2017 is the year that your church is going to make things happen.

Okay, let’s not get into a theological debate. I realize there is some nuance regarding God’s role in making things happen. But we (of course) have a role to play.

goingdown1_Maybe your church has been experiencing:

  • Declining worship attendance
  • Plateaued worship attendance
  • A lack of funding
  • Limited or no baptisms or professions of faith
  • The absence of stories of life change

Well, that is going to change this year. Because this year, you are going to do those things that lead to revival.

If you are a pastor or leader at a local church that is struggling, I bet you already know some of the things you need to do. You’ve read books, followed blogs, maybe even been to a convention or attended a training event. You have some ideas of how to get started. But not much has happened.

There are so many things holding you back.

pen-calendar-to-do-checklistIf you are a pastor:

  • You have sermons to write.
  • You have pastoral care needs to attend to.
  • You have classes to teach.
  • The annual conference and district are waiting on reports.

If you are a lay person:

  • You have a job and maybe a family that you need to attend to.
  • You have trouble getting permission for what you want to do.
  • Everyone needs you to help with something else.

If you are church staff:

  • You can barely get your current work done.
  • You have trouble finding enough volunteers to handle the programs you already have.

And those are just a few of the reasons you can’t.2017But here is a question, “Do you want to make 2017 the year you go all in on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?”

If the answer is “No,” you can go back to what you are doing.

If the answer is “Yes,” then let’s go!

But what about all that other stuff that is holding you back?

I have no idea.

You are going to have to find a way to deal with that. Maybe you get more organized. Maybe you find help. Maybe you realign and refocus your priorities. But people figure this out all the time. Otherwise, we would all be stuck.

Here are some thoughts to get you started:

1. Set a goal and make a plan.

screen-shot-2016-12-24-at-9-10-30-amSeriously, this sounds simple, but a lot of people don’t make a plan. If you want to drive to Alaska, you start by deciding to drive to Alaska. Then you figure out how. You need a car, and money for gas, and time off, and a map.

What do you want to happen in 2017? Do you want to have 20 baptisms in your church? How does that happen? How many people need to be invited to your church and hear the Gospel in a way that calls them to respond by presenting themselves for baptism? Do you want to see a 20% increase in worship attendance? How many people is that? How much of that percentage do you want to be current attendees coming more often and how much of that percentage should be new people? How do you make that happen?

2. Make your plan into a projectprojectplan.

Don’t just think it through, write it down. Projects have steps, due dates, objectives, deliverables, and measurable outcomes. If I want 20 baptisms in my church this year, I need to see x number of new visitors every month. I am going to get there by preaching about inviting x times per quarter. Did I do it? Is it working?

3. Consider your project as a campaign.

spot-runs-start-laSometimes to get moving you need to start off at a sprint. But you can’t sprint forever. Instead of starting out on a huge expedition that lasts forever, how about you set out for a sprint until April 16? What if your goal is an increase in Easter worship attendance? You can sprint until then, right? In January, February, and March, you are all in, getting that website fixed, helping your people find the courage to invite their friends to church, spending more time out in the community, going all in. After Easter, you can slow down again.

You can do this. But you won’t if you don’t start.

This is important.

Let’s get started.

One response to “2017 Is the Year”

  1. Perfect timing on this! We have a staff planning meeting every January and most of us come out of it feeling like we have just been hit with a truck! I am making a outline out of your points so we can write specific answers; and we will definately setting a goal to be evaluated right after Easter. (I hope)

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