Keeping Your Church Young

By Dan Reiland

Churches age and churches die. But intentional leadership can make that divine journey significantly longer and much more spiritually productive. There are several things you can do to help keep your church young, alive and vibrant even though the chronological aging process continues.

This post isn’t about an ecclesiastical fountain of youth. However, I believe “aging” can pivot to “maturing” by making a few key decisions and commitments towards keeping your church young.

1) Choose young leaders.

Mature staff are extremely valuable on your team. Their experience is needed for successful ministry. However, the absence of young leaders, lots of young leaders, is a decision to allow your church to age unnecessarily.

Some churches don’t like to use young leaders. It’s messy. Young leaders lack experience, I know. But young leaders will keep things alive and fun. Young leaders are also full of energy and great ideas; they help you stay relevant with current culture and vision for the future.

Leadership development for your leaders, and especially for your young leaders is essential. 

2) Place a premium on children’s ministry.

When I say premium, I mean choose great leaders, invest significant time and energy, and be as generous as possible with the budget. Without this you are absolutely capping your ability to reach your community.

Please don’t confuse relevant ministry to children with childcare. They aren’t the same. In order to reach kids you need to keep up with the world they live in. That world is fast-paced and built around technology. When you add to that mix loving adult leaders who truly care about children, you create a winning program that the kids will love.

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3) Design your Sunday morning service with a relevant feel.

What is and isn’t young and relevant is subjective. But the big issues are clear. First, choose your music wisely. If you are still singing and playing the stuff we did in the 90’s, it’s time to freshen up what you do.

Second, involve young leaders on the platform. The young musicians and singers will lead you to younger music and a younger vibe overall.  Again, this attracts young people to your church!  If you are thinking, “What about the older people, don’t they matter?” Of course they do. I am one, and I can still make a difference. But we should be more mature. We know that this is not about us, the mission is to reach the lost, and if you reach the next gen, other generations will follow.

Last, make sure all the components of the service reflect a young culture. As you think about humor, video, illustrations, art and especially technology, think young.

Again, if you focus on a younger crowd, the older generations with join in. If you lean toward older, the young will leave.

4) Invest in the next generation.

Raise up and train young leaders, invest in student ministries, and champion the call to vocational ministry among your young adults. Communicate that you believe in the next generation! They are the future!

The vision of the church must capture the young people, and at the same time be compelling enough that older generations get excited about the vision in such a way that they will invest both time and resources. Let’s face it, middle-aged and older generations have no trouble loving and believing in kids; just watch a grandparent with their grandchildren!

This article was originally published at: DanReiland.com

Let Go and Become New!

By Cathy Spangler

In the last decade, it has become popular on television to see different make-overs.  Sometimes it is a wardrobe, haircut, and make-up that bring a drastic change.  But other times entire homes are transformed from run-down to state-of-the-art in just a few days!

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Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor. 5:17).

In this day of “make-overs”, the verse above seems easy to understand.  God gives us a new look: a better and healthier one for sure!  But the Apostle Paul is not referring to our outward looks, although many times God changes our appearance, too.  This verse talks of a new life: something that requires a deep changeon the inside.  I used to think that was a one-time whammy that comes in the salvation experience.  But now I realize this making of me into a new creation is also a process that is ongoing!

“And I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you.  I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (Ez. 36:26).

When God removes our stubbornness, he does so in order to release us to be all that He created us for.  He empowers us.  He gives us the ability to overcome discouragement and emptiness!  Heenables us to love Him and others like we never could before.  Hehelps us look past difficulties to the victory beyond.  And hefills our hearts with trust and faith!  All this comeswith a flood of peace and contentment!

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Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception.  Instead let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.  Put on your new nature, created to be like God-truly righteous and holy” (Eph. 4:22-24).

Did you know that we have a responsibility in this “make-over”? God gives us a new nature, but we have to put it on!  We let the Spirit change our attitudes by paying attention to the Word and applying it as we come to understand it, a little at a time. 

“Forget the former things.  Do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Is. 43:18-19).

Part of becoming this new creation is LETTING GO of the past.  “The old life is gone…” So often we limit ourselves because of fear and failure in the past.  The “what – ifs” keep us from getting out of our boat of safety and comfort and walking to Jesus out there on the water.

Do we want miracles in our lives? Do we want to walk in the glory and fire of God? Of course! So, quit holding on to the past and take a chance on a NEW walk with God, in His light and in His Spirit.  We can access power beyond our wildest dreams.  We can see financial breakthroughs by faith.  We can see our loved ones delivered, saved, healed and protected.  Really!

That’s what it’s going to take in this end-time season.  Let’s expect!  Let’s receive!  Let’s let go and become NEW!