Steward Leadership: Toward a Value Proposition for Denominations

Posted by Matthew Thomas

Anyone who has worked in a denominational system in the past few decades knows that denominations, by and large, are declining in their sheer numbers of members, congregations (and other affiliated entities), and revenue, to the place where the future of some of these denominations is in serious doubt. The statistics have been studied, and studied again.

Decline of this type inspires organizational development consultants to ask some basic questions about denominational life, in order to help the denomination create a sense of value and purpose beyond the decline narrative. This is the first step toward creating a value proposition - why someone should join, affiliate, give money, or otherwise connect meaningfully with the denomination. Since these people are likely not the people that are already connected, giving and otherwise affiliating, these people should probably be considered "outsiders." The questions of what might be important to people who are not denominational "insiders" are essential: because that is where the connection points to new growth can come.

Some of the questions we might ask would be:

Is the average person in the pew (or chair) conscious of the fact that they are part of a denomination? If so, what do they think of their denomination? What value do they see in it?

What does your denomination offer that would interest a church in affiliating with your denomination?

If you had an influx of new money, what would you do with it?

These are a few of the questions that help dig in and get at the core of denominational vision and value. Steward leaders know that the answers to long-term decline do not come in short-term programs, but in asking and working through the hard, deep questions that will help denominations adapt and change to new realities.

We are here to help.

Design Group International consultants work regularly with denominational entities at local, regional and national levels. How might we work together to begin to grow your organization? Click the link below to continue the conversation.

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Topics: adaptive change, denominations, Matthew Thomas, Design Group International, steward leadership