Does your church dream like Jesus?

June 30th, 2015

Organizations get the exact results they are designed for. A superb design yields superb fruit. A faulty design yields less than desirable fruit. It’s no different with churches or other nonprofits. A kingdom-oriented design yields kingdom fruit.

Consider Jesus’ own ministry. It began with his dream of the kingdom of God. This vision undergirded his teaching, preaching, prayer and healing. It informed the financial and organizational structure of his movement. Not to mention its outreach and public relations policy. It shaped his whole ministry. This movement had modest beginnings but it utterly changed the world as we know it.

If you want your church to thrive, best to start with the dream of Jesus. Churches that dream like Jesus are more likely to get kingdom-oriented results.

If your church makes disciples, brings hope and healing to others, connects with the community to make a better world and includes a wide variety of people, it’s because your church is set up for that — from the vision, through the preaching and praying, right down to the organizational structure itself. On the other hand, if your church hasn’t made a new disciple in decades, has a shrinking impact and disappearing budget and hemorrhages members, that’s because your church is organized for decline.

To see where you stand on this issue, and if your church dreams like Jesus, take this quiz. Then, let’s talk.

If your church scored 13-18 correct, congratulations. You are wide open to the dreams of Jesus for your congregation and community. Dream on! Take care that your organizational structure remains agile enough to respond to shifting needs. Be sure your leaders are nimble enough to respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit. Keep your leadership grounded in prayer, and open to new ways of expressing the dream of Jesus.

If your church scored 7-12 correct, be alert. It either means Jesus’ kingdom dreams are starting to take hold in you OR you are starting to close off to them. Press on for the former by re-energizing your church’s vision. If it’s grounded in Jesus’ own dream, build on it. If it’s not, gather up your courage and boldly lean in to new territory. Expand your church’s comfort zone by taking Jesus’ riskier teachings to heart. Ask the Spirit to lead you toward organizational changes that enable you to speed up decision making, allocate greater resources towards hands-on outreach, and up your willingness to take risks for the kingdom.

If your church scored 1-6 correct, repent. It’s time for a radical turn around. Preacher, get busy and get bold. Pray-ers: shift your petitions from reactive to proactive. In other words from internal matters of health and well-being to what God wants your church to be doing, spending, risking, giving, trying. Begin to dream Jesus’ dreams for you. Lay aside the ways you have been doing things and draw closer to Jesus. Ask him to guide your church. Then have the courage to let him.

Jesus’ dream is always available to us. It’s as close as the Lord’s Prayer, and as near as your next breath. No matter how your church scored, don’t give up hope. Even one step in the right direction can begin to shift the results your church is producing.

My passion is helping the church remember how to dream like Jesus. To that end, I love transforming church leaders and the congregations they serve. Consider these concrete, proactive actions you can take: 1. Sign up for the online class Maximizing Your Leadership EQ. 2. Schedule a Platinum Rule for Thriving Congregations retreat for you and your leadership team. 3. Register now to get Early Bird Savings for Track 1, 2 or 3 of Creating a Culture of Renewal. Groups begin this September.

Rebekah Simon-Peter blogs at She is the author of "The Jew Named Jesus" and "Green Church."

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