Charlotte Wright, Resilient Congregations Program Director at the Brookfield Institute, has several ideas for how churches can act now to make sure they’re resilient in the future.
1. Get up and go forth. “It says this so many times in the Bible,” Wright says. “We’re always being sent by God.”
2. Make room for the future. “If you want to build on the future, let go of the past,” she says. That might mean simply decluttering, getting rid of the old hymnals to get new ones, or changing from an organ to a piano.
3. Turn out your pockets. Be generous, Wright says. Churches start operating out of scarcity, but shouldn’t have to continue indefinitely like that. Jesus was able to feed 5,000 people with fishes and loaves because of generosity.
4. Look outside the tent. Don’t go inward, Wright says, but look into the neighborhood around your church. See what the needs are in your immediate area as well as your community.
5. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to fail. If it makes it easier, call something a “pilot program” for a year.
6. Say yes to things. “Lead with ‘Yes,’” Wright says. Someone wants to try a new Sunday School program? Yes!
7. Start with humility. Get up, get moving, don’t get stuck. “I encourage churches to walk around the neighborhood, sit in coffee shops, ‘go and make disciples,’” Wright says. “Churches thrive if we open our doors but a lot of it is on faith. We don’t know what God is up to.”