Maybe your congregation is getting older. There is more gray hair visible on Sunday mornings, and the number of younger people is waning. It happens to nearly every church at least once in its lifetime.
A new initiative has been discussed as to how to reach a younger cohort—helping your church remain viable for 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.
While your church implements this new initiative, here are four tips to help you navigate the revitalization process.
1. Don’t forget about your existing congregation during the new initiative. They are the backbone of your church and largely the reason it exists today. It can be relatively easy—but not intentional—to lose focus on your existing congregation as you embark on a new, innovative and creative approach to attracting new people.
With each decision and new approach, make sure you make efforts to stay connected with this important part of your congregation—and future.
2. Get buy-in from the congregation before launching any initiative. It’s never a good idea—regardless of the initiative—to launch something before you have broad-based support. Church leadership will need to build a case for the initiative. The stronger the support, the more you will be able to weather the challenges and disruptions that will inevitably arise.
It might take some time to garner this support, but it will be worth the effort.
3. Frequently remind the congregation that the journey may get uncomfortable. Particularly with an initiative like this, the old way of doing things will give way to newer ways. And this may be difficult.
You can assuage some of the discomfort by reminding people that the journey to revitalizing your church is long, arduous and challenging. However, these temporary bumps will hopefully give way to a vibrant and healthy church that communicates and demonstrates Christ’s love for years to come!
4. Remind them of the long-term view. Change is always difficult, especially when that change impacts church life. But hopefully you’ll see your church grow and become more dynamic and better equipped at reaching more people for Christ.
You can even try to develop images of your church five or 10 years down the road for people to see and grasp. This will help make it easier to embrace your destination—and not just the disruption along the way.
Revitalizing an aging congregation is a challenging endeavor. It can become even more challenging if we don’t pay special attention to those currently in our pews. By paying special attention to your existing congregation during this process, you can help ensure that your revitalized congregation will remain committed to your church and to the core principles of spreading the gospel.