When I recently upgraded my cell phone, I wanted to make sure I did not lose the ability to sync my calendar from my phone to my home computer. I count on that neat feature of entering an event on one device, knowing for certain the same event will show up on another device.
Technology makes it easy to synchronize on our various devices, but what about churches?
Some churches have a lot of activities and expend a lot of energy, but they are not synced to a common purpose. Other churches may put a lot of effort and resources into a particular ministry without much thought given to how it may contribute to the overall mission of the church.
Russ Crabtree, author of “Owl Sight” and the developer of the Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT), sees the lack of synchronization as the main reason churches fail to realize all that God has for them.
“When a church is in sync, all ministries are not only robust in their own right, they also help advance the overall mission of the church,” says Crabtree.
How To Get In Sync, Internally & Externally
There are several ways a church needs to align both internally and externally. Internally, for example, it is important that a church stays in sync with its mission statement.
After all, a church’s mission statement defines the reason the church exists.
Yet many church boards do not refer to their mission statement when making setting priorities, or approving or resourcing programs and activities.
A church also needs to stay in sync with its vision for the future by constantly asking, “Does this activity move us closer to our vision for being and doing church in the future?”
Externally, a church needs to be synced with the context and needs of the community in which it is located.
For example, if a church sets a goal to attract families with children and youths but is located in an area made up primarily of people over the age of 55 or in retirement, it is out of sync with its community.
Start The Sync
The Congregation Assessment Tool, or CAT, is a tremendous first step for a church looking to become more in sync.
That’s because this assessment reveals the perspectives, experiences, and aspirations of church members. Additionally, it identifies the invisible forces at work in the church that impact its ability to fulfill its mission and advance its vision for the future.
If a church lacks, for example, the energy or flexibility to engage in major change, church leaders may need to address the morale or adaptability of its members before taking on new initiatives.
The information and symbolic narrative gleaned from the CAT also helps church leaders know where the church is in or out of sync with its members’ priorities and aspirations.
Having an in-sync church allows your faith community to fulfill its mission and purpose with vitality, energy and internal support.
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