This the fourth in this series on the speech I gave to the Cornerstone Knowledge Network.
Part ONE – Things that Are Changing – find here
Part TWO – Things that aren’t changing but some say they are – find here
Part Three – Things that are NOT changing yet but are coming quickly – find here
And now the things that I thought should be changing by this time but have surprised me by not changing as quickly as I thought.
1. Green buildings – I really thought more churches would be building buildings to LEED certifications. I know many planners that started and wanted to build “green” buildings but were then discouraged by higher planning and building costs.
Of course those costs can be offset in future savings but it is harder on the front end to sell the finance team on this idea.
The incentives tax wise are more significant for businesses in this regard.
In Europe the planning councils and commissions are insisting that all public spaces be designed to these standards. I think this will be coming but is not here yet.
2. Encore generation targeted ministries – Demographically this should be “on trend.” As the Baby Boom ages there should be an explosion of “Encore” generation ministries targeting this group. Part of that would actually be church plants targeted at a 50 year old instead of a 28 year old. Another part would be subministries within churches targeting and utilizing these people.
We tried valiantly to find churches doing this and certainly found some great churches doing it. But commitment levels to these ministries by the Leadership Teams were very weak.
3. Healing ministries including some clinics. – This is another one that I think is needed for the future. Of course the current healthcare/insurance/policy debates could be now keeping some churches on the sidelines here.
First, I would say that churches have always led in this sector and reinvented the sector. From the establishments of denominationally owned hospitals in the late 1800s to the establishment of hospices a generation ago.
Second, I know that a good dozen or so churches are pioneering new versions of clinics to serve the poor. I think these are right on trend and help to authenticate the gospel in their communities.
I know of a foundation that has as its mission to help establish these types of clinics, plus the legacy of the sales of denominationally owned hospitals has left another funding stream for these innovative types of works.
But – I don’t really see it happening yet on a broad scale. There are several reasons for this including the mish mash of state laws across the country.
I am not going to get political here BUT
(a) IF a new national health law is enacted it will still leave millions uninsured and in need of health care.
(b) IF a new national health law is enacted I sense many currently practicing physicians who are of retirement age will retire creating a new volunteer base for these clinics. My experience is that doctors want to help and heal not mess with paperwork and bureaucracy. An opportunity to continue to use their gifts of healing will be welcomed.
(c) I think as the culture cries out for the integration of spiritual power and medical technology there is a gap for churches to fill to be the hands and feet of Christ to a hurting world.
But having said that, it ain’t really happening yet.
4. Office buildings away from churches being used as Church offices – I started sharing this idea about 10 years ago. I had observed that several churches used very valuable space for offices instead of other ministries.
So for example, they had very nice offices, convenient to parking lots and entrances that might be better used for other uses. This is especially true in churches with Christian education or a 7 day a week ministry of some type.
The complaint from many of these churches was “We don’t have enough space.” Actually, if they moved their offices down the street to a vacant office building, they would have plenty.
Office buildings are built to house offices. Church buildings should be built for church ministry.
With the rise of multi site churches I thought there would be more move to have a central office but it not be at a “primary” site in order to build the culture of being a church with multiple sites.
I have been wrong on all counts. While I know of a few churches that have “off site” offices, it is not a growing trend. I know some that debate whether to even have “offices” which I think is a good discussion. But we still seem to be building office space in church buildings.
I have been wrong before and will be wrong again. Frequently.
OK that is all I said in my speech. I am always looking to refine these lists so if you have something to throw in, either put it in a comment or email me directly. And if you want me to inflict these views on your group as well, let me know. It was a fun time with Cornerstone Knowledge Network