Marcia Dixon writes that Christian leaders should write down and start implementing their church objectives for 2015 now, in order to enjoy an impactful year in their churches
The drawing to a close of one year should motivate church leaders to seek God’s face for insight and inspiration about the objectives they should set for themselves and their congregations for the forthcoming New Year.
The goals that church leaders set should include the following: (i) a desire to see church members grow spiritually and become more Christlike; (ii) longings to experience church growth via the addition of new converts, and (iii) the establishment of a social project that can be accessed by the local community.
When listing goals, which can also include a whole host of other things, such as going on mission; purchasing a new building; finding new worship premises; devising income streams; compiling fundraising projects; and building relationships with specific institutions. Contingency plans for the unexpected things that occur during the course of a year should also be included and, once plans are finalised, they should be shared with the pastoral/leadership team and church members to get their buy-in and support.
QUALITIES OF A SUCCESSFUL CHURCH
When setting out yearly plans, it makes sense for leaders to bear in mind the qualities that are a feature of successful churches, and devise ways to replicate them. Successful churches tend to feature the following:
- an active and dynamic prayer ministry
- a desire and passion to see God move supernaturally in people’s lives
- preaching Word-based and relevant messages
- making sure the worship experience is a good one
- having visionary and respected leaders
- containing members that love one another and are generous
- reaching out to the community
DEVELOPING THE SPIRITUAL GROWTH OF A CONGREGATION
There is much that church leaders can do to help their members achieve spiritual growth during the course of a year.
They can implement a preaching and teaching programme that addresses those areas where members lack knowledge and insight, and bring a biblical perspective to bear on those subjects where believers seem more attuned to what the world is saying as opposed to what God’s Word says.
A church is only as good as its key workers, so it is beholden upon leaders to include a training programme in their yearly plans, This may involve bringing in skilled speakers and professionals, which will equip department/ministry heads and workers with the necessary knowledge and skills they need to carry out their tasks effectively.
SHARING THE GOSPEL THROUGH EVANGELISM
Numerical growth, as a result of people getting converted, should be a natural feature of church life, and any church vision must have this as a goal. When this objective is included in church plans, difficulties can arise in deciding what methodology to use in order to foster growth. Whilst seeking prayer and insight from the Lord is a must, there is much that can be learnt by observing what growing churches are doing, and maybe adopting some of their methods.
There should also be a focus on developing evangelism teams, who can go out at specific times to share the Gospel in public. Outreaches and events focusing specifically on reaching new people with the Gospel should be a feature of a church plans, and it must not be forgotten that members have a major part to play in church growth: they must be encouraged to invite family, friends and neighbours to church. Not only that, but church members should be constantly reminded of the role they play in making new visitors to a congregation feel welcome and valued, as it’s a fact that people are more liable to join a church where they experience a loving welcome.
ESTABLISHING A COMMUNITY PROJECT
Every church leader should seek to run at least one social project that the wider community can access – even if it’s just personal counselling. Whatever community service a church decides to run, it should: (i) meet a social need; (ii) be accessible, and (iii) be run on a regular basis – whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. If a church does not have the human resources necessary to run a project, it makes sense to develop relationships with churches that run social projects and initiatives, and ask whether it is possible for members to access them, and whether it’s OK to recommend their project to church visitors and individuals who need the services offered.
The saying goes ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, so every church should set out its plans in order to achieve success.
Have a wonderful and successful 2015.