When we call a congregation a Transformational Congregation, we are talking about a congregation with high energy and satisfaction looking particularly at how members themselves are experiencing the church rather than imposing our own external definition. In our work we have found that just as healthy organizations have certain characteristics ingrained in their corporate culture, healthy or transformational congregations have certain characteristics ingrained in their culture.
We typically find that transformational congregations have the following characteristics:
- Inspiring and engaging Worship.
- Flexibility (the ability to change to meet the needs of the congregation)
- Conviction that church has given new meaning to life.
- Inviting, friendly body of people with good relational skills.
- Open, responsive decision making process (not thwarted by the same small group of people)
- Opportunities for service in the church and the world that fit a person’s gifts and passions.
A transformational congregation has strategic options that other congregations may not because it does not have to spend a lot of time on internal issues, like managing conflict or regaining trust in the leadership of the congregation. Instead, it can focus on more external things such as numeric growth, program expansion (ministries, facilities, education), replication (church planting, mentor), and external impact (local, regional, international).
It is important to note that a congregation with scores in the Transformational Quadrant does not guarantee that it is growing, expanding, replicating or impacting. Instead the congregation must choose the right strategies. In fact, the shadow side of the Transformational Quadrant is that congregations can use the information to avoid taking further risks that growth may require. It takes as much work for a transformational congregation to continue to have that high energy and satisfaction, keeping the momentum moving forward, as it does for the reinvention congregation in the low energy and satisfaction quadrant to reinvent itself.
We hear a lot about the struggles facing our congregations in every denomination, in every geographical area, in every community. But, at Holy Cow! Consulting, we also get to hear some pretty phenomenal stories of congregations doing great work and really transforming lives. There are churches of less then 50 people in their average Sunday attendance that are transformational. There are transformational churches in rural areas, in metropolitan areas, in the middle of prairies or the D.C. beltway. There are transformational churches making strides every day and we think we should be celebrating those stories.
Over the next year, Holy Cow! Consulting will be spending some time on this blog telling the stories of these transformational churches from all over the country. We are hoping these stories will serve as a way to inspire and a way to give hope as we all determine what the Lord is asking of us as congregations.