Church Readiness Discernment Tool

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1 Church Readiness Discernment Tool Degree of Readiness Degree of Relatedness Hi Relatedness Low Relatedness Success is higher and risk is lower when readiness and relatedness are higher. Risks involved in turnaround are: 1. Investment of pastor s time, energy, expense and family emotional well-being. 2. Investment of funds in the promotional and resourcing aspects of turn-around. 3. Negative influence of a failed attempt upon the community, congregation and denomination. The following questions help to determine the degree of readiness and relatedness. DETERMINING READINESS Readiness is the level of passionate commitment and resourcing (time and money) as well as healthy congregational structures and spirituality that can be leveraged toward a significant change effort. The tools used to determine readiness are: A. Pastoral DISC evaluation, spiritual gift analysis and leadership interview evaluated against the turnaround pastor profile. B. Lay leadership completed church profiles and interviews. C. Congregational NCD survey. PASTORAL READINESS determines the readiness of the current pastoral leadership to embark upon turnaround. 1. Is pastoral leadership is available? Is the church pastored now? Is the church seeking a pastor? If the latter, is there evidently a pastor available soon? 2. Does the pastor have passion for and sense a call to turnaround ministry? What is the level of commitment the pastor has toward leading the church in a turnaround? 3. How well does the pastor s gift mix and leadership style fit with the needs of the church and opportunities in the community? 4. How much experience does the pastor have in similar situations and how much knowledge and capability does he bring to the setting? 5. Does the pastor exhibit a sense of confidence that he is capable in turning the church around?

2 LAY LEADERSHIP READINESS determines the commitment level of local leaders to turnaround. 6. How do you characterize the leaders and key influencers of the church regarding a sense of urgency? 7. How do you rate the energy level of the leaders and key people of the church? 8. How do rate the lay leaders openness to change (hi readiness being more open)? 9. Are the available financial resources adequate to assist the church in a turnaround effort? To what degree are the leaders prepared to sacrifice for the future of the church? To what degree are outside resources available for a turnaround investment? CONGREGATIONAL READINESS determines the overall health of the church and its corporate ministries. 10. How empowering is the leadership via healthy discipleship, mentoring, delegation and encouragement? 11. To what degree are the believers sensing encouragement and freedom to use their individual gifts in ministry? 12. How passionately spiritual is this church given evidence of regularly engaging the means of grace? 13. How functional are the structures of this church, allowing ministries to be aligned and freedom to reproduce? 14. To what degree does the church sense inspiring worship? 15. How would you characterize the church s commitment to spiritual growth through holistic small groups? 16. To what degree is this church reaching the lost through need-oriented evangelism? 17. How would you characterize the truly loving relationships experienced among the believers in this church? READINESS SCORE IS THE AVERAGE OF THE TOTAL SCORES OF 1-17.

3 DETERMINING RELATEDNESS Relatedness is the level of connection and fit that the church shares with its surrounding community and culture. The tools used to determine relatedness include 1) Pastor completed church profile, percept demographic study, windshield survey and facilities evaluation. 1. The current ration of churches to population is: Low High 2. The population in this region is growing: Rapidly Declining 3. The median age of the people in the church and community is: Very similar Very different 4. The ethnic/racial makeup of the church and community is: Very similar Very different 5. The socioeconomic level of the church and community is: Very Similar Very different 6. The current church ministries tend to be relevant to the needs of the community: 7. The educational level of the church and community are very similar? 8. The family makeup of the church is very similar to the community? 9. The religious makeup of the community tends to be receptive to this church s religious views and practices? 10. The appearance of the church building inside and out is attractive and relevant to the community? 11. The church location is accessible to the community? 12. The church facility layout is functional to the needs of the community? 13. The reputation of the church within the community appears to be Very good Very bad 14. The percentage of church attenders and members that live in the nearby community is Very high Very low

4 The percentage of people in the nearby community who are already churched is Very low Very high 16. The pastor s culture, lifestyle and leadership style seem to be a good fit for the community? RELATEDNESS SCORE IS THE AVERAGE OF THE TOTAL SCORES OF Hi Relatedness Hi Readiness Lo Relatedness Hi Relatedness Lo Readiness Lo Readiness Lo Relatedness Hi Relatedness THIS CHURCHES SCORE IS.. TO PLOT THE LIKELIHOOD OF SUCCESS READINESS FOR THIS CHURCH TO BE REVITALIZED RELATEDNESS DRAW A LINE INTERSECTING THE SCORES. Low Readiness and Low Relatedness indicates a level of loving hospice care for the church, and an eventual closure. The liquidation of the property should be reinvested in a new church plant in another location. Low Readiness and High Relatedness indicates the need for serious attention. The church is needed in the community, and could have a very effective ministry if they were prepared to actively engage a missional mindset and do the work to get ready.

5 High Readiness and Low Relatedness show a probable need for a renewed missionary mindset and cultural metamorphosis. If the church is willing and capable of making major cultural changes, it has a good chance of revitalization. High Relatedness and High Readiness shows a church that is likely a sleeping giant. Visionary and high-energy leadership may be most likely ingredient to revitalize this church. QUESTIONS In examining readiness consider If the church is very much out of touch with God and their community then fostering an attitude consistent with a legacy church is appropriate. Depending on the size of the gap between readiness and relatedness, much may need to be recommended. However, focus one several key deficits that reveal themselves from the analysis that can be legitimately addressed in the short term. Bear in mind that the Minimum Factor of the NCD analysis will help provide direction for this, and the process engaged in NCD will foster the creative juices and provide a systematic approach to increased health. The best question is, how can the church leverage its core strengths to bolster its current weaknesses. Truly 80% of a church s ability to turn around rests in leadership, most often pastoral leadership. If the pastor s profile is far from the Profile of a Turnaround Pastor and/or he or she is unwilling to commit to changes in leadership style and goals, then it is very unlikely the church will experience a positive change. Questions to consider in evaluating relatedness: Can the church group effectively reach the community group if there is very little compatibility between their communities? Are there enough similarities to make some meaningful connections or for community visitors to feel welcome and at home? What kind of church does the congregation need to become in order to effectively reach the community group? What kind of changes must take place for the church group to reach the community group? Will converts from the community group feel culturally, ethnically, socially and generally comfortable in the church group? Will they eventually leave, longing for more of a culturally similar connection? What changes might be needed in order to assimilate community group people into the church culture and ministry? What kind of church will the church group eventually become if they are successful in reaching the community group? What might the church look like in five or ten years? The following two pages provides a simple grid for brainstorming and sorting through all of the issues that impact relatedness and readiness.

6 READINESS ISSUES Enhancing Factors Inhibiting Factors GOAL(S)

7 RELATEDNESS ISSUES Enhancing Factors Inhibiting Factors GOAL(S)

8 SPARC Team Recommendations GOALS PRIORITIES INITIAL STRATEGIES

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