Thursday, August 13, 2009

What Kind of Church?

Dave Nichols in his blog here discusses Len Sweet's description of three kinds of churches: undertaking, care-taking, and risk-taking. Which one is your church (or my churches for that matter)?

Undertaking churches are simply waiting for the last person standing (and walking) to turn out the lights and close the doors. They may not be interested in anything such as turn around strategies and evangelism and growth. Many Small Town and Rural (STAR) churches are undertaking churches. They need dedicated, faithful pastors to care for them until the end. These may not be the exciting churches many pastor want to lead but they still need pastors who are compassionate and willing to listen.

Care-taking churches are those that only care for those who are "in". The only way in is through marriage and birth. While they are cordial to outsiders, members can be cool to anyone new and the new person will get the message quickly. Evangelism is not on their radar either and their membership may remain stable over the years. Eventually they will become undertaking churches. Pastors who serve these churches, also described as "family churches" need to understand the dynamics of the leadership which is usually a matriarch or patriarch who may or may not be on the Church Council. They desire a pastor who will not rock the boat too much and will reward the pastor who works with them understands their style of church. Many STAR churches are care-taking church.

Risk-taking churches are willing to try anything and everything to bring the gospel to everyone. They need a pastor who is willing and able to tap into the energy of the church and bring them direction. These churches are able to accept failure and try again. When a ministry succeeds they are willing to start other ministries to be there when the first begins to decline. These churches often don't worry too much about the funding of a ministry because they trust God and the membership to fund what God desires. I am sorry to say that my impression is that there are not too many STAR risk-taking churchs. Why is this?

So, what church is your church? Is it possible for an undertaking or care-taking church to become a risk-taking church? I think it is because all things are possible for God. Unfortunately, it is a difficult and scary task, but it can be done.

Peace in Christ and God Bless,
Pastor Gary

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