A local church sought my advice a few years ago in reversing their decline in attendance. All their questions were programmatic—What kind of music does your church play? What do you wear on Sundays?How do you present announcements?Do you serve coffee and donuts?
All they seemed to be looking for was the right tweak in methodology that would attract people.
While methods can make a difference, programmatic changes alone are not going to turn a church around. When a church is in decline, the problem has a much deeper root. So I told that church that what needs to be addressed is not a program, a method, or a ministry, but the church’s soil.
The soil is the church’s culture—the complex blend of norms, beliefs, attitudes, traditions, and (yes) practices that define a congregation. Every church has a culture, and it has a tremendous effect upon the potential fruit the congregation can bear for the Kingdom.
Soil Affects the Harvest
Jesus used soil as an analogy ...1