This week and next, you’ll be reading about small church transformation, particularly the role of evangelism, based on a study of small churches first done in 1995 and then updated in December of 2008. These first few posts setup some of the background and are meant to be in small blog-size portions for easy consumption.
Church Transformation and Renewal
In Turnaround and Beyond: A Hopeful Future for the Small Membership Church, Ron Crandall takes a brief look at renewal in church history and also highlights some observations from current research on leadership. In broad strokes he offers the contributions of these disciplines to small church renewal and revitalization.
Church Transformation and Renewal from Business Leadership
Church transformation is more than merely renewing or producing a good organization through competent leadership. Crandall puts forth a couple of lists that indicate the role of leadership in church renewal
- Bias for action
- Being close to the customer (genuine interest)
- Encouraging autonomy and entrepreneurship (delegating authority)
- Engaging productivity through people (treat people with high expectations and affirm excellence)
- Being hands on and value driven
- Stick to the main goal
- Simple and lean management structure
- Balancing the tension between creative chaos and disciplined adherence to values
Furthermore, Crandall lists some dynamics of renewal cleaned from business leadership studies.
- Flexible and intuitive planning
- Empowered leadership
- Friendly facts, congenial controls
- Listen to best ideas available
- Teamwork and trust
- Stability in motion (Confidence)
- Positive Attitudes and Attention
- Causes and Commitments (Vision)
Transformation and Renewal from Church History
Crandall’s observations are based in Howard Snyder’s Signs of the Spirit: How God Reshapes the Church. The key point he walks away with is
The first and perhaps most critical beginning point for renewal is to understand that the church has an inborn tendency to grow. Growth is in its genes. Whatever its pathologies every church has a vital urge toward its own health and renewal. The reason for this is simple and simply profound: The church is the body of Christ. The very Spirit of Jesus is at work in his church, always prodding and drawing it toward life and renewal.”
10 strategies for small church transformation
From Synder’s work, Crandall draws out
- Begin with life.
- Don’t attack entrenched institutional patterns.
- Seek to pastor all the people.
- Build a balance of worship, community and witness.
- Provide small groups and home meetings.
- Affirm the ministry of all believers.
- Move toward the biblical model of leadership.
- Help the congregation discovery its own identity.
- Work to ensure that financial stewardship authentically reflects the church’s mission
- Help the church catch a kingdom vision.
Crandall has studied others who have contributed to the field of small church renewal and has seen that
“the emphasis is on the importance of open and visionary leadership,
the creative use of all persons’ gifts and
the humble heart of a servant leader.”
What does the transformational study of turn around churches reveal? That’ll be tomorrow’s post. To get it automatically, sign up for the RSS feed.
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