I’ve started reading George Barna’s 9 Habits of highly effective churches, which begins with the premise that every church has many ingrained habits but not all church habits are effective. Effective churches grow and multiply mature, effective Christians. According to this criteria, small churches can be effective churches, size does not matter.
Barna has surveyed many churches and has concluded that effective churches put the following habits into practice in a variety of ways. I’d like to think through how each one could be applied to inner city ministry, or at least ministry in Blakenhall. I find these headers slightly jargony so I’ve added a plain English summary in brackets:
Habit 1. Rely upon strategic leadership [visionary, team leader, communicator, tactician, passionate about the outcome]
Habit 2. Organize to facilitate highly effective ministry [understand the structure of the church, organise, delegate and support]
Habit 3. Emphasize developing significant relationships within the congregation [nurture loving, caring, Christian relationships]
Habit 4. Congregants invest themselves in genuine worship [experience God's presence in corporate worship - congregant responsibility not institutional burden]
Habit 5. Engage in strategic evangelism [do evangelism as a church in a focused and thought through manner]
Habit 6. Get people involved in systematic theological growth [develop systematic and applied theology for all members]
Habit 7. Utilize holistic stewardship practices [individuals to manage all their personal resources as God intends]
Habit 8. Serve needy people in the community [help people outside the church community]
Habit 9. Equip families to minister to themselves [parents to teach children the faith and to establish marriages with Christ at the centre]
Assuming Barna’s research into effective churches is right, what would this look like in Blakenhall? Before answering that, we need to ask; which habits should we make priorities given our current situation and resources?
There’s lots to work through and pray about…