Monday, August 16, 2010

Watching the Scoreboard

I'm watching preseason Monday Night Football - maybe not quite the real thing (the Giants have a ton of injuries), but to the teams playing, it's real enough. They're out there to play well, help their team score, and be ahead at the end of the game.

Couldn't you say some of the same things about the church?

Congregations have long measured success by "bodies, budgets, and buildings" - a record of attendance, the offering plate,and the square footage of facilities. But for growing, healthy churches, the scoreboard can't stop there.

Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer led one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind to understand what sets "transformational churches" apart from others. In their most recent book "Transformational Church", they take us to the thriving congregations where truly changing lives is the standard.

In the first of a multi-part post on the book, here is a brief overview:


Missionary Mentality-church understands the community and will minister in contextually appropriate ways to reach local people with the gospel


Vibrant Leadership-leaders showing passion for God, His mission, and its transforming power on people

Relational Intentionality-deliberately connect with one another; accountability, encouragement, long-term relationships

Prayerful Dependence-natural disposition of communicating with God about the hope for transformation; dependence on prayer rather than a program for prayer


Worship-expectancy; knew something great was going to happen; trusted God to deliver transformation rather than the musicians to deliver a good show

Community-activity of joining lives together through ministry systems

Mission-God’s mission to make disciples of Christ and to engage the world as Jesus calls; understand disciplemaking as the normal sate of the Christian’s life

Stetzer and Ranier develop these three categories of transformation as a loop that can be entered at any point.
Principles of the Loop

1. Connecting to the loop - all three categories and seven elements are necessary parts for a transformational ministry, but churches can begin anywhere.

2. Cathartic Experience - the change to a transformational mindset begins with a moment of decision that is beneficial and liberating.

3. Convergence of Elements - churches with transformational disciplemaking allow for a free convergence of all the elements.
      A Transformational Church is a congregation that joins God’s mission

of sharing the gospel and making disciples. Those disciples become more like Jesus, and the church thus acts as the body of Christ transforming their communities and the world for the kingdom of God.

Tomorrow: Discern

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