God the great and powerful (and warm and wonderful)
Thu Dec 05, 2013
by Marsha Michaelis
The top 5 posts of November
Wed Dec 04, 2013
5 reasons to open your blinds
Tue Dec 03, 2013
by Andrew Lisi
6 simple ways to write better blog posts
Mon Dec 02, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Joy in service
Sat Nov 30, 2013
by Andrew Weiseth
The 9 Seasons of a Church’s Life
There are many seasons of a church’s life. Knowing which season your church is in is crucial to its health, longevity, and most importantly, the forward progress of the gospel.
The following nine seasons of church life come from my observations with planting Mars Hill Church and assisting hundreds of other church plants through Acts 29.
In this phase, a vision is planted. God calls a leader (or leaders) to begin a new church and clarifies the specifics of their vision. An initial core of people is gathered, a meeting location is secured, some ministries begin to form, and funding is acquired.
During this season the church goes from being a concept to a reality. It opens itself up to invite in the greater community and focuses its attention on evangelism, growth, implementation of new systems, and installing new leaders.
Infancy is the period of time when the attendance settles into a somewhat stabilized pattern, long-range planning begins, new programs are added, and administrative structures grow to prepare for numerical growth and evolving vision.
In this season, church attendees begin rising up into positions of greater leadership, church government begins to form, and church attendance and financial giving begin to increase.
When the church begins to mature, additional staff is added, the church gains confidence that it now has sufficient stability, church government and leadership are solidified, and church attendance and giving become strong. The church is now independent, self-governed, and self-financed. It is also common for churches in this season to purchase their own facility.
Parenting is the time when the church is ready to reproduce itself by giving leadership and monies for the purpose of starting another church-planting cycle. This results in the birth of a new congregation. The unique element here is that the church/es sponsoring the new church plant have a vested interest in praying for and holding accountable the new work since they have sacrificed for it.
This season of a church’s life is when they have planted enough churches that it begins to see third- and fourth-generation church plants birthed.
When a church is unhealthy, it dies. A church isn’t healthy when they no longer experience conversion growth or attract young leaders. At this point a church faces a critical dilemma. One, they can deny their impending death, sell off their assets to prolong their death, redefine their mission to defend their death, and simply survive as they slowly and painfully die and rewrite the best years of their history to feel significant and successful. Two, they can embrace their impending death as an opportunity to resurrect.
At this time, a church knows they’re dying, or at least not as healthy and fruitful as they should be, and humbly decide to shut down their organization and replant their church. Replants are normally done by hiring a new entrepreneurial pastor to start over with the assets and the freedom to kill programs, prune problem people, and decide what to do with their facilities. Giving the facility and assets to a church planter or a growing church is another option. Churches that have this humility and wisdom should be cheered as model churches for the majority of American churches that are plateaued or declining and need to have a vision for a faithful and fruitful future.
What season is your church in?