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5 Priorities to Focus on as You Re-Open Your Church

August 6, 2021 jill Blog
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By Dan Reiland

It’s obvious that attendance in physical buildings has dramatically declined over the past year, and with so many still disconnected from true engagement, what’s the best way to go forward?

Let’s start with something encouraging…people are coming back! Even some who have been away for a year!

Let me establish an important caveat before going further:

In the world of digital worship, online is important and needed. In addition, something really cool is gaining momentum through varieties of micro-site strategy. Small groups of people who are committed to their church are meeting in homes and other venues, fully engaged in the worship service, and reaching their communities!

With that acknowledged, let’s not miss the obvious opportunity…there are millions of people in the United States alone who don’t engage any option, and you probably have room in your church building.

  1. Spiritually engaged worship

Your weekend worship services do not encompass the full scope of your ministry, but that is typically where people first engage. Are they life changing experiences?

Excellence in planning and execution are vital, but the presence of God’s spirit brings life changing power and creates an unmistakable difference in your worship services.

How do you evaluate and elevate the spiritual component of your services?

  1. Authentic community

Knowing and being known is at the core of Christian community, both in relationship with Jesus and with each other.

This is not meant imply an unhealthy sense of an ingrown lifestyle, but one that matures together for the purpose of reaching out to bless others with the good news of Christ.

Authentic community includes honest relationships, encouragement, serving, challenge toward maturity, personal growth and a sense of unity in Christ.

  1. Opportunity to serve

Many churches are struggling to rebuild their volunteer teams right now, especially in children’s ministry. (Children’s ministry requires such a high number of volunteers and that corelates with how many adults you can handle.)

Despite the complexities, serving others was designed by God and modeled by Jesus for us all to engage our faith. God gave us spiritual gifts and unique passion for the purpose of fulfilling God’s plan.

Unleashing the spiritual power of service in your church and community is truly life giving and life changing.

Are your serving opportunities clear, organized and well trained?

  1. Connection for family

One of the most powerful ways to engage the families in your church is to help spiritually develop and mature their kids and teenagers.

Not to mention, some of the best stories are those of parents who gave their lives to Christ because of their kid’s influence!

Are your next generation ministries relevant and creative? Do they consistently demonstrate that you care about the kids and students?

Of your kids and student ministries, which one needs improvement most right now?

  1. Compelling vision

Vision is the foundation of your ministry. Now more than ever, people want to know what you are about and what you believe in. They want to know where you are going.

As Carey Nieuwhof recently and aptly said, getting people to come back to church is not vision.

Encouraging people to come back to church is an important endeavor, but it’s more effective to create a vision that people want to return to and be part of.

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the clarity and compelling nature of your vision?

Dan Reiland is the executive pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as executive pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as vice president of leadership and church development at INJOY. Visit him online at