Internet marketing trainer and ad copyrighter Ray Edwards has a great new year’s post titled “Begin Again in 2010.”  In it, he gives his readers encouragement to not only make resolutions, but actually keep them this year.  But to do that, it helps to write real goals that matter, and that you have motivation to keep.

Ray says his 2010 New Year’s Resolutions “represent hope and aspiration.”  His big 7 are:

1.Love God
2.Love others
3.Create value
4.Create happiness
5.Be here now
6.Clean up messes

Pretty good for you to emulate for you church.  Loving God and loving others ought to be your normal process, since God’s great command, as said by Jesus, is to

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.

Items 3 & 4 are related in you church; the purpose of the church is to give life-changing answers to meaning-hungry people.*  When people have solutions to the vexing problems of life, they gain joy, which is deeper than temporary happiness.

The idea for “Be here now” is what I addressed in my book Hope for Struggling Churches, chapter 5 (Notice).  It’s hard to love on people from a distance.  Instead, practice hospitality. Keep in touch.  Write letters – meaningful notes.

Do you know what it feels like when you’re struggling spiritually and get a hand-written note in the mail that says “You came to mind and you were in my prayers today?  I value your friendship / your insights / your dependability.”

6 & 7 are tougher in struggling churches, but probably most important.  One of the biggest problems in struggling churches is unresolved disagreements between members, and the worst solution is for one to leave over the matter, taking their spiritual gifts away from the congregation. The pastoral leadership team needs to help the resolution of any and all outstanding issues they identify, and to do so in love.

Item 7 is important if your expenses traditionally exceed income, or there isn’t enough left over from in-house expenses to be generous, especially to missions.**

The solution may be to stop doing ministries that don’t support the core mission of the congregation, and focus attention on those that are most important.  Jim Collins’s Good to Great says the difference between a great company (church) and one that is merely good is often that the great ones focus in on doing what they do very well, and let go of those things that get in the way of doing that one great thing.  

Bake sales are OK, but not if they take time and money away from ministry; if you only sell to yourselves, what have you gained, except discouraging against regular charitable giving without expecting a return?

This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.  


*(Kelly, Why Conservative Churches are Growing)
** Estimates are that >70% of church offerings are spent on building operations, but less than 2% on world missions (and only 30% of that 2% to areas without an effective Gospel message.)