As members of The McKnight Group’s leadership team travel around the country, we find some churches lack a clear and compelling vision. We want to help change that as we believe having a cohesive vision for one’s ministry is instrumental not only for successful outreach but also as the foundation for an integrated, effective church design. Now more than ever, church leaders who are considering a new church building need to begin with a compelling vision.
Church Design: It’s Not About “Me”
Many churches today end up focusing on what current church leaders and members like. Thom Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, speaks to this when he says “it’s all about me” has become the anthem of the dying church. In order to survive, says Rainer, American churches must reach into communities through outwardly focused ministries.
This can be tough for church members to hear. People get comfortable with what they like in a church. They’ve often “shopped around” for exactly that reason, and they like the status quo. When you’re in your comfort zone, you don’t want things to change. You don’t want it to be hard work. You don’t want to be uncomfortable. This is most frequently why churches stop focusing on a vision.
Supporting the Capacity for Change
However, Christianity is not about being comfortable, especially when that leads to churches getting smaller and smaller. History can provide real examples of how preachers spurred growth in the church by challenging people to change. Scripture talks about what doesn’t grow is pruned and trimmed, and the wastes are discarded, or thrown into the fire and burned.
Our country is splintering into smaller, often sharply defined, segments. We need to understand that what used to work in reaching people for Christ will not work as well today. Rather than focusing on those smaller segments, that look “just like us,” we meet today’s needs by reaching out into the community, as Rainer said.
Creating Unity with an Outwardly Focused Vision
We have seen churches grow and be successful by expanding their thinking, one step at a time. Look beyond your church building to discover the needs in your community. Your vision is also a key to unlock a church building that works. When you have a clear, concise and compelling vision, it lets both guests and members know where you’re going. It charts the course.
Your vision also helps people feel part of something greater than themselves, rather than retaining that smaller and smaller viewpoint. They feel like they are doing more than they could do individually. A good church design unifies people, giving them something to rally around. We hear a lot of stories about how people in churches sometimes nitpick and complain about the little things. But when churches shift their focus to a broader, unifying vision, a lot of those complaints simply disappear.
Take the Next Step
Are you ready to take a good strong look at your church vision? Is it time to focus on a church design that will grow your church for the future? In our next post, we will provide the three questions that will help you determine your church vision.
Meanwhile, we suggest you sign up for our free i3 webinar series, so you can hear more about what we learn as we help leaders create church buildings that support their particular vision and ministry. Just visit our home page, scroll to the bottom, and register for webinars that catch your interest.