22 November 2006

two years: maintenance or mission?

Yesterday marked two years since I accepted the call to pastor Waterford Community Church. Anticipating this day coming, I've been asking myself some questions. I've put these questions to our leadership. Here they are for you to consider. I know what I think. I'd like to know what you think.

After two years working together, are we still in maintenance mode? Or, have we begun to accomplish our mission? Two years ago when I became Senior Pastor, I said that the transition and in-fighting had to end so that we could focus on becoming the Waterford Community Church that we want to be in the future. This is just another way of saying that we have to shift gears from maintaining our church to accomplishing a mission together as the church. Have we switched gears? Are we making progress?

Consider these comparisons that describe maintenance versus mission churches:

1- measuring EFFECTIVENESS
The maintenance congregation asks, "How many people are attending, being baptized, participating, etc.?"
The mission congregation asks, "How many disciples are actually following?"

2- considering CHANGE
The maintenance congregation asks, "Will this upset any of our members? If so, we won't do it."
The mission congregation asks, "Will this help us reach somone outside of our church? If so, we'll do it."

3- pondering VISION
The maintenance congregation says, "We have to honor the past."
The mission congregation says, "We have to impact the future."

4- facing CONFLICT
The maintenance congregation seeks to avoid conflict at any cost, but rarely succeeds. Avoiding necessary conflict only exacerbates the real problems and institutionalizes dysfunction.
The mission congregation understands that conflict is necessary and can be constructive despite the short-term pain it brings. Progress comes by honestly and directly facing real problems and refusing to accept dysfunction.

5- planning MINISTRY
The maintenance congregation asks, "What can we get people to do based on what they want?"
The mission congregation asks, "What can we do to lead people to do what they really need?"

6- providing LEADERSHIP
The maintenance congregation has "leadership" that is primarily managerial. The emphasis is on keeping control through rules, lack of autonomy, protection of position and power.
The mission congregation has a leadership that is visionary and enabling. The emphasis is on transforming people by setting direction, giving away authority, and releasing resources.

7- dealing with CHURCH CULTURE
The maintenance congregation is concerned with protecting the established church culture.
The mission congregation probes the established church culture and discerns where it needs to be shaped in different directions.

8- engaging the CULTURE
The maintenance congregation is concerned with separating itself into its own alternative insider sub-culture as its expression of how to live the gospel.
The mission congregation rejects isolation and seeks to understand what the larger culture values and how it thinks to identify ways in which it can penetrate the culture with the message of the gospel.

9- relating to the COMMUNITY
The maintenance congregation asks, "How can we get the community to come to us and become a part of what we're doing to support this congregation?"
The mission congregation asks, "How can we get the church into the community and what's happening there since we are a part of it and want to support it as a congregation?"

10- setting AGENDA
The maintenance congregation's leadership is reactive and tactical.
The mission congregation's leadership is proactive and strategic.

11- overseeing STAFF
The maintenance congregation wants it's staff to adopt in safe routines that are settling to the status quo.
The mission congregation wants staff to it's staff to attempt risky thinking that challenges the status quo.

12- handling RESOURCES
The maintenance congregation thinks in terms of conserving things and property that are essential to basic ongoing operation.
The mission congregation thinks about people and new opportunities to enhance capabilities to communicate to and serve them.

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