Churches have been bedeviled by risk aversion moving away from their prime focus on building relationships with the neighboring community thriving in the digital culture since the digital revolution. When churches are taking a spiritual journey into the uncharted territory of the digital age, taking risks to break through the disruption brought in by the digital revolution is no longer optional. We live in a digital culture where technology is at its center. In this culture, initiating connections among people, building and maintaining meaningful relationships, or deepening them can be done through technologies. It is well accepted by the emergent groups, who were 25 years or younger at the introduction of the PC. They represent about 85% of the US population today. If you don’t own the realization that your churches have been commissioned to spread the gospel even to this new world, you ought to renew yourselves with missionary mindsets in every ministry journey into the digital world.
It is a no-brainer statistic that shortcomings in cultural competencies are one of the main barriers to congregational development today. What are the most significant challenges to cultural transformation? We found this from the digital assessments collected from spiritual leaders in 2018.
Each challenge is a long-standing difficulty that has cost churches more for successful transformation. When the fear of taking risks holds sway over strategic opportunities, your ministry doesn’t get your key leaders’ buy-in or the necessary financial support. As a result, your ministries continue losing relevance with your community. Lacking the proper understanding of the target community, churches struggle to enlist those early adopters in their local communities wanting to try out new community-centric programs for their needs. This dysfunctional cycle might become a permanent part of your congregational culture; then, the churches no longer represent their community values and are disconnected from the communal life of the neighborhood.
Does the cultural transformation in the digital age automatically emerge as a matter of course as the spiritual leadership works to update strategy or improve processes? I don’t think so. Many organizations that had waited for organizational cultures to change organically didn’t see the changes ever happening. Once believed to have perpetual existence, those organizations have disappeared for good in our sights over the last decades since they failed in their cultural transformation. The organic transformation moves too slowly as digital penetration changes the world too fast. The old ministry paradigm is no longer working since the advent of the digital era. We need a game-changer, which I call “disruptive ministry innovation.” It is an intervention to foster cultural competencies in your congregation. The failure rate is undoubtedly higher if this intervention takes longer. I highly recommend it should be carefully designed and proceeded in a short period, like 12 to 18-months. Since it is an intensive program, the congregation should be highly motivated before the intervention. I will introduce the “Internal Ministry Marketing” strategy in my next posts. This is a practical approach to get buy-in and motivate your congregation and make leaders onboarded with the game-changing disruptive ministry. This intervention is unfolded step by step with the acronym I.G.N.i.T.E. with focuses on three leading edges of disruptive ministry innovation:
- Competitive Edge: the efficiency & effectiveness of your ministry’s operating system
- Cultural Edge: digital transformation to become an inviting and welcoming church amidst the digital culture
- Community Edge: disruptive community development for your church to grow within your community by breaking through barriers
I want to show you in my next posts what must be proceeded before the disruptive ministry, how to boost the success rate of ministry projects through the “Minimum Viable Ministry” model, and how to systematically shorten the time needed for the digitalization of your congregations with practical solutions and frameworks provided by LeadershipEdges. In the following posts, I will also introduce you to the I.G.N.i.T.E ministry diffusion framework.