"We need to run the church like a business" is an often heard refrain in many congregations. For most congregations the idea of using a business model is limited to issues of finances and sometimes the writing of by-laws. There are lessons to be learned from business practices, both positive and negative, that can be helpful to congregations. That said, a business model is not an exact fit for the church and the ministries to which the church is called. Some terms must be redefined and some business categories must be repurposed for the church to remain true to Christ's original calling.
In Being About God’s Business, Reverend Bob Callender helps churches develop a business plan for their congregations. He helps them redefine and repurpose key business terms as needed to insure that the plans remain true to Christ’s original calling for the Church. This results in a business-like format that becomes a Ministry Plan, helping congregations analyze all aspects of the churches operation and ministries and enables congregations to be more effective at Christ-centered, disciple-making, need-meeting, hands-on ministry. The major areas of the Ministry Plan are: 1. The church’s objectives? 2. Who owns the church? 3. Who manages the church? 4. What are the products & services of the church (Ministries). 5. Quality control of products & services. 6. Target audience: Who are the customers to be served? 7. Market analysis of service area. 8. Marketing plan 9. Finances, What is profit for Christ’s Church? 10. Visioning of ministry and long-range planning 11. Research and development of ministries.
The process of developing a Ministry Plan is a great learning experience for every congregation. Often the initial answer to several questions is, “Us, the congregation." For example when asked, "Who owns the church? They answer, “us.” Even those who answer Christ find that in everyday practice the agenda of the congregation is much more fouced on their preferences than on Christ’s teaching and commands. When asked who is the target audience - the customers? The answer is most often “us."
Congregations are commonly overloaded with management and supervisory personnel and short on laborers. In some congregations the only steady laborer in hands-on, Christ-centered ministry is the pastor. Imagine a grocery store with sixty employees. How would a grocery store do if fifty of the employees were owners, managers and supervisors and only ten were left to stock shelves, prepare foods in the delicatessen, work in the meat and produce departments, run the checkout and do the sweeping and cleaning? How long would a grocery store remain in business if ninety percent of their weekly business is based solely on the grocery shopping of the employees? That would mean that the store would expect only about six shoppers each week in addition to the employees.
Businesses know that they need to have an ever growing customer base. Customers move away, they get married and go to the business preferred by their spouse, they get old and move to a retirement home and the list goes on. Businesses know that they must provide products and services that meet customer needs and provide real value because if they don’t, their customers will go to another business that does. Many businesses have been providing the same basic products and services for many decades, but that doesn’t mean that the products of today are exactly the same as the products of 1950 or 1970. Today’s Fords or Chevrolets are much different than the Fords and Chevrolets of 1950 or 1970. The Sony and Hitachi televisions of today are certainly very different than the RCA and Philco televisions of 1950 or 1970.
Just like a business, congregations must meet the real and perceived needs of their community - their target audience. Congregations can take many of the best practices of business and repurpose them into effective and faithful applications for doing the ministry to which Christ calls all churches.
The Book of Daily Prayer is a book of prayer for everyday with additional prayers for special days and seasons in the Church year. Reverend Callender will offer approximately 375 prayers. The goal of the book is to support and encourage believers daily prayer lives. The prayers cover many topics, some examples include: free will, accepting our calling, hope, faith, anxiety, patience, grace, obedience, repentance, love, forgiveness, praise, accountability, humility, guilt, spiritual gifts, intercession, relationships, thanksgiving, keeping the commandments, joy, belief, taking up our cross, temptation, disappointment, being born again, end times, money, Holy Spirit, God's will, anger, being a servant, judgment, selfishness, wisdom, mercy, grief, salvation, failure, meekness, evil, healing, insecurity, self centeredness, atonement, peace, perseverance, the poor, jealousy, God's promises, the body of Christ, reconciliation, miracles, sin, worship, confession, discernment, mortality, honesty, God's assurance of pardon, being hot or cold, self control, priesthood of believers, doubt, being connected to the vine, blessings, Christ's vision for His church, the kingdom of God
The Book of Daily Prayer is designed to help readers jump start their time of daily prayer. Readers can build on the prayer of the day and share with God their thoughts and concerns related to the topic of the day's prayer or move to other concerns, burdens or joys on their hearts and minds. In addition to talking to God, The Book of Daily Prayer encourages readers to make time in their prayer lives to listen for God's response and be open to His guidance and to movement of the Holy Spirit.
Some congregations seem to grow rapidly. It seems to happen naturally. Other congregations struggle just to keep up with the natural attrition that is part of life and society. Still other congregations have found themselves in steady decline year after year.
In Every Church can be Healthy and Growing Reverend Bob Callender takes and in depth look at the factors that attract visitors and result in growth and the factors that result in few visitors and few new members. The book focuses on congregations learning how to create points-of-entry into the life of the congregation. Many congregations see worship as the primary point-of-entry and there was a time when that was true, but it is no longer true for most congregations. Reverend Callender identifies the barriers to congregational health and growth and shows readers how congregations can create multiple points-of-entry that will draw people into an initial relationship with their congregation. He outlines key attitudes and the critical steps required to disciple new people and assimilate them into the life and ministry of the congregation.
The process is challenging but it is also fun, exciting and rewarding. It is a practical and effective way for congregations to experience Christ-centered, life-changing, disciple-making ministry at a deep level. The insights Reverend Callender shares in Every Church can be Healthy and Growing can be successfully applied by every congregation. He offers ideas that can give every church member the opportunity to participate in hands-on, disciple-making ministry.
When the principles found in Every Church can be Healthy and Growing are implemented with enthusiasm, love and joy any congregation can reach out into their community and bring the unchurched, disaffected and seekers into the church and a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Copyright: Rev. Bob Callender, 2012
All Rights Reserved