What’s the Special Something?

In Leading Change in the Congregation, author Gilbert Rendle shares an anecdote about a planning session he conducted for a mid-sized church.

For the session, church staff put together graphs showing membership size and average attendance for the past 20 years. These graphs showed the sadly common and predictable trend seen by many churches over the same time span: declining numbers.

Rendle had attendees break into small groups for the next part. He said, assuming no major changes in church programs or priorities, draw what those lines will look like five years in the future.

The result? Four out of five groups projected a change. These groups drew graph lines going up, indicating membership growth in the future.

When asked to explain what would cause the change in trajectory, they all gave some version of, “we don’t know but something will happen.”

And that’s exactly it, you see? That’s the whole point of Developmental Ministry. We’re searching for that “something.” Then we need to put energy and resources into creating the “something.” And then we need to try the “something” out to see how it works.

So what’s our “something?” We started exploring this question at our first Mission in Action Workshop in February. You can see a short summary of that workshop elsewhere in this newsletter.

We’ll continue exploring the question at our next Mission in Action Retreat on June 9 @ 10 AM – 2 PM. We’ll take what we learned at the first event and move it to the next step. So mark your calendars and plan to come on June 9 so we can begin deciding what our “something” is.