INTENTIONAL CHURCHES ARE THRIVING CHURCHES
A U.S. presidential candidate in the last election cycle replied to most questions with, “I have a plan for that.” When asked about ministry and mission few churches can reply, “We have a plan for that.” Churches with plans (e.g., intentional churches), however, tend to be thriving churches. To be more precise, those thriving churches would prefer to say it this way, “God has a plan, and we are working, every day, to bring our plans into alignment with His.”
THRIVING CHURCHES ARE PARTICULARLY INTENTIONAL ABOUT THESE THINGS:
INTENTIONAL ABOUT CALLING
Thriving churches know why they exist. They are clear about God’s mission in the world and have developed a clear, shared and compelling vision. This vision names how they will live out God’s mission in their neck of the woods. Their mission/vision is understood and owned by all.
INTENTIONAL ABOUT LANGUAGE
Thriving churches use the language of hospitality. One thriving church pastor begins every service with these words, “We are a Christian church and because we are a Christian church everyone is welcome here.” Language is never “us vs. them” but “us together on a journey.”
INTENTIONAL ABOUT BRIDGE BUILDING
Our society is becoming disconnected from faith and faith family. Most have a limited faith memory and a limited experience in Christian community. Thriving churches build bridges to the disconnected by regularly walking across that bridge to meet, serve, connect and invite.
INTENTIONAL ABOUT ON-LINE MINISTRIES
On-line ministries, including live-streaming, informative podcasts, life resources, and discipleship training, are central to most thriving churches. They are the new front door (the first connection for seekers) and new side door (the way for congregants to stay connected).
INTENTIONAL ABOUT ON-BOARDING
In thriving churches, when someone steps into the building for the first time, visits a streaming worship service or participates in a bridge building event, it is as if they’ve stepped onto a moving sidewalk that intentionally onboards them into faith and faith family.
INTENTIONAL ABOUT MATURITY
Thriving churches are intentional about helping members grow. They help them develop the daily disciplines of Scripture and prayer. They also provide practical training for a deeper life in Christ, and they insist that everyone live deeply into a life marked by the fruit of the Spirit.
INTENTIONAL ABOUT HOPE
Paul wrote, “Hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” Thriving churches nurture hope. No matter the challenge in front of them, they believe God is greater than the challenge and will provide a way through.