Front Row Faith by Tracee J. Swank

When your experience exceeds your expectation…share it!

Front Row Faith by Tracee J. Swank - When your experience exceeds your expectation…share it!

Monday Night Mind Map

I am working through a mind mapping process to lay out some big projects in ministry I feel are really going to take shape and come to life in 2011. I enjoy the process of taking a big, clean, white sheet of paper – the think artist drawing kind, a handful of vibrant, sharpie markers, and just going to town with words, shapes, connectors and arrows. It is almost therapeutic for me. I get to get everything out of my head and onto the paper.

Tonight – it was several papers!

This process also allows me to share, with a great deal of clarity, some of the things I feel God calling me to. Once I get these ideas on the paper they seem more real. They seem like they could actually happen. My ideas, visions, thoughts, impressions from God start to take shape.

Tonight – that’s when it got real exciting!

Tonight – a piece of the map finally fell into place!


There will be more to come on these mind maps I am working on, the components, the ideas, the players, and how I believe God has this coming together. The components are becoming clearer with my involvement in ministry advancing the work of Church Doctor Ministries, working with a growing team of consultants and coaches and developing a larger network of ministry collaborators.

The next step is to add some strategy to the maps – some actual actions to the plans. Then we’ll get to test and see if this is really going to be something I can build on and pursue. All of this happens because I took some time with a big, empty, white piece of paper and just let my mind run.

What do you do to let your mind run?

How do you gain clarity when you have a head spinning with great ideas?

The latest Church Doctor Report – There are no quick fixes…

I am sharing the latest Church Doctor Ministries Report, “Sorry! No Quick Fix to Become a Thriving Church” because I think it is so important for all of us working in any area of ministry to understand the idea of culture, and specifically, how our worldviews shape change in the church.

In this issue Dr. Kent R. Hunter reveals some surprising research uncovered regarding the effectiveness of church consultations, church culture, and bringing about change in the context of the local church. You can read the complete Church Doctor Report here.

I continue to see church after church stifled by those members that simply, for their own reasons of comfort, do not want their church to change. This also means that they are not seeing how the church has lost its relevance in our world today. If you don’t think that’s the case I can show you a soccer field in my town that is filled on Sunday morning with parents, kids, and grandparents. To get to this soccer field you’ll have to drive past about a half-dozen churches that are not filled. What’s more relevant? Soccer? Church?

Who is more comfortable?

I am not against soccer and I am not against people wanting to worship in whatever way their hearts lead them. I am against the idea that many in the church today take the attitude of absolute refusal to see what is happening all around them just because they don’t want to change “their church.”

There is no denying change is all around us. Your church is indeed changing and you are seeing the negatives.  Declining participation, declining Sunday School, declining attendance, declining interest in ministry and outreach. Certainly these are all changes that can have a negative impact. But positive change can happen in your church. If you get to know what’s going on within the culture of your church and understand the biblical worldviews that should shape the church.

It’s not a quick fix. Regaining relevance again will take time. It doesn’t have to be traumatic, dramatic, or divisive. If you believe what we say we believe as Christians – give God the trauma, drama, anxiety, and fear about change. Let Him guide you through it. Please don’t sit back and try to maintain your comfort. That’s not going to make the church relevant again.

As one who speaks to, consults with, and coaches ministry leaders – I implore those of you who are resisting change to pause for a moment and think about this….You want comfortable and familiar when you go to church, but all those people on the soccer fields on Sunday morning seem pretty comfortable too, yet they don’t know what we know.

 Where would Jesus be?