Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Church do's and don'ts - from Michael Durrall

I thought this was worth re-posting from the UU Growth Blog.

It's by Michael Durrall. If you haven't read his books, The Almost Church, and the Almost Church Revitalized, read them. Just read them, you must.

I. Things churches should do

Once and For All, Get Serious About Your Congregation’s Purpose. Seeking beauty and truth doesn’t cut it. Church is more important than that.

Finding Capable Leaders is Worth the Time and Effort. Church leaders create a congregation in their own image, for better or worse.

Create a Growing, Healthy Church. The #1 way to accomplish this is to raise the expectations of membership.

Your Church May Not Be For Everyone. If potential new members don’t agree with your expectations, this is not their church. Uncommitted souls drag a church down.

Identify Unmet Needs In Your Community. You don’t have to look far to find someone who needs a helping hand.

Touch People’s Hearts and Souls. People don’t always act for rational reasons.

Don’t Settle for Less. Going to church means we are not satisfied with the fern-bar quality of contemporary life.

Evangelism Could Be Fun If Your Church is Worth Talking About. Don’t want to talk about your church with others? Maybe it’s because there’s little to say.

Develop a Sense of Urgency. When the devil hired a representative to do his work on earth, he hired the one who said, “I will tell people there is no hurry.”

Everyone’s a greeter. If first-time visitors experience loneliness, a very common occurrence, they won’t return for a repeat performance.

Ask new members to reach the 5-10 percent giving level. Why not? They may say OK. Actually, all members should be asked to do this.

Give away the Sunday offering and 5-10 percent of the operating budget to outreach beyond your own four walls. Not a single person should say your church can’t afford it.

II. Things churches should not do

Don’t allow too many laypeople in the Sunday service. Sunday morning cannot be amateur hour.

The quality goes in before the invitation goes out.

Don’t sit around and wait until new people show up. Reach out to cohorts, such as single-parent families, or those recently divorced or widowed.

Church shouldn’t be just one more thing on the calendar. Church is not akin to a kid’s soccer game.

Don’t let the same people run the church for years on end. Even though they will try to.

Don’t perpetuate the past. Most churches appeal to those born before 1955.

Don’t try to keep malcontents happy. An unhappy person can remain unhappy for a very long time.

Don’t let uninvolved members make major decisions by forcing congregational votes. Keep membership roles current.

Don’t form unnecessary committees. The fewer, the better.

Don’t let members hold the congregation hostage by threatening to withhold pledges. Enough said here.

Don’t tell people a job will be easy and doesn’t require much time or effort. Especially true of key leadership roles.

Don’t take excessive money from endowments or income-producing properties to supplement the operating budget. This creates an uninvolved, low-pledging congregation.

Don’t keep pledge records secret. The ministers, board chair, and stewardship committee members should have the pledge records. The higher the secrecy, the lower the level of giving work.

Visit Michael Durall online at and


Blogger Nicky said...

I love this but its very scary. Have been wondering recently if the Minister's role is seen as maintaining the local culture

6:21 pm  

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