How do we find the right people to rebuild a church? Or even build on something that’s plugging along fine? Do they need to be of a certain generation? Have a certain income or skill set? Do you prefer lifelong members of your church or new blood?
I’ve found that they need to be none of the above, and all of the above. Looking back at the patterns of people who’ve nudged a church towards renewal I notice a core pattern, but beyond that it can be just about anyone. Longtime members can be a force for rebuilding, yet so can folks who are brand new. All kinds of skill sets are needed, and most people have something to contribute.
If you’re looking to do a bit of church rebuilding, seek people who:
- Love the church, deeply but not uncritically.
- Love one another, however imperfectly.
- Will put in the work, over a long period of time.
- Are willing to try new things every once in a while.
There’s layers of nuance and tension in all that but I think it’s a good start. We never know what God has in mind so there’s no such thing as foolproof. Even in the best of circumstances it takes years to unfold so it takes commitment and patience. Faithfulness, time, and a capacity for change can be fertile soil for something that might surprise us.