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9 Things That Worked in the Church a Decade Ago That Don’t Today

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So you entered into church leadership full of enthusiasm and fresh ideas.

And for a season, a lot of those ideas worked.

You saw your ministry grow, people come to faith and the mission advance.

But times change.

And—these days especially—culture is changing faster than ever before.

As a result, the shelf life of ideas, assumptions and approaches is shorter than it has ever been.

What used to work, doesn’t. Not anymore.

The challenge is to know what’s stopped working and what hasn’t.

Not everything that worked a decade ago in the church was great. But the truth is many churches saw growth anyway.

And that’s changing and will continue to change.

What got you here won’t get you there.

Here are nine things that used to work in ministry a decade ago that aren’t nearly as effective as they used to be.

1. Relying on an automatic return to church

There was a day when you could fairly safely assume that once young adults got married and had a child, they would automatically come back to church.

Those days are gone or largely gone. (You can catch more about what’s changed in Episode 24 of my podcast where I interview David Kinnaman, President of Barna Group.)

The average unchurched person doesn’t think about going to church any more than the average Christian thinks about going to synagogue. It just doesn’t cross their mind.

Having an exceptional next generation ministry that reaches out to the community is critical.

Want a better way to impact families? I know of no better approach than this.

The Orange strategy is the strategy we use, and our kids’ ministry is the fastest growing ministry at our church.

You can’t assume families will reach out to you, so you need to reach out to them.

2. Appealing to people out of guilt or obligation

The number of people who feel guilty about not being in church on Sunday shrinks daily.

Ditto with the number of people who will serve at a church because they feel they should.

Interestingly enough, Jesus never appealed to people out of guilt or obligation. He invited people.

The future church will as well.

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