There are a few tough questions every church leader needs to tackle. Among them is this: What does your church uniquely bring to the community you are trying to reach? The answer to this question affects a thousand other decisions you make, including programming choices, budget, and even building design. Jody Forehand spoke to the latter in a great post over on the Vision Room blog that got me thinking. Do you know what makes your church different than the other dozen within driving distance of your members’ homes? Do you know exactly who you are trying to reach?
“What makes your church different?” is a question every church leader must answer.
As you’re wrestling with the answer to this question, consider these other questions to help you determine what makes your church different.
- Who are you trying to reach, really? Your church is targeting someone. Do you know who it is? Saddleback Church’s approach to its southern California community was very intentional. Warren and his team identified exactly who they’re trying to reach. His name was Saddleback Sam and they made darn sure they were appealing to him. Here’s the thing: Saddleback Sam brought a lot of other people with him!
- In what areas do we consistently hit home runs? Many churches act as if they can do everything well. However, in their attempt to excel in every aspect of ministry, many churches end up being mediocre at everything while also stretching their resources too thin. Churches that make the most significant impact know what they are best at doing and how to focus their resources on only those things.
- How do we measure success? Effective churches understand that they can’t improve what they don’t measure. They know that the Holy Spirit plays a huge role, but they don’t use that as an excuse to ignore the data that can tell them whether they are making a difference.
- What does a win look like? The temptation for every church leader is to identify ‘wins’ that involve every area of ministry. However, the most effective churches define one or two things as the most important ‘wins’. For example, North Point in Atlanta defines the win as getting an individual into Community Groups. It’s that simple! Because that is their ‘home base’, they make sure their other indicators are simply outcomes of joining a community group.
- What one thing is most important to us? If you had to choose just one goal, what would it be? This is a great indicator of focus. Without it, your church becomes a crowd of people gathering together for programs and events rather than a movement of multiplying disciples.
I challenge you to truly think about what makes your church different from the dozens — maybe even hundreds — of other churches in your community. Let 2015 be the year that your leadership team really gets clear on who you’re trying to reach, where you excel, and what makes you different.
Do you find it challenging to determine one specific type of person that your church wants to reach? Why do you think that is?