“In a missional decision, every action and ministry function is done with a focus on the mission of Christ.”
As churches face discussions of expansion, relocation, merger or closure, the process can become excruciating. Many churches form a committee to consider these decisions, others use the elder team, and sometimes it is the decision of the pastor. In our experience, it is critical that these decisions are made by a selected group of leaders—call it a team or a committee—and then approved by the body.
One of our team members received a plaque that said: “For God so loved the world that he didn’t send a committee.”
While a funny statement, especially to those who work with church committees, it is important to recognize the importance of running these decisions through a group of individuals who have committed to make a decision that best positions the church to accomplish the mission and vision of the church. A committee or team must take the question at hand and look at it through a lens that asks the following questions:
1. Does this decision allow the church to better accomplish the mission and vision?
2. What is the cost of not making a decision, standing pat and doing nothing?
3. Can we afford to take this step? Especially in expansion or relocation, you must count the financial cost.
4. Is this a missional decision or an emotional decision?
In a missional decision, every action and ministry function is done with a focus on the mission of Christ, and decisions are made with the mission of the church at the core of its purpose.
We have seen many churches run in circles trying to make a decision to move, sell property or change. These decisions can derail a church from accomplishing its mission and vision, so every church must approach the decisions from a missional perspective as if it were a business decision.
When a church considers expansion, relocation, merger or closure, there will be members with differing opinions and emotions. It is critical to understand your bylaws and ensure that your actions follow those bylaws.
Successful change, whether it is a move or a change of worship style, is more likely to succeed when there is trust in leadership and approval from the congregation. This does not mean that the entire congregation is involved in every aspect of the decision process. Committees or leadership teams will best serve the church when they keep the mission and vision of the church in mind as they make these decisions.