July 6, 2021

Our Church is on LIFE SUPPORT. What’s Next?


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If your church ends up here, you need to close your doors or experience a relaunch. 

Many churches would choose to die rather than experience a rebirth. It’s that attachment to the past, though, that leads to the church’s ultimate demise. If you’re able to take the right steps, you can lead your church through this season. 

We’ve worked with more than 400 churches over the last ten years. Here’s what we typically see in Life Support churches: 

What do we do next?

In this stage, you’ll need to either close and relaunch, or find another ministry to acquire your church. 

  • Embrace a New Mission:

Begin by Re-establishing Why the Church Exists

You must clarify the why before you can move forward with the what and how. That’s key at this pivotal moment.  That’s the challenge for churches stuck in life support.

When revisiting your mission, go back to two key challenges Jesus gave us all in the greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself (Matt. 22:37–40). You can’t go wrong if you design your church’s mission around loving God and loving others.

If you can rally enough people around that mission, you have a foundation in place for the necessary changes that must follow for the church to return to health.

  • Go Back to the Start:

It’s Time to Relaunch a New Life Cycle

There are three options you can choose from to move the church from life support to a relaunch:

  • Option 1: Fire Yourselves

Try this exercise: Imagine that your entire leadership team has been removed and a new team is going to start. What would you tell that new team? Help the new leadership understand what’s working, what’s broken, and what’s missing. Communicate the new initiatives they need to tackle and the things the ministry needs to stop doing.

Once the departing team has confirmed that new direction, become the new leadership team. Start over, but this time follow through with everything you just talked through. Let go of old attachments. You need a fresh start.

  • Option 2: Hire a New Pastor

And give that person the appropriate authority to initiate changes. It’s most likely going to be difficult for a team that’s been involved in the church for years to make the changes necessary to create a new start.

The current staff and lay leadership team needs to give this new leader the freedom to chart a new direction. One good way to begin moving in this direction is to hire an executive search firm to find this new pastor.

  • Option 3: Give the Keys to Another Church

At some point, a conversation needs to happen around the stewardship of God’s resources. If your church owns its facilities, you have an asset that the right church could use for kingdom impact. Either they could relaunch ministry in that location or they could sell the property and reinvest the resources in ministry initiatives. Either way, it would be much better for those resources to be used in a way that’s producing fruit.

What got the church to life support will not make it healthy again. It’s time for God to begin a new work. Are you willing to join him in that mission? 

A Comprehensive Guide to the Church Lifecycle

If your church is stuck in this stage of the Lifecycle, we may be able to help. There is still hope, but you probably need help evaluating a church merger or a relaunch with a strategic plan and good leadership to accomplish it.

We’d love to learn more about your church and how we can serve you well. If you’re interested, let’s talk

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