Management expert Peter Drucker once said, “If you forget what business you’re in, you’re about to go out of business.” Look at Ford Motor Company, for example. Henry Ford focused on building a motor car. A few generations later, the company built radios, had an insurance division, and several other activities, which were not a part of their core mission. Today, Ford is divesting these side industries to recapture what made them great…and stay in business.
Jim Collins, in his book Good to Great, calls this the “Hedgehog Concept.” This includes the issue of “finding the one thing you are best in the world at.” As a church consultant, I see this as one of several key roadblocks to the effectiveness—and the future—of many local churches. In my book Discover Your Windows, I have documented this worldview of purpose based on extensive research. Among those active in their churches, over 60% do not correctly identify the primary purpose according to their own Constitution.
We asked active church members to choose one statement that best describes the primary purpose of the church: 1) To be the moral backbone of society; 2) to teach people the Golden Rule; 3) to make disciples; 4) to provide a place of fellowship, to share God’s love with each other. The correct answer (according to 97% of church and denominational Constitutions) is #3. The majority of active churchgoers (57%) chose #4. We call it the “Country Club Mentality.”
Focus on these issues:
- Make sure church staff is on the same page concerning your purpose.
- If your church Constitution does not have a clear Purpose Statement, take steps to add one.
- Staff should continually be articulating the church’s purpose to leaders.
- Screen all potential leaders (director of Vacation Bible School, leader of women’s groups, elders, church board, Sunday school teachers) to make sure they operate from the purpose.
- Use the Discover Your Windows Questionnaire (from Church Doctor Ministries) to help every member of the church reflect on biblical worldviews.
- Conduct a “70 Days of Vision” campaign in your church by focusing on the 10 worldviews. Ask small groups to focus each week on a different chapter of the book Discover Your Windows.
- As you assimilate new members, maintain the two elements of vitality for the Christian Movement: what you believe (doctrine) and what you value (what you consider important).
As a child, Jesus said, “I must be about my Father’s business.” To be a healthy church, recapture a clear understanding of the Father’s business, the purpose of your church.
How do you keep your church on purpose? We welcome your comments below.
Kent Hunter, founder of Church Doctor Ministries, is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, by email, Twitter, Facebook, or visit www.churchdoctor.org.