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Small Changes Matter

Small changes matter! Back in 1979, Air New Zealand TE109’s flight coordinates were off just two degrees, but that resulted in the airplane crashing into a mountain. A typo in updated software sent the plane 27 miles off course. Clouds obscured the mistake until it was too late.

System dynamics are rarely addressed in churches today. Andy Stanley has said, “The conversation in the hall trumps the vision hanging on the wall. Systems create behaviors.”

What systems carry the highest priorities for CABA churches? The North America Mission Board analyzed 175 Baptist associations and found four keys to effectiveness. Do these sound familiar for your church?

1. Leadership/Vision – this included both leadership within the church as well as the pastor. An overwhelming number of pastors could not adequately state a vision for their church.

2. Sunday School/small groups/discipleship – basic programming. The need involved both organization needs as well as training.

3. Outreach/Evangelism – very few pastors could identify an intentional outreach strategy.

4. Community/Family/Social issues – pastors knew issues connected to their community, but generally did not know how to adequately connect with the community.

Small changes are important! And some changes are more important than others. Choose carefully — and prayerfully!

SIDEBAR: Other findings...

  • When it came to church planting, churches recognized the need, but “there generally was a low level of readiness on the part of the churches.”

  • The top 10 giving churches to the Cooperative Program and to the Association usually represented about 75% to 80% of the total giving. The association needs the smaller churches to do their part.

  • Collaboration among the churches is usually low. There seems to be an inability or unwillingness for churches to work together. In addition, pastors tend to be isolated.

  • Pastors understanding the Purpose of the Association was usually rated low. This is an educational challenge.

  • The spiritual vitality of the churches was often low as well as the spiritual vitality within the region.

—provided by Hugh Townsend, former NAMB associational consultant and now DOM in the Atlanta, Ga., area.

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