I went out the the parking lot after a long day, and find my car won’t start.  I left the lights on and the warning bell didn’t work, and so after 9 hours of shining on residual energy, there’s nothing left to crank the engine and get me going.  So I haul out the cables and prevail upon someone to give me some of their juice.  Once I’m running again, the normal operation of the vehicle will keep the battery charged, and so long as I add fuel and do regular maintenance (and don’t waste my energy again), I’ll take that car thousands of more miles.

When a church has been running too long on residual energy, without a periodic refresh, it can run down.  It’s not dead, not time to send it to the scrap heap, abandon the building and the budget and the mission to someone else.  But it’s not capable of doing what it was designed to do, not functioning as a “church” to its target community.  It needs a jump start.

In my studies of core functions of a healthy church, and how to turn around a struggling church (see https://turnaroundchurches.wordpress.com/hope-for-struggling-churches/), there are some key lessons learned that will energize that congregation and get it moving again.  It may be that a helper will be needed, such as an outside consultant like myself, but many of these tasks can be done by the local church as a congregational or small-group effort.

  1. The Bottom Line
  2. Prayer
  3. Bible study (doctrine)
  4. care mechanisms
  5. External action
    1. local witness
    2. global mind-set
  6. Facility maintenance
  7. celebrations

There is more to growing a healthy church, but in terms of emergency-room (dark parking lot) get moving again, these will do.  And when you’re done, remember to “lather, rinse, repeat” – keep doing the good work that is useful for the kingdom

copyright Mike Mitchell, 2010, common non-commercial use permitted only.  All other rights reserved.

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