June 21, 2010

Focusing on the Top Three

In the technological world there is a danger of  "feature creep." Feature Creep is when a program or device adds features, mostly useful features, until it becomes too big to maintain or unusable because of all the features. The designers are trying to do to much, and pretty soon all the features begin to suffer. Why? Because they can't do everything well.

Churches also face this problem.

Thousands of churches could and should cut what they do by half so they could do something, one thing well. They have Sunday School, VBS, Children's Church, a full worship band, that new specialty curriculum from the latest celebri-teacher. They focus on all kinds of stuff and end up doing nothing well because they are trying to do everything. One church a friend of mine attend (until this happened), opted to purchase full-color program shells rather than pay their electric bill. That is feature creep.

Feature Creep comes from a good place most of the time. Churches want to reach lost people, when people attend they want certain things when they show up, the church adds more and more stuff because someone wants it, and eventually the church adds and add and adds until it is doing so much that it can't do anything well. They forget that by adding something they are taking away from something else...time, creativity, volunteers and money are not limitless. Choices have to be made.

As a church plant, it is important to focus on the main things. In thinking about the first year or two of the church plant, we have to get three main things absolutely right:
  1. Our Sunday Morning Event. It is important that we get this right because this is the main thing people experience about our church when they visit. They don't expect extravagant, but they do expect quality.  We need quality, safe childcare and great teachers to help children grow in their understanding of the Bible. We need great music that connects. We need a biblically-sound message that makes connections to real life. And, of course, we need great coffee! :)
  2. Outreach and Evangelism. This will remain a top three priority forever. We will reach out to the people of our community with compassionate acts of kindness, and serve the poor and the broken. We do this because we love our neighbor, and by meeting physical needs and doing acts of compassion we help people understand who Jesus is and how He can transform their life.
  3. Building Leaders. A Church is only as strong as its leadership. As the pastor, I have to be growing in order to lead people. For the church to grow in its Kingdom impact, we have to grow strong, healthy leaders. This means taking risks on young "unproven" leaders. This means allowing people to make mistakes. 
For more information about Crossroads Vineyard Church go to our website. What do you think? What are or would be your top three priorities when planting a church?

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