Assess The Situation
Whether you are just taking over a church or ministry, or you have been leading it for some time, it is important to properly assess where your church currently is. To get a realistic assessment, sometimes it is necessary to get an outside perspective to see things clearly. I talked about that in my last post, What’s Wrong With Your Staircase? If I can be that for you, I would be glad to help. In order to get a thorough evaluation of your church, you need to know where you have been, where you are, where you are currently headed, and where you want to go.
My Pastor resigned on December 31, 2009 after many faithful decades of ministry. He had been the lead pastor of my church for fifteen years. He is a great man of God, who loves people completely. He passed the baton to me, and I became lead pastor on January 1, 2010. When I first began my ministry at GNBC, I had fresh eyes for this ministry. Now here I stand over nine years later, and it would be easy for me to overlook problems that are here. That’s why I regularly have people from outside of our church come in to help me evaluate where we are.
If you are going to know where you are going, it is important to know where you have been. I grew up at GNBC, so I have ties to the past and an understanding of it. Our church started out as a small Bible Study and grew to a congregation of over four hundred regular weekly attenders. One of the first things that I did as pastor of GNBC was to reach out to Dave Smith, the Pastor who lead the church on that journey. I wanted to gain more insight into the history of our ministry and the mindset behind it. Do you have a good understanding of your church? Take the time to sit down with former pastors, ministry leaders, and long time members to get a broad scope of the history of your church. You will be better equipped to lead your ministry where you want to go once you understand where you have come from.
Once I explored where we had been, I began to assess where we were. This information will help me to know how I got to where I am and give me the next steps that I need to take. It is important to take a look at the physical property itself, the ministries and activities that your church has, and the product that you are producing. I began by walking every inch of our building and property, taking notes as I went along. Beginning at the outside and working in, I noticed an asphalt parking lot that was more pothole than parking lot, a roof that had been leaking for some time, rooms with water damage, outdated paint styles, carpet and decorations. The physical property was an illustration of the church, as a whole, declining. Decades earlier the roof was new, the parking lot was in good shape, the paint, carpet, and decorations were trendy, and the church was running hundreds on Sunday morning. But now we had a building that was falling apart and a congregation of fifty to sixty on Sunday mornings. It was easy to look down the line from where we had been to where we were, and to see where our current trajectory would take us. If something didn’t change, this church that I have known and loved would die.
It wasn’t until I had taken time to understand where we had been and where we currently were that I could clearly see where we were heading. And it wasn’t until I understood our current course that I could take steps to turn our church in the direction that we needed to go. You cannot take one step in the right direction if you do not know which direction you are going now. Do not make the mistake of underestimating the value of a proper assessment of your ministry. If you have never taken the time to plot your current course, stop what you are doing and begin that process now. And if I can help you rightly assess the direction of your church and assist you in taking steps to where you want to go, shoot me a message today.