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Which Church Muscle Needs The Most Work?

And Which Can Atrophy the Fastest...?

Every church has a handful of core mission-critical behaviors…and they typically center around four: Worship, Evangelism, Community, and Spiritual Formation.

Regardless how clever we rename, alliterate, or rhyme them, they’ll basically stay the same. In other words, our four most primary activities must be to (1) corporately worship Jesus, (2) reach those who are far from God, (3) live life deeply together, and (4) grow one another up in the likeness of Christ.

While all of these organizational behaviors must be strongly resourced, my observation is that two of them will atrophy faster than the others. As a matter of fact, if you decide to equally divide your budget among these four essential activities, I can promise that two of them will suffer.

Which ones?—Evangelism and Community. Guaranteed.

With Evangelism, Christians circle the wagons faster than anybody. You must keep your foot on the outward-focused gas pedal constantly. Christians can turn inward so easily; it’s simply the residue of our fallen nature: me-first.

And with Community, it’s only formed by moving people from rows and into circles. It’s in smaller settings that people grow in vulnerability, engage in real relationships, and experience empathetic social and spiritual safety nets. Typically, that’s your small group system. But let’s be honest: our hyper-individualistic American culture makes this a challenge, as political/social scientist Robert Putnam identified two decades ago in his landmark book, Bowling Alone.

As a result, Evangelism and Community need extra resources against them because of our context. If you assign them an equal 25% along with the other two prime values, they will atrophy in no time. You must go above and beyond with them.

It means that you, as a leader, must be experiencing both as well. People will only go as far as you go: distance of the leader, distance of the people. Because you can only speak with conviction on the things you’re experiencing, your messsaging will suffer from a drought of stories that personalize these two vital behaviors. And stories are the primary hook to engage people. Why do you think Jesus used so many parables?

Test it organizationally yourself: of those four primary muscles, how much of your resources—people, time, energy, and money—are going to each? And which one needs the most exercise at this time? Reality check: whatever needs the biggest workout will require the most resources at any given time.

Question of the Day: How are the Evangelism and Community muscles in your church?

Dave Workman | Elemental Churches

Did you know Elemental Churches offers one-on-one personal coaching for less than your cable bill? And seriously, which one is more important? Okay, that’s a rhetorical question!


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