If you have ever played sports, you are probably familiar with the term “sweet spot.” The “Sweet Spot” is the point or area on a bat, club, or racket at which it makes most effective contact with the ball (I am told that my golf clubs have a “sweet spot” but I have never actually found it!). In non-sports terms, the “sweet spot” is an optimum point or combination of factors or qualities.
I bring this up because it seems that church revitalization is often measured solely in terms of numbers – attendance, budget, etc. While these measurements can be an indicator of church revitalization, other factors need to be considered when determining the overall health of a church in the revitalization process. Some of the “health factors” can be more difficult to measure, but it is important to pay attention to the “sweet spot” on the church revitalization journey.
As we look at the pictured diagram, the place where all three circles come together would be the “Sweet Spot.” Let’s break it down to some practical steps in nurturing revitalization in the church.
Communion – Loving God: Move people toward a deeper love for God. When asked about the greatest commandment, Jesus replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Help people see the beautiful nature and powerful ways of God. In addition to Scripture, help people see where God is working around them. A simple way to start is by telling “God Stories” of where you see God at work. Loving God is much deeper than this – I realize that. But it can be a good “first step” in nurturing a love for God as we see Him for Who He is and how He is working in our lives and in the church.
Community – Loving Others: Jesus followed up His words with this: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The world takes notice of how we live in relationship with one another. Help people learn to demonstrate a genuine love for one another within the church as well as those in your surrounding community. This may sound simple, and even silly to some, but help your people learn how to “throw a party.” Design times to just together and have fun with others in the church and throughout your community. Loving Others goes much deeper than having a party – I realize that. But it can be a good “first step” in helping us build relationships that lead to truly loving others.
Connecting – Make Disciples: We probably all know the “Great Commission” Jesus gave His disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Be intentional about helping your people “connect” with people in their daily patterns of life. Teach them how to have natural gospel conversations. Teach them how to disciple someone who in turn will disciple someone else. Why do I use the word “connecting?” Because we need an understanding that the “Great Commission” is not about another church program or project – it is about people. Connecting people with people, to connect them with Christ and the church.
Remember, “Sweet Spot” is an optimum point or combination of factors or qualities. When your church is developing a deeper love for God, demonstrating a genuine love for others, and connecting with people to make disciples-who-make-disciples, you are living in your sweet spot of the church revitalization process.
I may not be able to find it on my golf clubs, but I would love to help you discover your sweet spot in revitalization. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.