• In this presentation we address this key question
tackling the following topics:
• Definition: What is a Missional Church?
• Diagnosis: Why do local churches die?
• Strategies: How to revitalize congregations?
• Q & A
4. MISSION: A DEFINITION
• Carlos F. Cardoza-Orlandi defines mission as the
participation of the people of God in the divine
missionary activity in the world.
• In other words, all missionary activity is a testimony
to what God (not the Church, denomination or
missionary institution) does in the world and how
that testimony creates a new relationship between
God and creation.
5. PARTICIPATING IN GOD’S MISSION
• “The Church that participates in God’s mission in the
world incarnates itself in the world to be a sign of the
Gospel of the Kingdom (as an object of mission), to
discern God’s missionary activity outside its
institutional reality, and to be transformed, together
with the world, through participation in God’s
mission (as subject of the mission of God).”
• Cardoza-Orlandi, Carlos F., Mission: An Essential Guide (P. 47)
6. MISSION AND EVANGELISM
• Evangelism is just one of the many dimensions of
• Through evangelism, the Church proclaims the
Gospel to those who consider themselves as "non-
believers”, inviting them to have an encounter with
the truth of God in Christ by the power of the Holy
7. A DIVINE ENTERPRISE
• The Church in the United States of America is at a
• Swift cultural and demographic changes are forcing
the church to redefine itself as attendance dwindles.
• And one of the key questions in this environment is:
How can we develop and lead missional churches?
8. A DIVINE ENTERPRISE
• We must emphasize that the Christian mission is a
divine enterprise. God is the subject of mission. It is
God who empowers us and drives us to fulfill the
• Therefore, God and humanity are partners in
mission (2 Cor 5: 18-20).
9. A CONTINGENT ENTERPRISE
• The concept, theologies and practices of mission
have changed and will continue to change
throughout the history of Christianity.
• Therefore, theologies and practices of mission must
be contextual and temporal. They should not be rigid
10. A MULTICULTURAL
• The missionary enterprise is linked to humanity and
creation as a whole.
• Theologies and practices of mission have greater
vitality in contexts where missionary efforts are
intercultural and interreligious. Where they are
integrated to daily life, Christian worship, Bible study
and theological reflection.
11. MISSIONAL CHURCH: DEFINITION
• A missional church is a congregation that, in obedience
to the Gospel, seeks to actively participate in God’s
activity in the world.
• “A missional church is a…community of faith that
primarily directs its ministry focus outward toward the
context in which it is located and to the broader world
beyond” (Carlson). It engages the community at-large,
understanding that “mission” encompasses more than
13. AS CULTURAL CHRISTIANITY
• Becoming a missional church is more important than
ever before, given the changes in the culture and
demographics in the United States.
• While racial-ethnic congregations continue growing,
“Cultural Christianity” is in decline. We cannot
expect for the pews to be filled with people who just
happen to be looking for a church!
14. MORE CONGREGATIONS FIND
THEMSELVES OUT OF STEP…
• Congregations stablished according to an
“Christendom model” of Christianity—also called
“attractional”—sought to reach out to the culture and
draw people into the church.
• But this model requires no significant cultural shift
when moving from outside to inside the church. And as
Western culture has become increasingly post-
Christian, the Christendom or attractional model has
lost its effectiveness.
15. SO THEY DECLINE AND CLOSE
• Unable to understand the cultural changes and
unwilling to change, congregations developed under
the Christendom or attractional model decline and
• In order to avoid such fate, local churches must
become missional churches, motivated by a strong
and clear vision of God’s preferred future for them.
16. A SLOW EROSION
• Absent revitalization, congregations in crisis
experience a slow and almost imperceptible erosion.
• It is rare for a long-term church member to see
erosion in his or her church. Decline is everywhere
in the church, but many don’t see it.
17. RESISTING CHANGE
• They resist change, clinging to a past that they see as the
“hero” and yearning for the “good old days”.
• They stubbornly hold on to worship styles, fixed orders of
worship and times of worship that have no positive response.
• Some even hold on to buildings and rooms, particularly if a
given space was a “memorial,” named for one of the members
of the past.
• Some would not even recognize the authority of a new pastor,
revering the memory of a former one.
18. FOCUSING ON THEIR OWN
• But more than any one item, dying churches focus
on their own needs instead of others. They look
inwardly instead of outwardly. Their highest priority
is to keep running the church the way they have
always done it.
• Sadly, they do not realize that they are choosing
death over change.
