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To Dream Again
The bell curve I used in Sunday’s sermon was from Robert Dale’s book, To Dream Again: How To Help Your Church Come Alive. I had actually read the book back in the early 90’s. When going through the material Dr. Siburt left with us I was reminded again of the “life cycle of a congregation” and decided to work it into Sunday’s presentation of our congregational vision.
Robert Dale wrote that there are four ways to revitalize a church. The easiest is policy change. You simply adjust the way you do things. A second strategy is to change personnel. In Churches of Christ this typically means fire the preacher or get some elders to resign! Another approach is to create new program structures. Change policy. Change people. Change programs. Each might have a place in the process but the most basic, fundamental approach must first be to clarify purpose. Dale writes, “the best way to revitalize a church is to define and act on its fundamental purpose. A new dream awakes a congregation.”
Some other quotes from To Dream Again:
“A church need to be committed primarily to its dream goals and only secondarily to its program structure. Programs too weak to extend the dream should be allowed to die: new programs refreshed by the dream must be planned.”
“Goals and budget are closely intertwined. But goals precede budgets. Goals are set first, then budgets are developed. Otherwise the budget becomes the accidental goal system of the church. Either we fund our dream or we probably just dream of funds.”
“The ministry you want to provide or the goal you want to attain determines the structure you use. Formal organization is important because it either helps you reach your ministry goals or creates a barrier which frustrates ministry and dulls the dream.”