The Fight of Your Life

So if you want your church to be around a decade or two from now, what do you need to do?

My suggestion would be to focus on strategy.  Focusing on strategy will provide the greatest disagreement point among your congregation and the great breakthrough potential.  It might also be the fight of your life.

Let me explain.  Churches for sure need a mission and vision.  And apart from churches undergoing a real theological drift (which we talked about yesterday), most people agree on mission and vision.  We rally around Jesus, God and reaching people.  Very few people inside the church disagree on those points.

What we disagree on is the strategy that will get us there.  Here are some ways strategy plays out in your church:

Choir versus band

Lame bands versus bands outsiders want to hear (sorry, it’s just true)

Insider focus versus outsider focus

Prioritizing ourselves rather than prioritizing others (like children, students and families)

Programs versus steps

Congregational control versus leader empowerment

Preservation versus innovation

Preaching information versus application

I hope you’ll add to this list, but you get the point.  These are among the flash points – the places where you will get serious disagreement.  Which is exactly why you need to go there.  Which is exactly why you need to have the conversation.

It might be the fight of your life, but it might also be the fight that brings life.

I know in my time in leadership, it has been tackling issues like these that have brought progress and helped us reach outsiders at a higher rate than ever before (last year 68% of the growth at Connexus came from people who didn’t regularly attend church).  We’re not there yet and we certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I think tackling these issues have helped us advance the mission significantly.

Tomorrow we’ll wrap up with a post on how to stay motivated through all this transformation. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you!  How about you?  What would you put on the list?


  1. Ada Wang on April 2, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Thanks Carey for the thought today. Your blog has been giving me much to reflect on during mat leave! What I’d add to the list:

    small groups vs big groups
    Sunday School vs rotation model
    passage vs topic
    English vs ethnic language

    • Carey on April 2, 2011 at 9:49 am

      Thanks Ada. So glad you mentioned language and cultural issues in second and third generation churches. I have lots of friends in Toronto churches trying to straddle this one.

  2. Chris on April 1, 2011 at 11:08 pm


    Great point as usual and so true! I really enjoy your posts and tweets. They are always challenging and applicable whether it be leading my family, staff or the Church.

    Thanks for investing time to encourage and sharpen leaders!


    • Carey on April 1, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      Love being in this together Chris. Thanks!

      Lisa…I love flip flops.

  3. Lisa on April 1, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Flip-flops vs Dress shoes…had to ‘go to the mattreases’ over that one a few weeks ago. Sad…I know.

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