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“When the how of the vision trumps the why, you will find yourself in the maintenance phase.”

Over the few years, you’ve might’ve heard us talk about the church life cycle. 

With the release of my latest book a few years back, The Unstuck Church, we’ve been periodically sharing about the 7 stages of this cycle and how churches can reach sustained health.

unstuck-church-life-cycle

However, there is one phase that can be more complex than the others. It slips up on you, can be triggered by a variety of challenges, and is much more confusing than the other stages in the cycle:

The Maintenance Phase

Churches are often in this phase for months, and possibly years, before they are aware of it. They might have an established vision and mission, have strong leadership, strong giving and implemented strategies to support their ministry.

While everything looks healthy on the surface, there are some subtle characteristics that suggest a church could be entering the maintenance phase. One common indicator?

Stale vision.

Every church needs a vision. It is crucial for developing your ministry, making church decisions and deciding where you are headed next. As your church grows and changes, the vision also needs to be refreshed. When the how of the vision trumps the why, you will find yourself in the maintenance phase.

Every church needs a vision. It is crucial for developing your ministry, making church decisions and deciding where you are headed next. Click To Tweet

“When the how of the vision trumps the why, you will find yourself in the maintenance phase.”


Chances are that you have experienced this at some point between the launch of your church and now. But, the good news? Churches don’t have to live in the maintenance phase.

Yes—making changes is difficult, but with healthy leadership and a a clear ministry strategy, you’ll lead a thriving church in no time.

When the how of the vision trumps the why, you will find yourself in the maintenance phase. Click To Tweet

So, where do we start?

  1. Understand the difference between a mission and a vision.

A mission statement defines why the organization exists. The mission rarely changes throughout the existence of the church. A vision statement clarifies where the organization is going in the future. The vision should be refreshed every few years based on the direction of your ministry.

When our team works with churches, we help churches define a 3-5 year vision.

The vision should be refreshed every few years based on the direction of your ministry. Click To Tweet
  1. Work with a team.

This needs to be a collaborative process with your leadership team. You want (and also need) your team to be on board with pursuing God’s vision for your church.

From there, engage other leaders within your church. While you need a small group of leaders to develop and refresh your vision, incorporating other leaders within your church will put everything into motion.  

  1. Be bold about your changes.

Something we often tell churches is that vision attracts + repels. It will upset people, and may even cause some people to leave your church. And, it will cause others to buy-in to what you’re doing even more. However, uncomfortable change is often necessary for your church to become the church God designed it to be.

Uncomfortable change is often necessary for your church to become the church God designed it to be. Click To Tweet

The maintenance season is tough. However, refreshing your vision will drive the necessary changes that need to be made to help revive your church from this phase.

To create a thriving ministry, you need a clear perspective of where you are today. Unsure of where your church is in the life cycle?

Check out our free Unstuck Church Assessment to help you and your team learn to better lead your church into sustained health.

 

TAKE THE FREE UNSTUCK CHURCH ASSESSMENT

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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