Some years ago my wife, myself and our two sons had the opportunity to serve as “secret shoppers” for a local restaurant chain. We were reimbursed the cost of our meals each time we ate at their restaurant as long as we filled out a survey form. One of our friends got us involved in this program. We enjoyed it. We noticed why they were doing this program and I think churches can borrow this idea and use it to help their ministries improve now and into the future. Here is how.
First, regularly survey your first time guests to ask them about their experience as they visited your campus. You want to look at your ministry through their eyes. Yousee your ministry through your eyes all the time. You need to catch a glimpse of yourself through their eyes or you’ll not know what to adjust or adapt in your ministry or what to get rid of. Ask for their perspective about you and your ministry and I mean all aspects of it.
Secondly, learn what to measure. The restaurant we secretly shopped at has all but gone out of business. They didn’t get “it” right and the public let them know it by refusing to eat at their restaurants. My guess is they failed to see themselves as their customers did. They valued different things than their customers and they failed to perform in the right areas. They didn’t measure themselves in the right areas or ways and it cost them their livelihood. Churches must measure the right things in the right ways if they hope to improve and increase their impact for Christ in their communities. This takes courage because most of us don’t want to hear bad things about ourselves. I hate to fail and I’m sure most of you reading this do too.
The restaurant had the same decor for years…and I mean for years. Their seating was outdated, weary and worn. Their lobby was old, tired and outdated. Their lighting was poor. The flooring was the same carpet and tiles for decades. The paint, wall paper and ceiling tiles were the same for years. The menu was old and nothing new added to it. It ended up being your “grandfather’s” diner not yours. They failed to update…everything and they waited too long to make needed changes to keep people coming back or to attract first time customers.
Thirdly, update your ministry! Keep your ministry and property fresh and new. Give your campus a face-lift regularly. Be sure to schedule renovation projects on a regular basis. Say every 3 to 7 years. There is a difference between giving your buildings a face-lift and renovating them. Click here to get some help understanding the difference.
If you have been doing ministries in the same way, in the same place, with the same curriculum or program for years it is probably past time to change it up. Things grow stale over time. Programs have a “shelf life”. The wise person knows when they are out of date and have out lived their usefulness. They recognize when it is time to make changes. Click Here to learn how to make innovative changes in your ministry and programming.
It is now estimated that we are closing 6,000 – 8,000 churches a year. George Barna estimated in 2007 that 340,000 churches in our country were in need of revitalization. 85% of the churches in our country or either plateaued or in decline. There is a great need for churches to improve how they go about the Great Commission.
What happens if you fail to update your ministry and campus? I believe you will plateau, then begin to decline and eventually die just like the restaurant chain. The problem is this process often sneaks up on us and we aren’t aware of it until it is too late. Just like the restaurant chain.
Let me recommend the following resources for small and medium size churches that need to update their facilities along with how to raise the money.
Give me a call if you wish to talk about your next steps to update your ministry and campus. I’ll be happy to talk with you.
Have a great weekend.
Ministry Design Coach
Equipping and Encouraging Leaders
More Resources to help you: