TURNING AROUND CHURCHES: PART THREE

Churches don’t always realize that they need to turn around.  Sometimes they just don’t want to.  They are quite comfortable where they are.  If I had to choose between trying to lead a church that was broken and discouraged and leading one that was confident and lifeless, I would take the former.  God blesses brokenness.  He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6)   Because this is true, some churches have to be led to brokenness before they can be led to new life.  This can be a daunting task.  Those who want so very much to bring messages of good news are put in the position of bringing messages that are not pleasant to hear.  Typically, I have walked around the premises of such churches and made notes as to what the physical plant is saying to those who pass by.  Is the paint fresh?  Are there signs on the property?  Do the signs communicate well?  How is the lighting at night?  Are the grounds well tended?  Do any events ever move out of doors?  Are there signs of life?  When projects are started are they finished?  Does the church tend to leave the residue of projects sitting around the grounds?  Is there anything on the campus that turns the heads of passers by?  Once I have made my notes, I report the findings to the church.  I have actually had people argue with me and have had to lead them outside to show them the facts.  Workdays follow to correct the shortcomings.  On more than one occasion lighted signs were purchased that made it possible to communicate with those who passed.  This has proven to be a relatively simple, but very effective resource to bring change.  Signs need to be changed regularly.  Rather than catchy slogans, I find upcoming events and Scripture passages to be most effective.  Sometimes sermon themes that are solidly rooted in Scripture are effective as well.  As much as humorous slogans might entertain, they seldom inspire or bring about a visit.

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