From Surviving to Thriving Book Study

We continued our congregation revitalization book study, From Surviving to Thriving: A Practical Guide to Revitalize your Church, by Rev. Dr. John H. Krahn, on February 12th and 26th.  Here are some of the highlights from the first 3 chapters. 

Chapter 1: Stop Making Excuses and Start Doing Something

  • On an average Sunday, only 18% of the population in the USA attends church.
  • Before Christ ascended into heaven, he gave his followers the imperative to go and make disciples of all nations.  It was not an optional activity. 
  • The church’s mission is to know Christ and to make Christ known. 
  • It is the church’s and every individual Christian’s mission to take the gospel into the home, into the community, and into the entire world.

Chapter 2:  Get Your Church’s Financial House in Order

  • Money in and of itself is not evil.  It is only evil when we make obtaining it the first priority in our lives.
  • Giving and giving generously are acts of worship.
  • “Show me your checkbook, and I will show you your God.”
  • Getting your financial house in order is the first thing you need to do to work on in revitalizing your church.  You need to be able to pay the bills first and buy time to be able to work on all the rest.
  • Look for ways to save the Lord’s money – bulletins, electric bills, light bulbs, contracts, etc. 
  • Ask every member to commit to daily prayer for the church and weekly worship. 
  • Encourage tithing (giving 10% of your income to the Lord) or working toward tithing.
  • Encourage members to remember the church in their will so they can witness their love for the Lord and their desire to help strengthen Christ’s ministry beyond their lives. 
  • A Church Endowment fund is the third leg of the stewardship program every church should have in place.  These funds are invested professionally with the idea is to give the church the benefit of the earnings while keeping the principal intact.  While the earning may be used for special projects, they may also be used to sustain the life of the church during difficult downturns in church attendance and giving.
  • Offer the opportunity to give electronically.
  • Be bold in asking people to support the Lord’s ministry at your church.  You are not asking in order to enrich your personal wealth, but you are asking people to both sustain and advance the work of the Lord. 

Chapter 3:  Invigorate Your Congregation’s Worship Life

  • It is essential we make the worship service an excellent expression of our love for the Lord.
  • Preach to people where they are.  Each sermon should strive to have a “take away”, something that every parishioner remembers throughout the week.
  • We need to be present every week at worship to remain on fire for the Lord.  God desires our weekly worship, and we need it.
  • Remove negative statistics from your bulletin.
  • Make sure your recessional hymn is one that everyone knows and loves.  If people leave smiling, they are more likely to return the following week.
  • Always pass the plate from person to person.  When the offering is collected, treat it with respect, lift it up to the Lord in prayer, and place it on the altar.
  • Worship is the hub of ministry.  If your church does anything with excellence, let it be the hour you spend together on Sunday mornings.  Everything else radiates out from that common experience. 
  • Worship is our weekly offering of thanks and praise to our gracious God.  God deserves the very best that we are able to offer.  Every week we should try, in every way possible, to invigorate the worship life of the congregation we serve.