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Defying Common Wisdom and Standard Practice

February 16, 2015

At Nativity we often find ourselves defying common wisdom and standard practice, much to the ongoing astonishment of many colleagues and friends. We don’t do it just to be different, we do it because so much of what goes on in churchworld no longer works. But church-people keep doing it anyway, because, well, that’s what we do, right?

Here are just a few to consider:

  • Unless your parish is small (under 200) day-to-day decision-making (facility management, financial administration, staffing issues, programming, scheduling) should all be done by staff. The strategy of the parish is also not something that is done by committee, it must be staff driven.
  • By all means have committees and councils to advise. Fill them (that’s right, no elections, elections are a really bad idea) with smart people from your pews who know stuff you don’t know. And then listen to them and take their advice very seriously.
  • It is probably not possible to offer more than two different musical styles and do them well. Better yet, just have a single musical style (and if you choose the one you like best that could be the wrong choice).
  • Liturgy is often boring because of big boring pauses between things, in which most people are not praying, they’re wondering, “How long is this going to take?”
  • There are many dead and dying churches that don’t have any debt. Eliminating debt isn’t necessarily the greatest goal. In fact, lots of healthy growing churches take on debt to help accommodate their growth spurts. Meanwhile lots of dying churches actually have endowments or at least nest eggs that at this point is like life support for them.
  • Parishes need to engage women in senior leadership with a voice in all major decisions. The day of the pastor deciding everything all by himself in a star chamber, or with his buddies the head usher and the money counters needs to be over.
  • There is no such thing as too many volunteers in a healthy church. Everyone (eventually) needs to get up out of the pew and serve.
  • Get rid of your bulletin. Take the time and money you’re saving and invest it in your web site.
  • It is not possible to rally people around a vision unless it’s specific and measurable.
  • While the Church is accused of obsessing about sex and money, the fact of the matter is we never talk about them nearly enough (if at all) and never in a way that is actually helpful to people.
  • Most parishes say they want to do evangelization, but take a closer look and everything is all about the people already in the pews.
  • Most churches say they want to grow “intentional” disciples, but take a closer look and they’re just trying to get more people to more activities.

To reach people we’re not currently reaching we’ve got to do things differently.

For another take on this try TonyMorganLive.com

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