Formulating Church

I have been trying to figure out ways of visually representing life in the church.  One idea I have been tinkering with is using formulas.  In many church meetings, we seem to struggle with not have a common language to talk about our ministry and the problems we are dealing with.  When looking at attendance or money, I often hear the question “what is our problem?”  From a systemic point of view though, there are several problems.  How though to convey the situation easily?

Using formulas to visually represent the information might be helpful.  Undoubtedly someone seeped in math or science would find this deeply problematic, but I think it might be helpful in conveying information and creating a common language.  Two formulas I have been playing with are:

  • Rootedness + Mission + Vision + Accountability + Passion = Thriving Church
  • Happenstance + Reputation + Opportunities + Invitation = Visitors

I worry formulas might seem inaccurate, crass, or too simplistic, and yet, the churches I serve need a common language and a way to think about our ministry.

Einstein’s Lecture notes.” ©2012 Copyright Martin Lopatka.  Licensed Under Creative Commons.

Life Lessons: You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

I have often been accused of being “Captain Obvious.”  Yet, sometimes I find that what is obvious is the hardest for people to embrace.  In a recent church service, I was leading the announcements as I usually do.  I opened it up the announcements to the congregation and a person shared the church’s proceeds from a grocery store card program.

I was surprised, I had no idea the church had a grocery store card program.  So I made a comment noting my surprise.  One of my parishioners said something jokingly like “shame on you!”  I asked how was I to know about it when this was the first I heard of it?

I learned in divinity school “you don’t know what you don’t know” after scheduling classes for the first semester and then learning the United Methodist church and my conference had required courses.  It caused logistical problems for my remaining semesters.  In hindsight it seems obvious, but I had no idea.

One problem in churches is that we assume people know.  We take for grated that people know where something is, where to sign-up for something, or that a program even exists.  Yet, too often, we fail to communicate what seems obvious and in doing so we lose out.  If I had known the church had a grocery store card program, I might have shopped at the grocery store and used the card.  What I find really amusing is that even after I said I didn’t know about it, did anyone show me how to enroll?  No.

Socrates.” ©2003 Copyright Sebastià Giralt.  Licensed Under Creative Commons.