The tug of day-to-day church culture will always be away from Evangelization and Discipleship and toward simple maintenance. Why? Because it’s easier and church people will always try and drive the culture that direction. In maintenance mode parishioners don’t do any of the work and get all the attention, so why wouldn’t they lean that way?
When we came to our parish that was definitely the problem here, but it actually took us a long time to figure it all out. After we finally did, changing that maintenance culture was another exercise entirely. And not one we would ever care to repeat (See chapter 4 in Rebuilt, it’s called “War in Heaven”).
But even after you have built a robust culture of Evangelization and Discipleship the threat of returning to that consumer culture of maintenance is ongoing. Even if you have a healthy, growing church, it is an active threat. We know it is here and we know we have to stand guard against it.
Here are some warning signs:
- The Pastor/parish staff are trying to do everything at church themselves and have stopped raising up member ministers to serve instead.
- The Pastor/ parish staff do all the member care themselves, and are expected to by the parishioners.
- The Pastor is more interested in his phone calls, e-mails, and instant messages than his weekend homily.
- The Pastor/parish staff are reluctant to take on new initiatives or risk disrupting existing programs.
- The staff function in silos.
- No one has a vision for the future.
- No one remembers the mission statement.
- The “lost” are never acknowledged or addressed in the weekend service. Guests are never welcomed.
- Lack of singing.
- Lack of hospitality.
- Lack of joy.
- Complaint is on the increase.
- Gossip in on the increase.
Take a reality check on your church and decide how you’re really doing. And be honest about it. The fact is that any of the above realities should be a source of concern but they really can be fixed.
For another take on this same topic check out thomrainer.com