The Christian Chronicle recently published their Top Stories of 2009 list. Heading the list was the membership decline in Churches of Christ. Without a doubt, that was the biggest story in Churches of Christ for 2009. However, it's been a work in progress for some time. Hence, I'm beginning a new series of blog posts, entitled, Turnaround Fellowship.
Below I list seven things that I believe would most substantially help Churches of Christ reverse course. There are certainly others. If you have others to offer, please share them in the comments section.
All of these can be worked on, over time. I will take one per day over the next couple of weeks and offer some possible solutions. I'm not under the illusion that these are the only seven things we need to work on or that my observations won't rattle a few cages. I'm also aware that I could be wrong or off ten degrees, as these comments are also generalizations of our fellowship as a whole. Thus, individual congregations may not have some of these issues. These are simply personal observations I've made as I travel the country talking to churches and leaders about the good, the bad, and the ugly of ministry.
It's OK for us to disagree. You may think there are some things missing, and some things on my list that we already do quite well collectively. I'm hoping the comments section can provide a lively forum for passionate, godly, debate. We've got to begin talking frankly about things—or 2009's lead story will be the lead story of 2010 and beyond. I desperately want to see the church prevail in the 21st Century. Most importantly, so does God.
I believe that even mild improvement in these areas would do much to stem decline and even produce growth in many places. I am not a CofC basher. In fact, I'm known as a bit of a patriot. However, we have some issues that we need to work through…and work through yesterday.
So, in that spirit, here we go:
- Healthy Leadership. First place by miles.
- Flexibility and Nimbleness.
- Increased Generosity Toward the Local Church.
- Increased Practical Ministry Skill Among Leaders and Members.
- Increased Cooperation Among Churches and Institutions.
- Increased Care/Attention Toward the Next Generation.
- Increased Care/Attention Toward Weekend Assemblies.