There are several steps to begin the transformation needed in a church to move from "salvation-only" emphasis to "full gospel engagement." We call them the Pillars of Service Ethos Cultural Transformation. They are:
1. Commitment by Staff & Lay Leaders
Transforming a church's culture takes time, energy, courage and
determination and must first be fully committed to by the senior
pastor, the pastoral staff and key lay leaders (deacons, trustees,
committee leaders, bible study leaders, etc.). The commitment
process may take a few months and will involve building the case
for transformation through a series of assessments completed by
church leaders and members, and facilitated meetings to fully
understand what is being asked of them.
2. Membership Accountability
For half a century protestant churches have avoided "accountability"
for its members, usually for two reasons: one, to avoid any linkage
with "saved by works"; and, two, because the members generally
don't want to be held accountable or feel guilty for not living up to
the standards set. This is not new. But to move from a "belief" based
church to an "action" based one requires some type of gentle
Developing measurements that will be embraced by the
members will take creativity and experimenting. It will likely
include marrying technology (to make it easier and low cost) to
the membership experience, and any measurement will only
work when it is aligned completely with the desired outcome
being sought. More detailed measurements will be also
introduced at the church level to provide the information needed
to inform strategic decisions like pastoral themes, platform
emphasis, marketing and communication focus, and budget
Reward & Recognition
Positive recognition of achievement, especially in the beginning
of a new initiative, is critical. To be effective recognition must be
positive, meaningful, consistent and frequent. It can range from
‘pats on the back’ and ‘way to go’ from anyone to certificates of
accomplishment. Because we are striving for engagement, not
perfection, the recognition will center on making an effort. To do
this a system will be implemented to provide on-going recognition
from the first action forward.
3. Training & Involvement
The core of the concept is adding to the "salvation gospel" an element
of action centered on serving others. Churches' have emphasized the
"serve others" by encouraging individual effort and through church
created ministries. Mostly it has looked to get members to participate
by giving money to the church for missions that can then be combined
with other churches to deliver ministry and misson. Members don't
know what "serving the 'least of these'" looks like, except for the
examples of Jesus. To get a cross-church baseline understanding of
this concept will mean a training & education system around serving
others, and a series of involvements that participants can grow through
on their way to fully actuated "servants for Christ."
4. Integrate Across Church Practices & Ministries
There are several fully developed elements that are already working
through the church, and these will be linked to the "serving others"
concept. This linkage will not be to change the original element, but to
position "servants for Christ" as one of the key objectives. Beginning
with a list of the church's efforts (budget, staff, themes, activities,
calendar, events, etc.) each will have an integration model to leverage
it toward enabling "servants for Christ" without detracting from the
original purpose of the effort.
Worship Services & Other Gatherings
Weekly church meetings are the place where the largest number
of members and participants gather offering a key opportunity for
communicating the themes and concepts of the serving others
transformation. Each gathering will be looked at from a "how can
we support serving others and make servants for Christ?" point of
view. This will include worship services, mid-week, on-campus
small groups, and other church organized meetings.
Bible Study & Small Groups
The "take away" or call to action for church courses will be
adjusted to include "serving others" in every lesson, theme and
call to action. Just as there is a strategic outcome desired for
salvation, baptism, discipleship, stewardship - serving others will
be elevated to the same level of priority.
Budget & Staff
At present, it is likely that very little of the church's operating
expenses are directed toward serving others (staff, resources,
time, etc.) as defined in this proposal. A goal of shifting spending
toward "serving others" will be established that moves from
current to 10% of budget over a three-year period. Similarly, a
full-time leadership position will eventually be needed to support
the pastors and enact the plans.
Ongoing Ministry Review & Re-calibration
Quarterly there will be a week of reflection on a few of these elements to see how it's going, what is working, and what can be improved. Some things will be stopped, or built upon, or integrated into other ideas with an objective of continuous improvement and excitement around the effort.
5. Marketing & Communication
Keeping the church's participants informed about change is key to creating confidence and involvement. A variety of communication strategies are available and will be developed to leverage methods to stay in touch that are easy, low/no cost, flexible, adaptive and fun.