By Aaron Summers
None of us intend to fail. Not one. We want, if not expect, to succeed. Sure, there are those circumstances that can change our thoughts and shatter our dreams, but we still set out to succeed in overcoming those as well. If we fail, we get frustrated.
So it is in ministry. 65% of our churches are plateaued or declining. That statistic is not news. Every one of us start at a church to succeed in not being that statistic. Yet, it still happens. It has to me and it has to you.
What can we do? We usually start the evaluation process. Some evaluate other locations. Some evaluate their current location. One way to evaluate our own location is through demographics. We can also look at the types of people in and around our church. Rick Warren uses The Circles of Commitment:
The whole point is to move people from unbelievers (community) to fully devoted followers of Christ (core). But we still have 65% plateaued or declining.
That is so defeating!
I have enjoyed listening to Robby Gallaty and reading his works. His idea is very similar in that the church should desire to make disciples more than just converts. I applaud this and am moving our church in this direction. He has an entire structure for development groups.
But how are we supposed to get them from the outer circle to the inner circle?
Here is the problem we are facing. Let me make a suggestion. I do not propose to have the answers but I would rather try something than try nothing. After much discussion and thought, our 5 circles became clear. What we needed was a pathway to move people from one circle to another. Will Mancini has written some groundbreaking materials in this area. In his book, Church Unique, we learn the importance of establishing a strategy map.
As a way to provide bridges between the circles I discovered the three must-do’s to provide transition.
The bridge to success is only a walk away. Won’t you walk it with me?
Summers serves as Lead Pastor at First Baptist Church of Crowley in Crowley, TX.