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  • Writer's pictureAlice J Stewart

How To Live To Fight Another Day

Main Idea: Adapting quickly to a rapidly changing environment is the secret to survival.


You, Your Church, & Grow+Small

Today I want to emphasize Return on Investment (or ROI). If you're more relaxed about business terms, you could call it "bang for the buck." 

While I am utterly astonished and thrilled at the Church and its ability to adapt quickly to online worship and pastoral care, I am also keenly aware of the economic impact of the pandemic when it comes to church business. 

Smaller, shrinking, struggling, aging, hopeful churches were implementing their long-term plans for growth or survival just a couple of weeks ago. 

Now, everything has changed. Those same churches - likely the vast majority of them - are now looking at the very real possibility of shuttering their building and renegotiating salaries in the next few months. 

Business Concepts & The Church

There are two business concepts I want to discuss with you. And, while I completely understand that the Church is not a business, we can all agree that we are not exempt from operating by certain business principles if we are to survive as employers and building owners and tax-exempt organizations. 

First, every business worth its salt has an exit plan. It's responsible to look at everything that can go wrong, and plan for the worst. You may now be looking at your church and wondering where to start planning for an "exit."

What would that look like for your church? Would it be a complete shut-down? An amalgamation with another church? A completely online church? A cafe? A hybrid house-church-store-front situation? 

Are you ready to talk about this? I'm bringing it up now because the end of the month is here, and our donations have tanked. And they're going to be worse next month. Let's just be honest about that. 

Before our global lock-down, we could reasonably be sure that our denominations would give us some assistance. Assistance could range from professional help, consultants, financial help, guidance... all sorts of things. 

Not all mainline churches have the kind of structure to provide parish assistance, but many do. Our denominations have assets and investments they can leverage to help the shrinking, struggling church. Denominations can help these churches to grow or amalgamate. 

Now we are looking at an enormous percentage - I'm going to guess 80% - of churches failing this year from a business perspective. Your denomination can't help every parish. Not even the majority of them. 

Do we want to see this as a matter of who gets to live and who gets to die? Or do we want to see this as a matter of everyone having the opportunity to survive, but in very different ways? 

Here at Grow+Small, we knew that this time was coming, although we had no idea it would happen so quickly. That's why we are primarily focused on… : 

Downsizing, Right-Sizing, Transitioning

Yes, it's possible for a church to "transition" to living within their means. I prefer "transitioning" to the terms "downsizing," or "rightsizing," but I confess it is a vague term, and I'm seeking another one. 

"Downsizing" is a time-honored business strategy, and not unlike a military "strategic retreat" so that success might be achieved in the long-term. 

What we're going to see very quickly is a cascade failure. Our denominations will be flooded and unable to help everyone. They're good at a lot - but downsizing while maintaining the full integrity of a congregation is not usually one of their strengths. That's where Grow+Small comes in. 

But why would a church want to hire a consultant when they can barely pay their bills? Well, that's because of… : 

Return on Investment

If your church could get financial assistance, would the money and resources bring a return on investment? Would it be business as usual? Would your church continue to decline? 

What would be the best bang for the buck? If there is funding for just 25% of what your church needs to survive, would you spend it on something that might work - like transitioning - or just close? 

There isn't going to be time to amalgamate everyone. That process, while beautiful and holy, takes time. We may find ourselves short on time very soon. I think we're beginning to realize that now. 

Consulting and planning specifically for "downsizing" or "transitioning" churches will bring a return on investment. 

At Grow+Small, we will always evaluate your church first to make sure there will be a return on investment. Consulting only proceeds if there is a reasonably estimated ROI. 

And that's just the facilitation and consulting services. There are also highly affordable classes, coaching, and community designed explicitly for transitioning churches - thriving within your means. 

Rapid Adaptation = Survival

Change will happen, and is happening quickly. Transitioning your church in the midst and aftermath of CORVID-19 will take less time than growing it or amalgamating it. 

Transitioning your church now will allow it to grow or amalgamate later. Live to fight another day, in other words. 

Find what you need now at Grow+Small. An assessment of your financial position is affordable. A class or coaching for your transition is VERY affordable. And there is much more just for you. 

Grow+Small Church Consulting was designed for this time, this situation, and especially for you. 

If you are ready, let's talk now.

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