Editor’s note: This article is adapted from the “11 Signs You Need To Recalibrate” message Superintendent Jason Garcia shared June 4 with the Pacific Coast Japanese Conference.
If our methods aren’t producing new disciples, we need to recalibrate. Here are 11 signs recalibration is needed:
- You become more in love with your method than you are with His mission.
When your liturgy becomes more important than your effectiveness or fruitfulness, we need to recalibrate. Europe is full of empty cathedrals reminding us that following a method meant more than bearing fruit. When our liturgy gets in the way of the Great Commission, we need to recalibrate.
Build traditions that keep church members looking forward for them to stay impacting and relevant. Build traditions that are redemptive in nature.
Developing a culture of constructive assessment is vital. Every year, our churches should conduct an audit on what’s working and why it’s working, and what’s not working and why.
- People are not getting your vision.
Your vision may not be clear, compelling or communicated often enough. Your structure may not support your vision.
- You are doing all the work.
If you are doing all the work, you are not doing His work. Equip other saints to do the work too. Otherwise, how do you expect your church to multiply?
“Pass on what you heard from me … to reliable leaders who are competent to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2 MSG).
- We don’t understand the culture we are trying to reach.
As we minister in a postmodern or post-Christian culture, we may be answering questions nobody is asking. We may produce people who do not know how to navigate culture or address their identity in Christ within the cultural context.
Biblically literate Christians who are culturally illiterate create their own subculture. Paul knew the nuances of his surrounding culture before he introduced Christ (Acts 17:16–34).
- You are not being intentional about reaching the next generation.
The church has a holy responsibility to actively target, instruct and nurture our young and established families. Our children’s spiritual, emotional and physical well-being are the foundation to societal health. “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
It also is imperative to respond with a Spirit-led, all-out effort to reach teens. “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done” (Psalm 78:4).
We must also reach young adults and singles. Millennials are on the verge of reshaping the foundation of American culture. We pray that a demographic known for their hunger for authentic community, their desire to be mentored and their causal/activist nature will experience an encounter with the Creator.
- You are either afraid to change, not willing to change or don’t know how to change.
The person afraid to change is often a people pleaser, lacks faith to bring about needed change, has been wounded, or is not in a safe environment to change. They need to be encouraged and empowered.
- You are afraid of metrics.
Metrics serve as a platform for improvement, not a weapon to hurt you.
- You mistake community service as evangelism.
Offering a cup of cold water will quench a person’s physical thirst, and then you can introduce the One who quenches their spiritual thirst.
- You think deep, but not out.
Jesus walked 3,200 ministry miles during his active ministry. The gospel is an interval sport. You burn calories ministering. You pray, rest and then burn more calories.
God has equipped us all with the ability to think deep thoughts, but He has called us to actively burn calories reaching out to neighbors, colleagues friends and enemies. Most of our churches mistakenly believe people will come to us if we open the doors.
- Nobody comes back or visits.
Prayerfully and intentionally assess why people are not attending. Invite a recalibration coach to visit and help you assess why people are not visiting or staying.
- The senior pastor quits praying with church staff and/or the congregation.
Leadership that doesn’t model dependency on God produces people who don’t depend on God.
Nothing a pastor does is more important than communicating and modeling our need for God. Communicating clever sermons to the church body is great. Praying with the church body is vital.
Here are the first steps toward recalibration:
- Get away and ask God to create a white-hot sense of mission.
- Recalibrate your structure to drive your vision
- Understand and love the people you are trying to reach.
- Get coaching.
- Commit to change or re-launch.
Jason Garcia is the superintendent of the Pacific Coast Japanese Conference and the leader of the Rize church-planting network.
1. Do our methods, liturgy and traditions bear fruit?
2. What do we need to keep, lose and recalibrate?
3. Is your vision clear or compelling enough?1