Last month I introduced an overview of our basic approach to planning in these next months as we move forward in this transition time here at Grace Lititz. As part of our planning we are seeking your input via survey so that we can gain some analytical data regarding a number of areas in the ministry. We are doing this in part to help identify where the church is in its congregational life cycle.
Dr. George Bullard a Southern Baptist Church Consultant has demonstrated the life cycle of a congregation using the following visual.
You will note from the blue box that Growth marks the first few phases of the life cycle and vision, relationship, leadership, discipleship, purpose and mission mark this side of the life cycle. Meanwhile the Redevelopment and Aging phases of the congregational life cycle are marked by programs, activities and ministry events but lacking in vision and relationship.
This life cycle of a congregation may take place rapidly over just a few years or may extend several decades or even centuries before a church dies. The good news for our local church is that the life-cycle can be renewed multiple times if at the Phase Four Maturity level of early aging the church is able to find and implement a new vision. And we are reminded in Scripture, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV).
Vision, if it is to be found and implemented must arise from the Core Values that a church holds dear. Why? Because we will act upon the things we value, because these are the things we actually believe. Therefore, identifying our Core Values provides us a way to engage our beliefs, and then actively live them out from a heart of faith. In so doing we find joy and purpose again to serve the Lord together as a local church. Our surveys are designed then to identify which phase of the life cycle we are in and to identify our Core Values so that we can find and begin to implement a new life cycle of ministry here at Grace.
We will be letting you know the results of the surveys and hope you will participate with us in a dialog about the surveys as we enter the early summer months. I’ll be updating you regularly on our process moving forward. What a blessing it is for me to serve as the Interim Lead Pastor here at Grace.