A Healthy Church
As long as the church continues to dream, make disciples, and not be satisfied with the status quo, we’ll remain healthy.
~The Replanted Church, Richard Lawrenson
As a pastor, I think a lot about the church, the community, and the church’s relationship to the community. Leading a church and trying to connect it with the community is not always easy. There are times when I see something that really needs to be done or a major shift that needs to take place. There are times when I am completely oblivious to it.
By and large, I am a routine driven person. One of the major reasons I’ve been able to write so much more often this year than in past years is because I have made writing a part of my morning routine when I get to the office. And on those days when I know I’m not going to be able to get to it right away, I go ahead and get a day or so written and scheduled beforehand.
To a certain extent, people expect routine when it comes to church. I think it can be dangerous to fall completely into a routine, but I do think some familiarity is important. The problem with routines, however, is that we can get too carried away with them. Do you know how ruts are formed in the mud? You keep going back and forth, doing the same thing, never allowing your tires to get any traction. The same can happen in our lives.
Routines can very easily become ruts if we aren’t careful, and this is so true in the life of a local congregation. How many churches do you know that do annual events, and, eventually, they do them because that’s what they have always done? That’s a church in a rut.
So, how do we get out of these ruts? Trying something new is certainly one route. It takes a lot of momentum to start something new in a local church, and, sometimes, it’s hard to get people on board with it.
Cutting out something that has become routine is another possibility, but this is a more dangerous route. As I said, churches like their routines. If you aren’t clear on why something is getting cut out (or changed even), you’re wading into some piranha-infested waters with a gaping leg wound. That’s supposed to be a metaphor, but it could be a reality, depending on your church and what you’re messing with.
The best way to get out of ruts, though, is to work together with the congregation to dream a new dream, focus on how you can fulfill your purpose to make disciples of Jesus Christ together, and be aware of when those ruts are forming in the first place.
When we dream about the future that God has for our church, and the impact we can have on our community, amazing things can happen.