Church members in too many cases are like deep sea divers, encased in the suits designed for many fathoms deep, marching bravely to pull out plugs in bath tubs - Peter Marshal. When Marshal wrote these words he was addressing the problem of do-nothing-pew-sitting Christians. Now, six decades later, the time has come to apply the overdressed deep sea diver concept to whole congregations. Maybe a third of the churches in America have developed protective policies and resource management skills to the point that they fail to do much good. They have, quite simply, forgotten why Christianity matters. The reason Jesus wants us to make disciples is so that the church can transform the world. Many churches are rich in assets and poor in community transforming mission work.
You can have good leadership, functional buildings, and a theologically articulate congregation and still be underemployed for God. This is why periods of critical visioning and asset management are important for churches. The outcome of visioning and asset management is a redesigned church that does real and permanent good.
Consider these asset management questions:
- Is your congregation now at the place in its spiritual journey where it needs to relocate or build a new addition? Perhaps, like the hermit crab, you have outgrown your shell. Some congregations have grown spiritually to the place that they feel God calling them to leave their inefficient buildings and either rent more flexible space or split worship in to house-sized cell groups.
- Is your congregation is passionately committed to an outreach project or ministry that has outgrown its space? Renovating or building a new place for that mission will dramatically change the way your church budget is organized.
- Do you need a different staff configuration? Now may be the time to do careful and wise changes to the church’s staff, committee structure, and core leadership.
The Asset Management is likely to include most of the following tasks:
- Restructuring church committees into teams and networked (non-hierarchical) workgroups
- Improving the ‘curb appeal’ of church buildings (making them look friendlier to the unchurched)
- Realigning the church’s use of space to match its mission
- Building or renting whatever new facilities today’s ministry needs
- Making better use of volunteers while reducing staff overhead
- Exploration of new partnerships with other churches and nonprofits
- Growth in stewardship and sacrificial giving
- Modernizing communication (social media)
- Improving the church’s visibility and reputation in the community (web advertisement)
- Whatever else is needed to keep the church serving its community