdom requires godly reflection.
If Jesus was willing to wait 30 years before ministering, and even then He started with 40 days alone in the wilderness to be fully ready for His purpose, then I’m going to give myself to reflection, sabbath, pondering and prayerful seasons.
During this pit-stop pause, at Revive Church we have reflected greatly on all our ministries, our leadership, our structures, our budgets, our purposes and their supporting goals, strategies and personnel.
Our conclusion was that we were out of shape! Mission-drift had led to deep weariness, higher spending and lower fruit than we would want. Certain aspects of our strategy were due a good prune. With some things, the concept of “digging around the tree” (Luke 13:8) and giving a project another season to find fruitfulness had been attempted several times. We now had to dismantle, disassemble and deconstruct some things in order to reinvent, reinvigorate and reset, ready for the new era ahead.
Here are some of the far-reaching questions we have been asking ourselves as a church leadership, to help lead us towards a vision and structure fit for the new era:
- Is our structure life-giving, or smothering? Does it truly support, or just slow us down?
- Is our current plan and strategy delivering the results we hoped for?
- If we were starting Revive Church again, with our current members and income, what would we do differently?
- Are our priorities truly biblical, or have we experienced mission drift? Are we too dependent on copying what other great churches are doing?
- Are we being true to our unique calling as a church family? What are the prophetic words, the evident grace gifts in our leadership and what are the opportunities we feel passionate about, if we only had the time, focus and income?
- What isn’t working? Why haven’t we stopped these things? Is it time to try again, to reshape, redefine or prune away these things?
- Where are the signs of God’s favour and fruit most evident?
- Are our external denominational, apostolic, prophetic and internal leadership relationships up to date and relevant to where we are at today, or are we trapped in historical relationships that no longer bring life to our purpose today? Are there some relationships we need to move on from, or they move on from us?
- Are we good at ending things like relationships, projects, goals, ministries, or do we only know how to add new things? Are we bold and loving with tough conversations or are we passive aggressive and cowardly? Have we learnt to end things without need for great conflict, blame or relational pain? Is our culture of honour mature enough to end things with dignity, love and celebration?
- Do we feel like we are on an adventure, as a “band of brothers (and sisters!)” taking the world for Jesus, or have we become boring, middle class, mediocre and safe?
- Are we building an empire for our own ego or are we truly building God’s “Kingdom”, where every church is part of one team, God’s Team! Does our language, planning, metrics and budget reflect this?
- Are we innovating, or simply repeating ministry patterns from memory?
- How could we reach and transform our entire region for Jesus quickly? If Jesus was returning in 3 months, what would we do to reach people in that time?
- What are our limitations and weaknesses, and how are we fixing or working around them?
- Are we doing all we can to raise up the young, or are we simply content to grow old and safe together?
- Are we valuing the older, wiser fathers and mothers among us and harnessing their great wisdom, experience and stability?
- Are we growing by reaching new Christians, or are we too happy to grow by picking up people floating in from other churches?
- Are all the elements of the early church in the book of Acts, allowed to thrive among us, or have we become a comfortable, westernised, consumerist church, simply happy to have bums on seats, but not passionate about the Kingdom coming among us?
- Is our entire concept of Church fully biblical? Is it truly what Jesus imagined when He said “Go into all the world”? or have we drifted into becoming a club for Christians?
- Is it time for the senior leader to change? Are we ready for succession? Are we creating an environment where succession will be natural and healthy?
What a list?! Well, if you are half as challenged as I am in writing it, then you’ve got work to do in reflecting, pondering, discussing, adjusting and calling on God’s grace to help you!
I have always said that “frustration is usually the first prophet in any new move of God” – Frustration calls out in our hearts like a signal from heaven. We may feel exasperated, disappointed, bored, rebellious or just plain thirsty for God. But these longings lead somewhere. It’s God speaking. Don’t push it away.
All great moves of God begin with frustration, but frustration drives us into prayer and into the wilderness of transformation, ready to reset in preparation for a new era with God.
AN EXTRACT FROM THE DIVINE RESET available in paperback or kindle: