1. See problems; create solutions

Successful start-ups create a solution or a better way of doing things for a targeted audience. They take an idea, build a vision and put it into action.
Faith-based organizations have been responding to needs in their community and providing solutions for centuries. That being said, times are changing; the needs are different and yet many churches are offering the same-old types of ministry. The best way to find out what is happening in your local context is to ask community service providers, schools, local libraries and other active organizations. You already have a congregation full of talented people and a beautiful building with space that could be better utilized. How can you use your blessings to create solutions?

2. Break the mold

Entrepreneurs shatter the old way of doing things by developing unique products or services. At times the ideas might seem downright crazy, but would anyone in the ‘90s have imagined that by 2018 nearly every Canadian would be walking around with a tiny computer in their pocket?
Take a look at your programs, your ministry, your annual barbeque, do they look familiar? Often churches compete for the attention of their neighbours by offering the same events or outreach opportunities. Talk to the church down the street (or check out their event schedule online) to find out what they have planned for the year. Think about how your congregation could offer unique engagement opportunities. You may even be able to throw one big ecumenical event for multiple congregations.
If your church has been doing the same thing for 30 years, it may be time to break the mold. We are increasingly seeing churches offer different styles of worship. For example, Church of the Redeemer in Toronto has a Rock Eucharist once a month on a Sunday evening. This service is casual, energizing and features a different musical artist each time.

3. Play to your strengths

Leaders of start-ups know the strengths of their vision and they have an elevator pitch ready for the “why should I care about your idea?” question.
Churches need to determine where their strengths lie. They have a strong mission, one that has thrived throughout the ages, but today, in Canada, churches are re-thinking how they communicate that message. Identify the skills, talents and creativity in your congregation and align them with the needs of your parish community and your neighbours.

4. Get a team working together harmoniously

Start-ups with teams that work well together are more likely to succeed than teams that have a diversity of talent but lack synergy.
By now you may be wondering, who will put these ideas into action? You need a team of individuals that are energized and inspired by the prospect of doing something new at the church. You probably know people in your parish who work well together. You’ll need a dedicated team with a passion and new ideas for exploring your church’s hopeful future.

5. Don’t spread your team too thin

Employee or founder burn out is common in the start-up world. People are working tirelessly to realize their idea’s potential and get their products to market. Start-ups that try to do too much all at once will struggle to keep their team motivated. On the other hand, start-ups that understand their capacity and work within their limits cultivate positive and creative working environments. Ultimately, the latter start-ups are stronger and more sustainable.
Focus on getting one idea off the ground at first. Your team will likely be active in other ministries so focus the energy on starting one new activity or ministry as you get started. For the first year, you may even put a few annual events or traditional ministries on hold to give your parish time and space to discern its future. Creating a vision for a new way of being church is hard work, don’t let it fail because your volunteers burned out.
If you want to expand your capacity or explore your church’s possibilities, send me an email: [email protected]

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