Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks (part 2)
Welcome to part 2 of “Help! My Local Adventist Church Sucks”. If you missed part 1, make sure you go back and listen to it first so that part 2 makes sense.
In this 6 part podcast series, we are looking at the 3 bottom line things you need to know in order to redesign your local church for mission. And in this weeks episode, I explore the following:
The ONE thing that is killing your church
Why modern, hip churches tend to fail just as much as traditional ones
The single thing you need to know and do if you want your church to come alive
Now before you go ahead and listen to part 2, I need to make something very clear. When it comes to the topic of church revival, a lot of people immediately think of church growth. However, church growth is NOT what this podcast series is about. In fact, church growth is not the focus of TSCP period. Instead, the focus is church health. That is, how can we redesign our churches to be healthy and redemptive communities of faith?
Now why don’t I focus on church growth? There’s three simple reasons that I’ll expand on more in a future post but here is a brief overview.
The first is that we don’t grow the church. Acts 2:47 tells us that it was God who added to the church daily those who were being saved, not the apostles, pastors or church leadership gurus. Our job is not church growth. Its something else entirely. When we do our job, God begins to add.
Second, church growth overall is a terrible way of measuring success. Here are a few reasons why. A) Its a finite metric that fails to capture the infinite nature of the battle we are in. You can read more about that here. B) No matter how healthy your church is, some churches will simply not grow to astronomical numbers for a variety of reasons. And that’s OK. So instead of thinking we need big baptismal numbers to be successful we ought to measure success by how much our church impacts our community. In our modern age, that impact may not necessarily translate to baptisms - at least not right away - so we need to measure success differently. My suggestion is that we measure success by how many lives are impacted through our presence rather than how many people get dunked at the end of the year. If you focus on becoming that kind of church, God will take care of the numbers. For some churches that will mean explosive growth and for others, a slow and steady increase. We need to be okay with that. C) Church growth is a result not a foundation. Sadly, numbers are the main thing that we use to measure success in a local Adventist church. Some of you may even be thinking, “Marcos, why should I listen to you?” And if I said, “I grew my local SDA church from 70 to 500 members in 3 years” you would be all ears. But what I I said, “My church hasn’t grown in any dramatic way, but the culture has changed, the people have locked into mission, the spirit and vibe has moved from exclusion to inclusion, from preservation to innovation. No, we haven’t magically grown by hundreds as a result but we have developed a local church ministry that makes a real difference in real lives.” Would you be into that? I hope so.
Third, church growth as a whole is a term that has been co-opted by the mega church movement - a movement that local Adventist churches simply can’t emulate for theological and practical reasons. You can read more about that here.
So, before you go on and listen to part 2 I want you to be aware of what this series is all about. It’s not about how to grow your church and make everyone else jealous. Its about how to transform your church from an insular self-focused community to an outward, other-centred ministry that impacts its community meaningfully. The result of this may in fact be explosive growth, but I’m not promising that. Instead, most likely you will begin to experience a slow and beautiful growth but more importantly, you will become a centre of influence and hope in your community. And that’s what its really all about.
So there you go! Part 2 is waiting for you below: