Last week I published a list of the top 22 churches in America, which simply merges seven previous lists together to see which churches have made the most lists. As I stress in the article, I find lists valuable because they help me to know which churches are worth studying, and I intend this list to merely be a starting point for pastors who are looking to study other successful churches.
- ALL of these lists are simply trying to recognize something that happened last year or in some cases even later than last year (as in THE PAST).
- As fast as this world is changing churches should NOT be looking to last year’s methods/ideas to reach today’s culture. 2006 is not 2007 (February is not March).
- Though some leaders will study what these churches do and use it as a springboard for new ideas for the future… most will attempt to do exactly the same thing except this time a year or two later… what I call “lemming leadership.”
- I still see thousands of churches trying their hardest to become like the #1 church of 1995 only to find out that the world has changed by the time they get there.
- I hear from several church leaders that it takes their church a long time to embrace new changes (sometimes as long as 5 years). If that is true for you… I suggest you point your church’s trajectory at what the church of 2012 looks like.
Keep in mind that these are just lists. With about 350,000 churches in the United States, many exceptional churches will not make a list. In fact, some of my favorite churches and ones that I consider to be the most innovative are never in the lime light.
Pay close attention to Bobby’s #3 tip. Church Relevance is intended to be a “springboard for new ideas for the future.” If you are a regularly reader of this site, you have probably realized by now that our content is a collection of ideas, statistics, and techniques designed to get you thinking about how you can improve what God has called you to do.
Simply following formulas will eventually hurt you and your ministry. You must understand the principles and the “why” behind why successful organizations do what they do before you attempt to do something similar. And if you are a formula-following type of person, do not read this blog because you do not fully realize that your ministry is unique and requires a custom approach, and you will eventually hurt yourself.