Transformed by the Spirit Initiative Adaptive Challenge Survey Summary January 1 st to 30 th, 2012 American Baptist Churches of Michigan

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1 Transformed by the Spirit Initiative Adaptive Challenge Survey Summary January 1 st to 30 th, 2012 American Baptist Churches of Michigan Adaptive Challenge: A. Priorities and Competition: The Church increasingly competes against many other claims on time and energy, and no longer has a place of priority in many people's lives. B. Communication and Attraction: The vocabulary, methodology, theology, and institutional identity of many churches today fail to attract and communicate effectively with people born since about 1960 or between people with diverse cultures, experiences and ethnicities. C. Discipleship and Spiritual formation: Discipleship in the commitment and growth of mature and faithful followers of Jesus Christ is increasingly difficult to achieve, especially for new members and upcoming generations. D. Church Institutional and Denominational Identity: The difficulties in having people understand and appreciate church identity in a specific church body and its connection to the American Baptist heritage, and theological and biblical beliefs. E. Conflict within the Church: The church faces challenges of maintaining understanding and unity while facing diversity, pressures, scarcity and change. F: Stewardship and Resources: The stress of multiple demands and limited financial resources presents a challenge for accomplishing ministry. G: Leadership development and support: Training and equipping pastoral and lay leadership would help churches adapt to changing needs and opportunities for ministry. H: Missional Outreach and Evangelism: Ministry in the local context must become creative, compassionate and consistent in response to the needs of the community in order to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. rating (1 low 10 high) th rd nd th th th th st Rank of Rating

2 Transformed by the Spirit Initiative Adaptive Challenge Survey Comments January 1 st to 30 th, 2012 American Baptist Churches of Michigan 1. A. Priorities and Competition: The Church increasingly competes against many other claims on time and energy, and no longer has a place of priority in many people's lives. 2.8% 8.3% 5.6% 5.6% 5.6% 25.0% (9) 13.9% % We are not called to "build churches" but rather to "make disciples." If discipling is taking place, it won't matter what other events or "things" are competing. If our focus is on gathering larger numbers, however, this is of grave concern. / Here is an article about the idea that we are not supposed to be making people "churched", but rather "saved" preaching articles/trevin wax unchurched or unsaved what our vocabulary reveals about our beliefs 1135.asp?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium= &utm_campaign=BetterPreachingUpdate / People commit to and attend whatever they find to be most important in their lives. People say that they can't sit through church, but become active in Eagles and Elks because that's what they want to do./ Perhaps the words of Jesus that refer to the love of people growing cold in the last days reflects the time of distraction and diversion of people's devotion or commitment to Christ and to the priority of God's Kingdom work through the church. Cultural changes, non conventional work schedules, economic changes, neighborhood changes, ethnic and religious diversity, many options for time and energy/ How do we get people involved? / Answering the question of Why Church? Many have concluded that church is not needed for their walk of faith. / Lack of interest (be involved in hobbies, secular activities such as sports) than to learn about spiritual things / isolationism within society / Trying to reach and find commitment within a culture of self interest and busyness / Diversion of interests and priorities that make church programs and ministry difficult and funding challenging. 2. B. Communication and Attraction: The vocabulary, methodology, theology, and institutional identity of many churches today fail to attract and communicate effectively with people born since about 1960 or between people with diverse cultures, experiences and ethnicities. 18.8% (6) 31.3% (10) While the cultural issues mentioned are 'distractions', people are still looking for spiritual experiences, but unfortunately, few churches provide them. Churches need to find new ways to get involved in the

3 lives of people. / This adaptive challenge rings true about the church's need to change its way of communicating a biblical vision, but it does not change the way people are thinking or are less open to hearing the message because of a shift of worldview. Overcoming our cultural Christian baggage, attitudes, traditions, historic heritage (i.e. women wearing pants in church, using projection screen instead of hymnal)/ bringing new people in, need to market the church / aging congregation with very few young families with children / building relationships / understand the culture we live in, reinterpreting the gospel as needed in regard to worship, outreach, diversity, and younger generations / unchurched generations younger than baby boomers are not reached by traditional methods / declining membership that results in declining revenue and aging of congregation / retaining youth / reaching post moderns / feeling that we don t have anything to offer / lacking confidence and faith in God / rise of secularism and diversity in society / there is no longer a dominant Christian culture / the social expectation to go to church and to be involved is no longer present / relativism gives the idea that no person can tell another person what is right or wrong / differences in culture between the generations in music, dress, etc. / Ministry to our Community We struggle to find tangible ways to meet the needs of people in the community around us. / How to integrate year olds? / How do we minister to the Worship Styles needs of five generations of worshippers? 3. C. Discipleship and Spiritual formation: Discipleship in the commitment and growth of mature and faithful followers of Jesus Christ is increasingly difficult to achieve, especially for new members and upcoming generations. 31.3% (10) 15.6% Jesus commanded us to make disciples; unfortunately, the church has not done a very good job at this in years. We've made church members, but have not taught people how to duplicate the ministry of Jesus in the world (which is how I understand what a disciple is). / Discipleship is critical, but the problem may first rest in the matter of communicating a biblical vision and following Jesus' pattern of discipleship in ways today that were not possible in the past (such as online education, webinars, and Youtube). Utilizing effective methods of evangelism/ lack of confidence, passion, excitement/ fear of change what will we have to give up?/ continue our own spiritual growth / stay true to Biblical foundations / accommodation to culture resulting in sinful behavior among church members / lack of direction, members felt that a reason for not doing God s work was a lack of training and a feeling of inadequacy / people do not leave the familiar and comfortable (like Peter not leaving his former occupation of fishing) because they tend to be reactive instead of proactive. People let life happen to them instead of creating the life they want. / Lack of interest, alternative interests in hobbies, secular activities and sports than in spiritual things / Christians say they believe in a God who is actively and personally involved in human affairs when in reality they don t believe it / When we do not believe that God answers prayer, or that He hears us, or that He shapes human destiny, then we might as well go fishing (like Peter did for lack of faith)/ Developing disciples who are focused upon Christ and His Kingdom / How do we inspire people to grow in their faith? / How do we minister to immorality lovingly without condoning it? / Commitment We struggle to have a deeper level of commitment both inside and outside of the church / Lack of church leadership (individuals unwilling or unable to lead)/ Church leaders' lack of ability to effectively educate and prepare members for change/ Apparent complacency and indifference of a vast number of church attendees.

