Please read part 1 before reading this post. (It may not make as much sense without it)
Let’s start off with a question: Tsunami or Trickle?
The decision you and your church leaders have to make is whether or not you are content with managing trickles of advancement, or do you want to create a kingdom tsunami with your congregation.
If you’re stuck, it is more than likely because you’ve allowed time, tradition, bad advice, and internal resistance to keep you from allocating your resources in a tenaciously focused manner.
All your “water” is evenly divided among all your buckets, and I guarantee you’ve grown used to thinking that this is the way all churches do things.
Trust me; it’s not.
The sad news is if you stay the way you are, instead of leading the charge in courageous kingdom advancement, you will eventually oversee the funeral of your community of faith.
Keep deploying your resources the way you are and eventually, you will close your doors or the kingdom-minded people in your church will all leave.
How To Move Forward
If your congregation is stuck, here is what I suggest you do – whether you are a church of 50 or 1,000.
Perform a three bucket audit.
This is a great activity for leadership retreats. Gather your leaders and draw three buckets up on a whiteboard, then write down every single activity in which your church engages. Place each of those activities inside one of those three buckets. Then, take your budget and put individual budget expenditures inside one of those buckets. Some will have to be split into two or three buckets. Finally, put how many hours each staff member exerts into activities in each of those buckets. What you’ll see when you’re finished will shock you.
Make the bold decision to temporarily suspend all missions support and cancel all your mid-week activities.
Will people get angry and leave? Not if you patiently teach, cast vision, and manage the process of change well. The few people who do leave, needed to leave anyway.
Pour all available resources into filling up your Sunday bucket.
I would hire a worship leader first, then a children’s director. For those who are strapped for cash, I tell them, “Never underestimate the power of 50 bucks.” Go hire that college kid or that stay-at-home mom for $50 a week. After I had those two positions in place, I’d hire someone to lead youth. Then a very part-time finance bookkeeper. Then I’d circle back and work on bringing each of those positions up from $50 a week, to half-time, then to full-time. Once you have those positions in place I would hire an adult ministry staff member, again for $50 a week, and then go out and launch groups.
Meanwhile, start “supergroups” with staff and leadership team members only.
Now obviously you have to offer something for people besides Sunday, if for no other reason than because your converts need to be discipled. That’s why the only groups that I’d have while you are filling the Sunday bucket would be what small group thinkers call “Supergroups” – groups of 25-75. You as the Senior Pastor need to lead one of those, as well as any staff or leadership team members you have. These need to be new groups (since you’ve shut all your mid-week groups and activities down). And they need to become vision-casting incubators for new group leaders so that once the Sunday bucket is filled, you can launch into filling the midweek bucket with a small group explosion.
Don’t put a timeline on when you will restart your mid-week bucket and missions bucket activities.
The day you move from red light to green light status is when your Sunday bucket is filled – meaning you have your staff and volunteer base in place. I’ve seen some churches do this in as little as a year. Most take 2-3 years. You are aiming for the complete redefinition of your church culture, not ticking off a few key performance measures.
Strike hard and fast.
The goal of temporarily reallocating your assets is not to be able to finally afford a paid worship leader by killing all missions support. It’s to kick the doors of hell down and launch a revolution. If you do what I suggest and remain stuck, it’s usually because you, the Senior Pastor, are trying to change the congregation without simultaneously changing yourself. You must engage in the five things that never leave a Senior Pastor’s plate (leadership, preaching, evangelism, generosity, and personal growth) with equal speed and force. It’s the difference between managing an organization and going to war.