Carey Nieuwhof says “The fastest path to irrelevance is simple. Don’t change.” That should be a warning to us.
We should not only be relevant, but we should also show relevance by what we call things. For example, in my association we changed the name of the Associational Council/Church Strengthening Team to Leadership Development Team. That is something that will cause lay leaders (and even some pastors) to appreciate and see more value than before.
Do you have at least one signature event, project, mission trip, or cause? What is your association known for doing really well? For us, it is the Southside Summit, the Equip Conference, and our Kid’s Camps.
Here are some examples of things you can do to make your association relevant: Offer things like Ministry Couples Retreats and Pastors/Ministers Conferences that meet needs in addition to fellowship; call a part-time Catalyst for church planting, education, revitalization, etc.; partner with larger churches and/or your state convention; do things with excellence. Ask your large churches to host conferences and annual meetings, but make sure your quality, speaker, organization, and delivery are on a par with theirs.
Someone has said, “Influence flows down.” If you want more participation from larger churches (and some smaller ones), have events at larger churches where the expectation by having it there is greater attendance and that things will be done with excellence.
Appreciate whatever participation you get from larger churches and leverage it. You need ministers and laity from those churches to help assist your struggling churches. In addition, consider things like a Large Church Pastors Roundtables, Bivocational Ministers Conferences, Ministers Wives Fellowships, Ministry Assistants’ Fellowships, as well as Minister of Education, Minister of Students, and Minister of Children Monthly Fellowships.
What other things would you suggest?
To the praise of His glory,
Quotable Quote: Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, as quoted by David Platt, Send Orlando, 7.26.17