Posted by: pastordarren | May 12, 2010

Church Who Show Vitality VS. Those that Hang On

The following quote is from the book Cultivating Perennial Churches: Your Guide to Long-Term Growth as posted on the Columbia Partnership webpage:

“Some congregations are well born and live well.” “Some churches thrive and flourish. But, what makes the difference between congregations showing vitality and the ones that merely hang on?” –Bob Dale in Cultivating Perennial Churches: Your Guide to Long-Term Growth, Chalice Press’ TCP leadership Series, 2008.

I have not read the book but will do so soon, but this quote got me thinking.  What is the difference between those churches who are thriving and those just surviving or dying?  The more I thought about it I came up with a few ideas of what a thriving church is doing.  I encourage you to read them and respond and offer your own ideas.

1. A focus on Spiritual Development.  I don’t think that one’s spiritual development ends with a confession or a joining of a church, but is a life long journey.  It is also way more than just confessing our faith in Jesus, knowing the scriptures and attending church meetings and holding an office . . .  Spiritual development comes when we know and are known by God in such a way that we continually draw close to Him.  We don’t read scripture like a history book or a book of self-help guidelines, but we really read and listen as it is the Word of God that speaks to us today and not just thousands of years ago.

2. Engaging Worship.  I believe that worship is the primary gathering of a church community.  That gathering for worship must help those there to encounter and engage the presence of God and truly focus on and listen to the Holy Spirit.

3. Involving Outreach both locally and internationally.  If the church community stays within its walls or just focuses on itself, then it will die.  We have to be personally involved in reaching out to the needs of those around us in our community and around the world.  It is one thing to give money (sometimes that is the best option) but when we get our hands dirty and build relationships with people as we work to meet their needs, then not only are their immediate needs met, relationships are built for the long-term, and we are changed as well.  We in effect become the hands, feet, face, and heart of Jesus in the world today.  Kind of interesting since the church is called the Body of Christ.

In short I think that a vital church is not focused on themselves but on God first and then faithfully following the Holy Spirit into the world.

I’m looking forward to reading this book and seeing what Bob Dale says.  What is included in your list?

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