kill? execution? local church?

Hey!  The first words of a blog should probably grab your attention – right?  Wow – the pressure.  How am I doing so far?  Let me introduce myself.  My name is Rich Birch and I work in the wild world of church stuff.  This post is suppose to give you a sense of what this blog will be all about.

A number of years ago the “mission/vision statement” craze hit the local church. Before you knew it every church was developing a memorable, compelling, and motivational statement that were used to codify the organization with laser sharp focus. Everybody was really happy with their statement and believed that this was going to help them say “yes” to the sort of things that would help them move forward and say “no” to the stuff that would distract them. Here are just a couple statements that I found with a quick google search:

“To love the people of Cincinnati into relationship with Jesus Christ and give away to the world what God has given us.”

“We exist to welcome people to faith; equip people with a faith that works in real life; and send us in service into the world in Jesus’ name.”

“We are called to make disciples for Jesus Christ.”

“Helping Others Experience the JOY of Jesus Christ”

“Transforming individuals into empowered disciples of Christ.”

“To worship God, to make disciples of Jesus, and to serve the world.”

“To make more and better disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Or even the mission statement of my own church:
“Our mission is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Does it strike you odd that with the multiplicity of churches in North America how similar all of our mission statements are? Boiling the vast majority of statements down we end up with some variation of – reach people with the message of Jesus . . . grow those people up in their faith . . . care for and love people. I guess it’s not surprising that we are have the same mission. We are after all following the same God . . . reading from the same book . . .

If our “defining statements” that guide our organizations are so similar why is there so much diversity in the church? Maybe a little bit more to the point . . . how is it possible for a church that is thriving, growing and impacting people with the message of Jesus share the same common dna as a shrinking church that is meerly a shadow of those statements?

I think one possible answer could be execution – the ability of a local church to connect it’s vision for the future into reality. This online discussion is going to look at that intersection – ideas & reality. We’re probably going to ask far more questions than we answer but I think the dialogue will be helpful!

What about you? What are some “killer churches” that you know? Churches that have been able to make their vision connect with reality?


  1. I’ll be watching this blog with interest, Rich!

    Some impacting first words there – a first post that sure held my attention!

  2. I think this is a really interesting point Rich. I wonder if part of the problem is that we have a structure, that often, is so rigid that we end up fighting the fluid, diverse, active response God wants to work in our world. When God created humans to have relationship he created beings that would have diverse perspectives and interactions, free-form and always changing, built for relationship. Relationship being key to our solutions. Relationship here was not just meant for humans together but with God as the head and heart, the motivation and the director. As humans, we are unable to grasp all of God, and so we focus on how we can respond. How can we organise ourselves? Being human, this means structure and something to get our head around and control ourselves. Structure Vs. Free-form relationship. Demonstarting love is (I think) where we put ourselves as church and where our best intentions are but where our flawed nature causes division to come in.
    Diversity and Structure don’t mix so well, so we break apart to smaller structures. Denominations, groups, churches specialize in specific aspects of God they see and understand. I don’t know if this is healthy or simply what we give God to use but I know he uses it. But I can’t help wondering though, if we broke our churches down in division enough wouldn’t it just be individuals? and then we’d be back at the start different people needing to relate to each other and learning to love the diversity that God create us to be, with him as Lord.

    1. I think any church that manages to focus on loving relationship while being flexible enough to explore the different outworking of what God whats us to do to live that out is a great place to be

      Alex is a current Member of The Meeting House (Uptown site) Toronto, Canada
      and previously was involved in a YWAM Cell Church in Nuneaton, UK

  3. I think we’ve done a really good job here at CNex! (With your help of course!) When I look at how our congregation has evolved in the past 18 months I think we’re definitely moving toawrd our vision, and I find that immensley encouraging.

    Another factor aside from execution that heavily weighs in I think is interpretation. Two churches with the exact same mission statement could interpret them in two totally differnt ways. This also could account for much of the diversity in western church. Peoples likes, dislikes, preconcieved ideas and values will inevitably sway how they interpret and ultimately execute any given idea.

    Take the bible…. the text at it’s core has been the same for 2000 years. How many different interpretations and executions have we seen of that?

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