Part 2 – The Confused Church
In a previous post, we discussed asking the hard questions for a church that is in a trauma situation and dying. (Read The First Post Here)
The good news is, not all churches are dying. Some churches just need some help in getting back on track.
What should a new pastor ask when learning about their new congregation?
I would say, you must understand what the church’s vision is. You must find out who they are as a people and how they function as a church.
We Must Ask Questions About the Mission and Vision of the Church.
1) What Is The Mission Of Your Church?
This first question is a revealing one. Some could answer based on felt needs; the mission of the church is to provide a great children’s program, or to provide for the needs of the community, or to set the stage for morality in the culture, or to equip Christians. Others could answer this question by reciting the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20).
While these may be the answers given, when asking questions about the mission you must look for a specific answer concerning the church’s vision. We are searching for the church’s unique identity and how they justify their existence; are they a family church, a church built on strong preaching, a church of disciple makers, or a church of faithful servants.
For my church, I have found that we are a very close-knit group of people that are fiercely committed to making disciples. Therefore, our Mission Statement is, We Are A Family On Mission To Make Disciples. It is who we are and how we function.
There are many possibilities to this question. Because God has designed each church to fulfill a unique role in His plan, each church has a unique identity, and it is the churches job to find it and leverage it for Kingdom growth.
To understand the mission of the church, we must first understand how they view their mission.
Which brings us to the question, What is the mission of your church?
2) How Does Your Church Accomplish The Mission In Their Community?
The church’s mission then is demonstrated into how they minister within their context. The question has often been asked, “If your church was to be gone tomorrow, how would that affect your community?” We are seeking to know how does the church accomplish its unique mission in the community.
Some may answer this by referring to a specific ministry program. If a church is highly evangelistic, they may tell you about a visitation or revival program. If the church is dedicated to children’s ministry, they may refer to their children’s events. If a church is inwardly focused, they may not have an answer to that question. If a church is unclear about their mission, you may have multiple answers to this question.
This question is vitally important. A church with a divided mission or an unclear mission will not succeed. Therefore, the church must be unified in their purpose. The role of the pastor is to help the church craft their mission and to implement that mission in their community. But first, the pastor must understand what that mission is and how it can be accomplished.
To understand the mission of the church, we must understand how the church members envision their mission working in their community.
Which brings us to the question, How Does Your Church Accomplish Their Mission In The Community?
3) What Does Your Church Need To Do To Grow?
The church’s mission can also be evaluated by seeking to know what needs to be done in the future. If the church thinks that future growth will come through the pastor making more hospital visits, then that tells you something about how the church views their mission and how they desire it to be carried out.
This question also challenges church members to think outside of their comfort zones. Many church members just do not think about how to grow their church, and if they did, they would be challenged to act. This is a great question to ask because it reveals how people understand the mission and calls them to be on mission at the same time.
To understand the mission of the church, we must understand how the mission can be implemented in the future.
Which brings us to the question, What Does your Church Need To Do to Grow?
In the role of church revitalization, church leadership must ask these types of questions. Without having these questions answered, the church quickly becomes confused and stagnant. If I can encourage you today, please begin to answer these questions to understand your church’s mission and find ways to reach your community through that mission.