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Relationship, Relationship, Relationship

It is all about relationship. Three of the four drivers in Readiness 360 measure relationship health.

  1. Spiritual Intensity measures the intensity of a faith community’s relationship with God.
  2. Cultural Openness measures the degree of acceptance of those who are different than the dominant culture in a congregation.
  3. Dynamic Relationships measures the health of current church relationships of all sorts – among generations, among old timers and new comers, among workers and consumers, among paid people and those who pay them, among the church and its community partners, and so on.

When we seek to tackle improvements in this area – three gigantic issues come up:
1. The quality of teamwork in the congregation.
2. The nature of hospitality and attitudes toward new folks and outsiders.
3. The challenge of relating with the current generation of young adults ages 18-30.

As you might imagine, these really are three different issues. If you choose to work on Dynamic Relationships, please pay attention to what you see in your church’s report. Start with the themes or topics suggested in the Leader Tips. Often the first leader tips deal more with teaming than with welcoming worship guests. This may be because the Leader Tips section starts with areas where there is more latent strength already present.

Big lessons revealed through our work with congregations who have taken the Readiness 360:

1. Teamwork issue number one seems to be our attempts to do too many things with far too few people. Few churches really observe our RULE OF FIVE when it comes to ongoing ministry: either you have at least five people teaming together to do it, or you put it on sabbatical until you can get five.

2. Hospitality issue number one is not the presence or lack of helpful greeters, nor is it it the quality of food presentation and coffee hour. While these may be less than stellar, they are not the main challenge. The big issue is our need to understand and accept that we are a people for others. The church exists to serve others, even to engage with others, and to design ministry with others in mind, first. Too many churches exist with an insider-club membership mentality – to hell with the rest of the world.

3. With young adults, issue number one, so far as we can tell, is poor presentation quality in worship and children’s ministry. Other issues include perceptions of judgmental tone and substance in our messaging and doing church life in ways that seem very grandmotherly and dated. We highly recommend the Barna report Making Space for Millennials, even with its $39.95 pricetag!

These challenges do not lend themselves to quick fixes. They each cut deeply into our long-engrained habits and they ask of us significant change. If you would like to assess the health of your church’s relationship culture as it impacts your church’s ability to create ministry that multiplies disciples, purchase or sign-up with your judicatory leader for Readiness 360. If your report yields one or more of the challenges listed above, you may consider contacting one of our partnered organizations for coaching and/or consulting.

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