Doing Church in 2022

I’ve never been much on New Year’s resolutions. If I believe I need to change, I start immediately. I have had resolutions for my birthday, which for me is the start of a new year.

I’m not formally proposing new year’s resolutions for your congregation. But we’ve seen lots of changes in our culture and in churches over the past few decades, and Covid accelerated what was already taking place. Younger generations are statistically less likely to identify as Christians than older generations and less likely to attend church. Our culture no longer has a Christian identity. The new “rules” regarding what’s right and wrong are not biblically based and can change from year to year.

This calls for two primary foci every church should have: community and small group. By community I’m referring to the area where your congregation worships. For most, that is a congregational facility. For others, it may be a rented area and perhaps in a building shared with another congregation.

Community focus includes knowing who’s there. The demographics and psychographics of the people who live there is a key on how to reach them. Once that is known your church needs a ministry that focuses on reaching out to your community. You need a plan on connecting and reaching people for Christ and then discipling them.

This brings us to the second focus, small groups. These fulfill several purposes: social, informational, and training. People who are in a small group in a congregation are five times as likely to remain active members as those who only attend a worship service. Plus, with cultural programing frequently holding views at odds with the Bible, small groups can teach the scripture and disciple so that people will live by biblical values rather than worldly values. A small group can train in evangelism and is a natural place for people to bring friends and acquaintances so they can be reached.

There’s an old church growth principle that new units grow faster than old ones. This is true of congregations, and it’s also true of small groups. So starting new groups is important.

Ashton C. “AC” Smith

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