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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

20 Mar '10

Defining the future of your church

If a congregation is going to be as effective as it could be it is imperative to be clear on four questions: Why do we exist? What are our non negotiables? What do we need to be doing day in and day out to maximize our effectiveness? What do we want the result of our ministry to be? In my book, Leading From The Sandbox, I describe how a church can build a sandbox around these four sides, invite people to play inside that sandbox and in the process bring clarity to who you want to be as a church.

The following are the answers for those four sides from a church I have recently worked with (still in draft form for them). If you have never clarified these four questions for your congregation I would encourage you to think about what your answers would be.  And then to clarify. The lack of clarity in local churches is one of the greatest reasons that we miss out on greater missional effectiveness.

Mission (why we exist)



Grace Church exists to help others love God and love one another as we bring Christ to our world.


Guiding Principles (Our Non negotiables)


Word based and Spirit Empowered


We are committed to the Word of God as being the foundation for all that we believe, how we relate to one another within the church and how we relate and minister to the world around us. Knowing that it is only God’s power through his Spirit that makes it possible for us to live as He wants us to live, we are committed to allowing God’s Spirit to work in our lives and transform us into Christ’s image.


Gospel Centered


We are a gospel centered church changing lives and communities in the power of God’s Spirit. As a Gospel centered church we place Christ at the center of all we do, of whom we want to become and His priorities as reflected in the Scriptures are our priorities. We believe that Christ alone is the hope of the world, that our lives should be radically transformed by His Spirit and that our transformation will have a transformative effect on those around us and the communities in which we live.


Grace Filled


Just as God’s grace is the basis of our salvation, we are called to extend His amazing grace to one another. This includes a willingness to forgive one another, live at peace with one another, care for and love one another and assume the best of one another. We desire the qualities of grace, love and forgiveness to permeate our fellowship. In line with God’s grace we reject all forms of legalism and live with a gracious spirit in those areas were we may differ on life style choices that are not clearly delineated in Scripture.


Embracing All


As a Gospel centered and grace filled fellowship, we will actively love all in our communities including those from all socio economic groups, racial backgrounds and the marginalized, forgotten and oppressed. As a multi-generational church we work to make all welcome and to minister to all the generations that make Grace Bible Church their home. As Jesus welcomed all who came to him so we welcome all who come to us.


Community and World Focused


The Gospel of Christ compels us to actively and intentionally reach out into our communities, circles of influence and to our world with the message of God’s grace. We actively resist the temptation to become comfortable on our church campus to the exclusion of engaging our friends, neighbors and communities with the message of the gospel. We are committed to actively cooperate with Christ in the local and global work of the Great Commission.


Gift Based


We believe that every Christ follower is called to use his or her gifts in an active way – “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).” We are intentional in encouraging every individual within our fellowship to understand how God has wired them and to use their wiring and gifts for the advancement of His cause both inside and outside the church.


Missional and Empowered


Grace Church embraces a missional mindset where ministry decisions are intentionally designed to fulfill God’s purpose for His church: helping people come to faith in Christ and embracing spiritual transformation where we increasingly become the people God designed us to be. We are not content with being “comfortable” but rather, taking the risk to follow Jesus and accomplish everything we can for His purposes. Your leaders are also committed to releasing the congregation into meaningful ministry in line with each individuals wiring and gifting.


Flexible Structures


As a Gospel centered and missional congregation we are ready to be flexible in our ministry structures and paradigms so that we can respond in a timely and effective manner to ministry opportunities God gives us. This includes a willingness to evaluate all ministries for their effectiveness, to ensure that our governance structures always serve our mission and a flexible mindset that is more concerned about ministry effectiveness than how we have done things in the past.


Central Ministry Focus
(What we need to be doing all the time)


Grace Church is a place where all of us are taking the next step of obedience to Christ and using our unique gifting to further God’s transformational agenda for our world.


Our Culture: Spiritual Transformation
 (What we want the result of our ministry to be)


Grace Church desires to be a place where God is actively transforming His people into the image of Christ and where we are actively participating in that transformation through our obedience and followership.


Transformation of our minds where we think like God thinks and His concerns become our concerns


Transformation of our hearts where we become recipients of God’s grace and the agents of His grace to those around us


Transformation of our relationships where we see others as God sees them and love others as God loves us


Transformation of our priorities where we adopt God’s priorities and actively live out those priorities in our daily lives