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Congregational Life Cycle

(This was originally posted on November 18, 2019)

Do you know where your church is at on its life cycle?

All churches go through phases, some positive, some not so positive. The following graph has been helpful to me as I try to lead a church. But this graph isn’t just for the leaders. The entire congregation should take a look at this graph and then compare notes with those in leadership. Such a conversation could be very helpful (maybe not easy, but helpful).

The graph is a simple bell curve but look at the definitions of each place on the life cycle and see where your church is currently at:

  • Dreams: your vision for the future

  • Belief: those guiding beliefs and values that guide you towards your vision

  • Goals: setting specific things you want to accomplish

  • Structure: how you can best accomplish the goals and realize the vision

  • Nostalgia: starting to rest on the past

  • Questioning: wondering where the church is going, lack of clarity

  • Polarization: groups form and are not unified

  • Drop out: people leave the church or disengage from the ministry

So where is your church?

I’d love to hear if you found this helpful or if you would modify the graph in some way.

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