1. When was your congregation established? The answer will tell you where your church is in its growth cycle.
2. How many elders do you presently have? What is their primary or most important responsibility?
3. How many deacons do you presently have? What is their primary or most important responsibility as deacons?
4. How many ministries do you presently have? What is the ultimate goal of all of them? In other words, towards what goal are they working?
5. Do you have ministry leaders for any ministries (these are ministries that do not have deacons over them)?
6. What passage of Scripture best describes the purpose or mission of your congregation?
7. Does your congregation have a mission statement? If you answered “Yes,” what is it?
8. Does your mission statement affect your ministries in some way? How?
9. Do your ministries have their own mission or vision statements?
10. What percentage of your congregation is involved in the ministries of your congregation?
The answers to these questions reveal a lot about your congregation: its age may indicate if it has leveled off in growth or if it is declining. How church leaders (elders and deacons) look at their position or role has a lot to do with the growth or decline of a congregation. Some leaders believe their purpose is to maintain things. Most church ministries are maintenance in nature and are internally focused (serve only the church membership and have no external purpose). While every congregation must have maintenance/internally focused ministries, churches will not grow unless ministries have spiritual and numerical growth as part of their purpose. This requires having externally focused ministries (ministries that serve the non-churched in the community). Churches that have no explicitly stated mission (usually) aim at nothing and hit it with amazing accuracy. While the Lord has already given us at least two mission statements (cf. Matt.22:37-40; 28:19-20 et al), churches that grow have specific goals in how to fulfill these mission statements. Making a statement of mission doesn’t necessarily make anything happen.
This is why these 10 questions can be helpful. They can help someone like me direct church leaders into the direction they need to go. However, when church leaders honestly answer these questions, they will come to know what positive changes need to be made to cause the church to grow numerically and spiritually. On the other hand, the answers may reveal that a congregation is healthier than some may have thought.
Travis Irwin, InMin