Survival Tendencies

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • Survival Tendencies in the church lead to multiple fears (from identity to scarcity) and a lack of focus on Christ that results in attitudes and actions of desperation.
    • God is at work with survival congregations by REFOCUSSING them upon knowing Christ and his purpose for the church, REFRAMING the situation in which we find ourselves and becoming INTENTIONALLY FOCUSSED on service and outreach.
    • The survival mentality is an issued faced by many churches. It is a spiritual issue, not a programmatic or procedural issue.
  • Challenges
    • How can leadership be shifted toward those who have a passion to look outward rather than inward?
  • Experiments
    • We need tools for our ministry toolboxes.  Distill learnings from the Mission Summit Conversations and distribute them.

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • Survival mode is caused by lack of funds to maintain buildings and salaries
    • What is more important – building structures or building lives?
    • Church has more currencies other than just money (see Eric Law Holy Currencies) – we need to start realizing the other currencies
    • There are both church survival tendencies and clergy survival tendencies – clergy in survival mode may be more reluctant to be prophetic in their church
  • Challenges
    • We are really talking about paradigm shift from: the ultimate goal is to become a full-time pastor vs. becoming ministers in our secular contexts
    • Need to identify our comfort zone, how we operate within our comfort zone, and how to move beyond
  • Experiments/Projects
    • What prevents a small group of disciples from being “church?” Is a vocational pastor always needed to make a group of believers a church?
    • Bi-vocational pastors are becoming more and more common.  What about “non-vocational” ministers (for lack of better term)—people who have vocations outside of ministry but are also doing ministry in their context – we currently do not count them as “church/vocational ministers”
    • How can we support people working in the secular world but are doing mission right where they are…where they have an established connection into a community that an institutional church may never have?
    • Think critically about how we tend to institutionalize missional work; churches can do very simple things to support mission outside the walls of the church


Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.