19. CARING ONLY FOR
• The inward focus also affects finances. The
emerging financial pattern is to use funds more to
keep the machinery of the church moving, and to
keep the members happy, than to fund the
• This inward financial focus reveals that the church
cares more for its own needs than for the community
and even the world.
20. REPLACING THE PASTORAL
• The typical solution to stagnated churches is to
replace the pastor.
• Unfortunately, congregations with short pastoral
tenures tend to decline even faster because casting
a vision and implanting a ministry plan based in
such vision takes from 7 to 9 years. A local church
that pushes the “reset button” every 3 or 4 years
21. LEAVING TOO EARLY
• It is evident that pastors and their leadership are
vital to churches.
• The problem is that many good leaders are leaving
churches before they reach their prime leadership
years at a church.
• That certainly is the case with most local churches
22. A CHURCH NEED…IT IT IS…
• Refocusing if stagnant in size. (It needs to have a clearer focus on
evangelism and outreach.)
• Reenergizing if declining in size. (It needs to deal with some internal
issues and begin to reach its community again.)
• Restructuring if a church that has experienced substantial decline. (It
needs large internal changes and a new outreach strategy).
• Restarting if near death. (A church with a long history of decline that
will close if current trends continue. It needs to restart with new
leadership or an entirely new church.)”
• Excerpt From: Ed Stetzer & Mike Dodson. “Comeback Churches.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/CW4lA.l
24. PRINCIPLES AND STRATEGIES
• It is clear that the Church in North America must
devise strategies for renewal and growth.
• In the following section we will explore such
• First, we will state principles for growth. Second, we
will offer concrete strategies for renewal.
26. #1: A MISSIONAL CHURCH
NEEDS A COMPELLING VISION
• A Missional Church needs a compelling vision.
• The Pastor must lead in this process, casting a vision that
captures the imagination of the Church.
• However, the leadership of the congregation must contribute
to the development and implementation of the vision.
• An effective vision becomes the “song of the heart” of a
congregation. An effective vision cannot be imposed
27. THE VISION WILL REDEFINE
• When leaders in a church are passionately clear about
their vision, two inevitable results transpire.
• First, some will not be attracted to such a vision and will
not join the congregation. Some may leave to find a
church that is a better fit for their gifts and passions.
• Second, others will be attracted to the church because
it reflects at least an aspect of their gifts and passions.
The result is a congregation that is unified in its vision.
29. #2: A MISSIONAL CHURCH HAS
A CLEAR PURPOSE
• A Missional Church has a clear purpose.
• Its leadership feels called by God to fashion and
lead a congregation that offers specific programs to
• Such sense of call motivates the church to stay
focused on the Gospel and on the needs of the
community at large. It also guards the church
against developing an inward-focus.
30. ABOUT THAT OUTWARDLY
• Missional Churches have an outwardly focused
• The key component of their vision is to reach those
who are not yet part of the church.
• They are passionate about reaching “seekers” and
unchurched people. Their visions they
communicated inevitably reflected this priority.”
31. #3: A MISSIONAL CHURCH HAS A
MISSION FUELED BY ITS VISION
• The vision and sense of purpose or call of the
congregation form the basis on which to develop a
clear and compelling mission statement.
• Such statement must be short and easy to
remember. It also must be summarized in a short
and memorable slogan.
• The mission will stress the area or areas in which
the congregation will seek to be excellent.
32. AN ENVIRONMENT OF
• “An environment exists in the breakout churches
that can best be described as an ‘environment of
excellence’…Everything the church does and is gets
measured against a barometer of excellence. From
the cleanliness of the nursery to the quality of the
preaching, “good” is never enough. The church
• Excerpt From: Thom S. Rainer. “Breakout Churches.” iBooks.
33. #4: MISSIONAL CHURCHES
APPROACH CHANGE GINGERLY
• Although change is needed in order to move a
congregation to be a missional church, change is never to
be an end in itself. Innovation is not “the answer” to all
• Missional leaders are balanced in their application of
innovations. They typically bring few changes,
implementing them slowly and with discernment.
• They see change as a tool that could enhance an already
34. GROWTH DEMANDS IT
• “The innovations that were eventually implemented
came because the healthy growth of the church
• Excerpt From: Thom S. Rainer. “Breakout Churches.” iBooks.
35. #5: MISSIONAL CHURCHES
NEED TRANSFORMED LEADERS
• In order to lead change in a congregation, the
Pastor—as leader of the church—must first be
• Following what Maxwell calls “The law of the lid”,
leaders can only lead effective change if they boost
their own leadership capabilities.
