The Strategy Themes discussed below were presented by Bob Farr, Director of Congregational Excellence, Missouri Conference UMC, as part of a presentation “Renovate or Die: How to Become an Outwardly Focused Church.” The following discusses Strategy #3 of 10.
Strategy #3 “Begin with the Basics.”
“May a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!”
Bob suggests “Start with great worship, great music, great children’s programs, do the Five Practices well.” That would be quite a report card. Even Adam Hamilton says Church of the Resurrection gets a “B” in worship. (That’s enough for the rest of us to revise our report cards.) So where in the world do we begin? I would suggest with what you do well and make it better.
Edward Deming is the Father of total quality management that revolutionized the Japanese automobile industry. The heart of it is the simple “Deming Cycle”: Plan, Do, Check, Act (and I would suggest immersed in prayer). Again, Adam Hamilton reports that the worship team meets every Monday to review how the worship weekend went and how they can do better. Not only that, Rev. Hamilton has an associate monitor his Saturday night sermon to make recommended changes for the Sunday services. Would we be so bold? Pray, then Plan, Do, Check Act, and Pray. By the way, without a team accountable to make what the activities better, your church will not be intentional or successful in your effort. The best team is the team of doers. James was right, “Be doers…, not merely hearers.” Then the gospel according to Deming says, “Then do it better, one step at a time. Plan, do, check, act.”
Small churches believe they are strapped from doing great things by limited resources. God uses others; we should too. There are talented people in our communities who are just waiting for our invitation to make a joyful noise or to lead Vacation Bible School (VBS). Want to have a great VBS? Find a teenager in your neighborhood who loves to dance and sing. Give her the Cokesbury CD and Music Director’s book a month in advance and watch your VBS blossom. Young girls will admire her, and well, boys will be boys.
Children’s programs, VBS, Sunday School, Youth Programs need to be fun. Kids learn and are attracted to the faith in fun environments. Jesus called himself a “bibber.” Can you imagine what He might have been like as a child? Make fun foundational and you will have the beginnings of a great children’s program.
Then Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice, Practice (that’s five). And “Make a joyful noise.”