4 4. D. Church Institutional and Denominational Identity: The difficulties in having people understand and appreciate church identity in a specific church body and its connection to the American Baptist heritage, and theological and biblical beliefs. 15.6% 18.8% (6) Few people care about denominational affiliation any more. In fact, many are anti denominational, but people will come to a church no matter what the label or affiliation if it is doing effective ministry. / Most people today don't care about denominational tags. That's partly because they don't know what they believe nor why they believe it. / This is a problem that must be addressed, however the diversity of theological and biblical beliefs in the denomination and in our churches has made this a greater challenge. Lack of denominational loyalty / Feeling we don t have anything to offer / identity that sets us apart from other churches and denominations / denomination and regional long term decline in churches, members, and financial support. 5. E. Conflict within the Church: The church faces challenges of maintaining understanding and unity while facing diversity, pressures, scarcity and change. 18.8% (6) 15.6% Was there just no place else to put the sexuality question? It really doesn't fit the rest of the list. / The key problem with conflict is that we avoid it until it festers into unhealthy patterns of disconnection and division in worship or issues of leadership. At the same time, we allow unbiblical interpretations to take the church hostage in matters of sexuality and moral accountability by agreeing with popular culture or scientific theories that run against biblical teaching. / Continuing personal tensions / pride / polarization: theologically, culturally, politically / need to address the question of unity / Transparent Community We struggle to be open, honest, and trust each other. Our diversity, while it is a huge blessing in Kingdom life, presents the additional challenge of authentically connecting with each other / Church members' resistance to change/ Risks associated with new, innovative church initiatives. How do we address sexuality in light of biblical and scientific study?

5 6. F: Stewardship and Resources: The stress of multiple demands and limited financial resources presents a challenge for accomplishing ministry God pays for His vision! / God will provide the resources to do everything He has called us to do. / Refer to comment on #1 about the purpose of the church. The 1st priority is not to have members and care for them with ministry. It is to reach the lost. / Lack of money / Building is built for a much larger congregation, difficulty in maintaining it / the last generational group that attended and gave regularly to the church is now in the mid 1970s / trying to maintain ministry while reducing staff / addressing decline in membership, mission and giving / Vision and Planning We struggle to be more proactive rather than reactive to changes in economic environment. We struggle to provide growing ministry due to increasing costs and decreasing revenues/ Avoidance of short and long term planning. 7. G: Leadership development and support: Training and equipping pastoral and lay leadership would help churches adapt to changing needs and opportunities for ministry. 6.5% 9.7% 16.1% 16.1% 22.6% 25.8% (8) The future of full time paid professional leadership is going to be more difficult, especially with less commitment and more competition for financial resources. / Positioning pastors/leadership to go after transformation in Christ themselves may well establish a precedent that our pastors/leadership are ministering out of God's power and not human effort. / Leadership burnout / Training leadership / trying to maintain ministry while reducing staff / Instilling hope for moving the church forward today seems to be fading for many pastors and lay leaders. How do we train new pastors without making them go into serious debt?

6 8. H: Missional Outreach and Evangelism: Ministry in the local context must become creative, compassionate and consistent in response to the needs of the community in order to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ. 6.5% 12.9% 22.6% 22.6% 25.8% (8) The church must never lose its evangelistic edge and looses credibility when it fails to be a relevant resource and witness within its surrounding community. / Many churches are inward focused and devolve into 'religious clubs.' Having an outward focus is always an uphill battle. / I'm not sure what is meant by this point. We should seek to lift up Jesus Christ in as many ways as possible as often as possible to as many as possible. So if that is what is meant by "creative, compassionate, and consistent" then I agree with a "10." If the intent is that being "creative, compassionate, and consistent" somehow replaces the Holy Spirit and that people will be attracted because we put on a good show, then I disagree strongly and would score a "1." Be known in the community / paradigm shift from expecting people to come to us to going to them / The substitution of politics for evangelism. Christians try to legislate morality rather than live a moral life. Christians don t take time to find out the qualifications of a candidate, but vote for those who give lip service to their theological point of view. Doing this is easier than evangelism, so it replaces evangelism / The culture change in shifting populations such as Mexican American, or middle class lower class / increasing isolationism in our society / responding to the needs of the poor / ministry to special needs children / Outward Focus We struggle to spend our ministry resources outwardly as much as we do inwardly. We struggle to find the balance in things for us and things for them. / How do we energize our congregants to become involved in personal ministry outside of church activities?

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