I have spent my entire adult life in church work. When I wasn't on a church staff, I was working for a ministry related to church work, like Integrity Music. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly in both ministry and churches, whether they were denominational or independent.
For the last five years, I have traveled extensively to churches all over the world to speak and consult. I have seen the inside of many churches and did my graduate work in pastoral ministries. I say all this to frame what I am about to say: I have come to conclusion that the Church is ill and we need to change the way we do church if she is ever to recover. Most of the changes have to do with leadership.
I don't say this as an outsider. I am a church man, through and through. But we have a serious problem in the body of Christ and it isn't just in the United States. Our lack of leadership has reached crisis proportions. I could go on and on listing the problems, but I thought I would present my plan for the remedy so it could be discussed, critiqued and improved. So here are my seven suggestions as a way forward:
1. Raise up an army of purpose-led men and women who have faith to do the impossible, freed from trying to be who they are not and released to be the fullest, best expression of who God created them to be.
2. Equip people to perform missions (both domestic and foreign), to launch business ventures and to carry out any other activity their purpose distates and faith allows.
3. Help leaders be productive in their purpose as they oversee Holy Spirit chaos created by people pursuing and fulfilling their purpose.
4. Help leaders and governing bodies move from attitudes of ownership to attitudes of servant leadership and stewardship.
5. Develop services, Sunday Schools, kids church, youth meetings and even committee meetings that people want to attend because there is a spirit of excellence and the unexpected.
6. Move from fads, copycat programs, and trite and phony rituals, traditions and doctrines to innovative initiatives in the Spirit of (but exceeding the results of) the early church.
7. Address the needs of the poor, ethnic minorities and women around the world.
I think these seven steps would be a great starting point for any leader or leadership group to begin the change process. Do you agree?