By Rev. Dr. Hal Bilbo
I have been directionally challenged since my youth. I have been lost in the woods, lost in the city, and somehow, I’ve even been lost on the beach. No one on earth is more grateful nor dependent on GPS than I.
How can you know your church is on the right path? Is there a GPS for your church? It obviously must tap into the people God has given you. Spiritual gifts, talents, vocations, and life experiences of church members point your church toward a future. What kinds of ideas ignite a passion? Which church activities give or deplete energy? Your church already has everything it needs to take the next step. God adds the right people along the way to become all He desires your church to be if you are faithful to take the next step. We do walk by faith, not by sight.
Another directional sign for your church’s future story is found in how your community is changing. How will your community be different in five years? If God chose to bless your church, what would be different five years from now in how you worship and serve?
Community demographics and projections can be helpful to think in future tense. Data resources exist that can plot your church membership on a map, revealing where your church’s presence is strong and lacking. I’ve had the joy of leading church leaders through their community in a “windshield survey.” It is one thing to see data in a report but seeing with our own eyes invokes reality. Neighborhood needs come alive in us and call us to pray and get involved.
So, what is your next step as a church? What and where does God want your church to be five years from now? How would that give glory to God?
These thoughts are from Rev. Dr. Hal Bilbo, one of our associate partners in ministry living in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. Hal has served over forty years in helping churches find their why. He also serves as Eastern NC Church Relations Manager for Baptist Retirement Homes Foundation. Follow up with him for more information.