- The Healthy Churches
- The Churches Just One Crisis Away from Disaster
- The Dying/Dead Churches
The largest group was the middle column of congregations just one leaky roof, one kitchen fire, one sexual misconduct pastor away from life and death disaster.
The healthy churches were not necessarily “large” congregations in terms of numbers, but they was energy and vitality in the community.
The dead churches were – for the most part – satisfied to struggle along until the coffers were empty and the last member was gone.
I’m not sure why this list was so secret. Some churches live in serious denial of their vulnerability, and it seems to be a good idea to share the seriousness of their situation. Sure, some congregations don’t want to hear the truth. But there are others who need for us to look them square in the eye and say these words: There is no way your congregation will be in existence 3 years from now without some serious shifts in the way you do ministry together.
Because I now work for The Presbytery and am immediately suspect (see this post) some congregations assume that I want them to close so that we can “take their building” or simply control them. Actually all I want – and I honestly mean this – is for congregations to thrive and grow and transform people and neighborhoods in the name of Jesus Christ.
We are now in the process of discerning the health and future of our individual congregations and I need your help:
What metrics would you use to measure a congregation’s vitality and health?
What columns would you use to differentiate the thriving congregations from the fragile congregations?
How would you organize this list?
And finally: what is the best way to share the truth with congregations about their need to make changes in their ministry? How can we get them to hear those of us who serve them?
And when we figure these things out, we won’t be keeping this list a secret anymore. It’s time to act in faith to be a new church for the 21st Century.