5 Questions That Will Define Your Church’s Identity
[Note: This post is excerpted from the ebook “How To Create your Church’s Growth & Legacy Plan.” Click the link to get access to the rest of the book.]
When it comes to planning for your church’s future growth and for the legacy your ministry will leave behind in your community, an important first step is to determine where you are today.
Every church starts from somewhere unique. God doesn’t do anything on a conveyor belt. No two people are alike. No two churches are alike. Uniformity isn’t how God works.
You’ll find tons of great ministry models for your church to embrace. Ministry models aren’t bad. As long as you don’t let go of what makes your church unique, learning from other models will only enhance what God wants to do through your church. Filter the models and mentors you learn from through the lens of your church’s unique identity - not the other way around!
Here are some of the key questions to ask yourself to determine who you are and where you are as a church.
1. What’s the general makeup of your church body?
Look at everything from racial makeup to primary language makeup to generational makeup. Demographics will be your friend in this process. The larger your church, the more difficult this will be. Your numbers don’t have to be perfect. Good educated guesses will work. Just be honest. This isn’t a study in what you hope your church looks like. It’s a study in what your church really is. The more accurate you are in this part of the process, the more helpful it will be to creating a vision statement.
2. What kinds of spiritual gifts, talents, and experiences do the people of your congregation have?
It’s highly likely your church has more ministry potential than you can imagine. If your church uses any kind of spiritual gifts assessment that the church tracks (and I hope you do), this shouldn’t be hard. If not, maybe this is time to start doing so. Make sure you’re looking at more than spiritual gifts, though. You want to catalog talents, experience, and professions as well. For example, an abundance of teachers in your church may show untapped potential for your children’s ministry or outreach into your local public schools.
3. Who is your pastor?
Like it or not, a church’s pastor determines much about who the church is likely to reach. Generally speaking, pastors best reach people their age or 10 years younger. Your pastor’s ethnic, racial, and educational backgrounds also play a part in who your church will best reach.
4. What are some of your church’s signature ministries?
Signature ministries are ones that your church is known for and that have been particularly fruitful for you in the past. Maybe it’s your Sunday School or small group ministry. Maybe it’s your children’s ministry or youth ministry. Maybe it’s an outreach ministry to the homeless in your community. Maybe it’s an after-school ministry. Ask yourself this question: “If we were to close down every ministry in our church, which one would be the last (or the last few) to go?” Those are probably your church’s signature ministries.
5. What has your church done that has been fruitful (particularly in recent years)?
This is connected to the previous question. The answer may be the same, but this will broaden your view. As you look into your church’s fruitfulness, you may notice that preaching pops up over and over again. You may notice a specific event, like a Thanksgiving outreach or a Christmas cantata. Fruitfulness can be measured in many ways, but it will generally be connected in some way to the making of disciples.
Try to write down as much of this information as possible. You want this available for whatever team you have that’s going to think through your vision and mission statement. Spend some time prayerfully thinking through what all of this means for your church moving forward.
Click below to read the rest of the ebook on How To Create Your Church’s Growth and Legacy Plan from Pushpay.