Church Readiness in the Future Tense

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Two weeks ago, I wrote about a three-dimensional model for organizational readiness. I’m thinking this model could be used as a tool to foster the changes needed to help a church move toward its desired future.

To become a driver of the future, you have to prepare yourself today as though that future had already arrived. Most churches design their discipleship and leadership development programs to meet the needs of their current situation. Very few focus on their future vision and work backwards from there.

When you train only for today, then when the future comes, you won’t be ready to enter it as a driving force. Instead, you will find yourself reacting to the onslaught of change (sound familiar?).

The only churches that thrive in today’s environment are those that set the pace for the future. By creating a readiness development plan that works backward from the future, your church can become a pace-setter in the whirling world of change

Are you ready for your desired future? It’s great to have dreams and aspirations, but you can’t wait until they happen to get ready for them. You have to start today preparing today.

It’s a bit like building the molds for pouring concrete. Whether you’re talking about huge hydro-electric dams or the foundations of a tool shed, the concept is the same. Concrete work always begins with building the molds that will hold the cement until it sets. In the same way, your congregation can prepare the molds for its future leadership needs.

I used to climb a little when I lived in South America. But I know for a fact that, if I wanted to try that again today, I would have to spend a lot of time getting ready.

So, how do you get ready as a church?

Start out by gathering your to ministry team and brainstorming about where your congregation is going. Once your vision of the future is clear, develop a list of knowledge, skills, and values that you’ll need in that future. Then create a plan for acquiring those things. Then, of course, you need to work the plan.

You can use the three-dimensional model of organizational readiness as a pipeline to the future. When that future comes, you’ll be ready to pour yourself into the mold because the mold has already been prepared.

Readiness Pipeline

was a missionary/church planter for 21 years in South America. Not only does he have the experience of working with church planting on the mission field, but he is also a trained consultant in strategy development. Greg assists churches in developing their people for ministry and designing a strategic plan that looks at organizational principles through the grid of a biblical worldview. Write Dr. Waddell at GregWaddell[at] or call him at 901.581.5735.

3 thoughts on “Church Readiness in the Future Tense

    • Thanks for coming by and sharing your questions. They are however very large questions that cannot be answered in a brief comment. In fact, I am writing the final chapter of a new book on Member-Driven Ministry where I want to envision what the future church might look like. In a nutshell, I see it as non-hierarchical, dispersed, free association, values and vision driven, and more responsive to the headship of Christ.
      Thanks again for sharing. BTW, may I ask you name?

    • Sorry, you also asked about how to measure success. Of course, there are many ways to look at that but I would include the these criteria:
      Are disciples being made? (Mt 28)
      Are lives being transformed?
      Are people encountering the living WORD of God?
      Is the church shaking up the foundations of popular culture (and popular religion) and defying the structures of oppression?

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