What is the one thing in your personal life and as a church you can do to be the very best at fulfilling your purpose? Every church should answer this question and review it every three years. What is the one thing you can do better than anyone else? Your church does have something, one particular feature, which it can do better than the government, the school system, neighborhood organizations, better than any other church.
There is a line near the beginning of the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance in which Bagger says to the young golfer, “You’ve lost your swing. We’ve got to go find it.” This is such a great picture of the church today! Are you willing to walk with your church in finding that one feature, that one thing that you can do better than anyone else? Only then will you get your swing back personally and as a church. The following questions will assist you in searching out the special God-given feature of your church.
- What are the strengths of our church? People have strengths and weaknesses. Strengths are things that a person is good at and enjoys participating in. Cumulatively as a church body, you also have certain strengths. Seek out those strengths. Your strengths will align with your special God-given feature that as a church you can do better than anyone. Because people of the church believe something is a strength, does not make it a strength.
Set some guidelines for identifying strengths including outward and inward focal points. Example: If this is a strength, how will it help fulfill the Great Commission by bringing people to Christ and growing disciples? Another good criteria can be the five functions of the church: Evangelism, Discipleship, Fellowship, Ministry, Worship. A study of Acts chapter 2:41-47 reveals each of these as functions of the New Testament church. Does each identified strength match up with one or more of these functions of the church?
- What are the local needs? The church today has become good at telling the community our perception of what they need. If you want to know the needs of the community, go ask the people living in the community. Don’t assume and waste God’s resources on anything less.
Use a simple three question survey, go and ask for specific needs. People will talk with you today. Until you know the true needs of the community, you cannot help them or show them that you care. Until you can show them that you care, you cannot win them to Christ. If you cannot win them, you cannot disciple them.
- How can we utilize the strengths within our church to impact for God the community around our church? Here is where you start putting together the answers to the first two questions. This can be an exhilarating exercise identifying the connections between the strengths of the church and the needs of the community.
Members begin to see that there is something already in their possession, some skill, ability, or talent that can be used to meet the needs of others – a great motivator for ministry.
God has placed in every church all that is needed to carry out the ministry for the needs of its community. Before your church plunges through the phases of decline, I pray you will right the course using the gifts and talents God has placed at your disposal. You have what it takes. Find your one specific feature, your niche to the community; go and fulfill your purpose doing what you can do best – This is where you will find your swing.