• A church inevitably experiences noticeable gains if
its leader moves just one level.
36. LEADERSHIP AND VISION
• “Leadership was rated as the number one factor by
the churches that experienced revitalization.
Leadership and vision are major keys to any type of
turnaround in churches.”
• Excerpt From: Ed Stetzer & Mike Dodson. “Comeback Churches.” iBooks.
37. #6: MISSIONAL CHURCHES
WORK AS TEAMS
• Missional Churches exude teamwork and
compatibility among staff and key lay leaders.
• They develop a culture that seeks and finds the right
people who are then equipped to accomplish the
roles of ministry for which they have been given
• Once equipped, they are given authority to carry out
38. #7: MISSIONAL CHURCHES
FOCUS ON DOING FEW THINGS
• Missional churches focus on doing a few things and
doing those few things well. They do not attempt to
carry out all of the passions of the leadership nor to
respond to all the desires of the congregation. They
also cannot to meet all of the needs of the
communities where they serve.
• They seek to develop a culture of excellence in their
39. IN SUMMARY…(1)
• Pastors initiate change
• Share ministry
• Plan intentionally
• Have and transmit a clear and compelling vision
• Develop new leaders
40. IN SUMMARY…(2)
• Establish a clear vision
• Transmit the vision with conviction
• Communicate the vision regularly
• Celebrate the vision systematically
• Commit personally to that vision
• Your local congregation must have an intentional
strategy to welcome visitors.
• Ushers and deacons should hand out visitors
packets with biblical readings, a informational
brochure, contact info, etc. You may even hand out
CD’s or DVD’s fashioned for newcomers.
• Remember to collect demographic data and contact
• Your local church needs an effective discipleship
• Supplement the curriculum resources on this area
adding a thorough discussion of the vision, mission
and purpose of your congregation.
• Offer clear benchmarks for discipleship, such as
daily quiet time, participation in Church life, etc.
44. EFFECTIVE PREACHING
• Preaching is a key element for growth. The average visitor
will pay more attention to the quality of the sermon than to
the quality of worship.
• The lead Pastor should preach an average of 40 Sundays
each year. Visitors tend to be discouraged when someone
else is preaching, given that they intended to hear the lead
• Sermon series can be very effective, particularly if tied
with a seasonal theme.
45. PUBLIC PRAYER
• Visitors tend to appreciate public pastoral prayers in
Sunday worship for the sick and for those in need.
• Prayer in small groups can motivate people to
attend the weekly prayer meeting.
46. PASSIVE MEMBERS
• Churches in distress tend to ask the minister to seek
former and “passive” members. However, most
people who stop attending a local congregation for
more than six months rarely return.
• Although you should organize some special events
for this population, this is not an area of potencial
growth for your local church.
47. PASSIVE EVANGELISM
• Pay attention to “passive evangelism”, i.e., the
location of your church, the way in which your
church building looks and the signs that identify your
• Location is also an important factor for growth. A
church building located in an isolated place will not
• Congregations should have a line item in there
budget for advertising. A 5% of the total budget
would be a modest amount for this purpose.
• Ads must be professionally designed. They should
also be general enough to be durable. Do not waste
money in promoting a one-time event.
• Families that receive an average of two pastoral
calls a year tend to stay in the church more than
those who never receive an official visit from the
• People who feel that their Pastor is concerned about
them tend to attend worship more often that those
who feel neglected.
50. ADD A SUNDAY SERVICE
• Congregations that add an additional Sunday
service tend to grow by up to 20%.
• New services can explore new worship styles,
targeting different populations.
• Webcasting one of your Sunday services can also
widen the reach of your local congregation.
52. FOOD FOR THOUGHT
• I hope and pray that these insights help you move
your local congregation to be a Missional Church.
• Moreover, I hope and pray that these insights help
you energize your own relationship with God and
your passion for ministry.
55. • Bandy, Thomas G. Coaching Change: Breaking Down
Resistance, Building Up Hope. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000.
• Bullard, George. Pursuing the Full Kingdom Potential of your
Congregation. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2005
• Cardoza-Orlandi, Carlos F. Mission: En Essential Guide.
Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002.
• Carlson, Ronald. Definition of a Missional Church, available at:
56. • Rainer, Thom S. Autopsy of a Deceased Church.
Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2014.
• _____. Brakeout Churches. grand Rapids:
• Stetzer, Ed and Mile Dodson. Comeback Churches.
Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2007.