Our denomination, the American Baptists, have initiated a time of discovery and learning through an initiative called “Transformed by the Spirit.” In this initiative, they are seeking to help local ABC churches understand how to most effectively minister in the new cultural reality the church finds its self in. Lakeview Baptist Church is participating in the discussion.
For more background on Transformed by the Spirit and our church’s participation in it, check out Transformed by The Spirit (Part 1).
To learn what members at Lakeview Baptist Church named as their “Adaptive Challenges,” check out Transformed by The Spirit (Part 2).
Recently, ABC churches from all around the state of Michigan sent in their “Adaptive Challenges.” These challenges were then organized into 8 broad issues. Here are the 8 adaptive challenges identified (in no particular order)
1. Priorities and Competition: The Church increasingly competes against many other claims on time and energy, and no longer has a place of priority in many people’s lives.
2. Communication and Attraction: The vocabulary, methodology, theology, and institutional identity of many churches today fail to attract and communicate effectively with people born since about
3. Discipleship and Spiritual formation: Discipleship in the commitment and growth of mature and faithful followers of Jesus Christ is increasingly difficult to achieve, especially for new members and upcoming generations.
4. Church Institutional and Denominational Identity: The difficulties in having people understand and appreciate church identity in a specific church body and its connection to the American Baptist heritage, and theological and biblical beliefs.
5. Conflict within the Church: The church faces challenges of maintaining understanding and unity while facing diversity, pressures, scarcity and change.
6. Stewardship and Resources: The stress of multiple demands and limited financial resources presents a challenge for accomplishing ministry.
7. Leadership development and support: Training and equipping pastoral and lay leadership would help churches adapt to changing needs and opportunities for ministry.
8. Missional Outreach and Evangelism: Ministry in the local context must become creative, compassionate and consistent in response to the needs of the community in order to communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Pastors and church leaders across the state of Michigan were asked to rank those challenges according to what is most pressing in their local church context. I’ll post the results soon.