Starting Lent Early?

8 Mar

It may seem like my lack of posting of late has been down to an early start to lent. It hasn’t. Instead there was the prospect of a 5,000 word essay to be done in a week which I thought I had 2 months to complete. Gulp.

While the essay itself is too sensitive to post in my ‘papers‘ section (the last few essays have involved critiquing a church of my choice), I can share the gist of what I wrote about and some of my method.

The essays purpose was to look at the relationship between a churches purpose (its mission, goals, objectives) and its culture (it’s values, policies etc.). Would you believe it that the two impact on the life of the church!

The main part of the essay was coming up with ways to assess a churches purpose and culture. I came up with 7 analyses to do just that:

  1. Declared Purpose Analysis – take a look at the vision/mission statement, along with any other documents the church has produced to promote its purpose. Essentially, what does the church claim is it’s purpose?
  2. Ministry Analysis – take a look at how the church spends the precious commodity of time. What does the church actually do?
  3. Budget Analysis – take a look at where the money is being spent. What does the church spend on? (Warren is big on these two in The Purpose Driven Church)
  4. Demographic Analysis – take a look at who goes to the church. Stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason! (Keller says as much in his recent article on Church Size and Leadership Dynamics)
  5. Anecdotal Resistance Analysis – take a look at decisions that have met particular resistance, these could be a window into what the church really cares about.
  6. Historical Influences Analysis – take a look at the events and landmarks that have shaped the church. We are in part a product of our past.
  7. Survey Analysis – take the time to speak to the people who make up the church, ask them questions.

I’m sure there are more ways of assessing the purpose and culture of a church but there’s 7 I came up with. Try them on your own church to see what jumps out.


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