Adapt or die.
The longer I spend in pastoral ministry, the more convinced I am of that truth. Especially in small churches.
The good news is, because of our size, small churches have the ability to adapt more quickly than our larger counterparts. Like steering a speedboat instead of an ocean liner.
Because of our size, small churches have the ability to adapt more quickly than our larger counterparts.
Sadly though, that’s not our reputation. Of all the parts of the body of Christ, small churches have a far greater and more well-earned reputation for being stubborn, static and refusing to adapt than any other segment of the church.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We can be the innovation leaders, as we have been historically.
For instance, every year when Americans celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday, we’re reminded of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, 37 of whom were members of the same small church. Yes, a small church founded the United States of America!
There are many instances of small churches changing world and church history, including the Azusa Street revival and the collapse of European Communism, several of which I mention in The Grasshopper Myth.
Today’s post is an updated version of a previous post from this site, Adapt Or Die: 6 Ways to Create a Change Culture In Your Church.
But this is not just theory or history. It’s a present-day reality. In the last 23 years, I’ve watched as the church I pastor has transformed from a static, dying place into a vibrant, innovative change agent. And there are many other small churches doing the same.
And no, we didn’t compromise our core values to do so. They’ve actually been strengthened because of it. (See point #3, below).
Here are six steps that many innovative small churches have taken to become nimble and adaptable.
1. Figure Out How to Say “Yes” to New Ideas
This may be the #1 way for a church to become adaptable and innovative.