The U.N.I.S.O.N. Approach to Church Health
Over the past 15-20 years the emphasis in the "church world" has been on church growth. There have been numerous strategies and plans espoused as being the foolproof route to a growing church. The reality is, if a church is not healthy, any growth that stems from any strategy will be short-lived and ultimately will do more harm than good. From years of observation, prayer and trial and error, I would suggest the following.
Uncover: This is sort of like going to a clinic for a complete physical. There are issues in most churches that are covered by layers of programs, traditions and the like. These issues must be uncovered so that a plan can be devised to deal with them.
Needs: The first item which must be exposed is NEED. What are the needs of the people? What are the needs of the community around the church? What are the needs of the church? The process of uncovering these needs involves question/answer; surveys; observation, and of course, prayer.
Interests: The next area of concern which should be brought to the surface are the interests of the people the church and the community. These interests will create an intersection between the church and the community where connections can be made. Ministries will grow along these connections as those with common interests are brought together.
Strengths: Every church has strengths and weaknesses. Many hours and dollars are spent trying to shore up the weaknesses while the strengths are left to fend for themselves. If the strengths of the members and the corporate strengths of the church are uncovered, harnessed and put into action the cause of the kingdom will flourish. God gave those strengths (talents, gifts, experiences, personality traits, etc.) to prepare the church for the assignment He has for them.
Organize: Once the needs, interests and strengths of a church have been uncovered, specific plans can be laid for meeting the needs through the interests and strengths of the body. People are liberated to function within the church according to their strengths and interests rather than be "guilted" into filling a position that causes them to stress. The organization process is then done ...
Naturally: Rather than trying to put round pegs into square holes, the needs and interests and strengths are brought together, "fits" are found and ministries are birthed where the needs, interests and strengths intersect. This is taking into consideration the fact that God puts people in the church (local) according to their abilities and the assignment He has for that particular body. It also considers that when we don't find the interest or strength to fit the needs we discover, we can "pray the Lord of the harvest that He would thrust forth workers into His harvest."
Of course, there is much meat to be put on these bones, but at least this gives a basic structure to build upon.