Meet The Need began fifteen years ago, during a long drive back home to Atlanta from a vacation in Jacksonville. Weeks earlier, I had asked my church where I could serve somewhere in the community. I told them my passions and interests, hoping for direction. I was surprised but they didn’t have an answer for me. As I was driving, I was thinking about how the corporations I consulted all had those types of answers – they knew where to direct people when they wanted to buy something.
It didn’t take much of an understanding of church history to know that the Church had been the food bank and homeless shelter for its first 1900 years. How could churches, even one as large as mine, be so disconnected from the needs in the community? Didn’t Jesus and the early church model the power of demonstrating love and compassion in sharing the gospel? People don’t care what you know until they know that you care, right?
The 2nd half of MTN’s mission…
To mobilize and equip the Church to lead millions more to Christ
by following Jesus’ example of meeting those in need exactly where they are.
That was the mission statement we came up with after I got back to Atlanta that day. And it remains the same today. We quickly learned back then that even if churches wanted to engage much more in the community (and we hoped they did), they lacked any modern day tools to help them share local needs with members. So we spent years and millions designing, building, testing and rolling out systems that empower churches and charities to show needs to those who could help. Meet The Need expanded nationwide and has had tremendous success in many cities.
However, #1 Equip – building systems that enable churches to do more – wasn’t our entire mission. Our mission statement also calls MTN to #2 Mobilize – encouraging churches to follow Jesus’ example. That 2nd part of our mission is where MTN plans to spend much of our time going forward. The systems are built, powerful and have recently been made much more accessible, simple to use and state-of-the-art. Now it’s time to focus more of MTN’s energies on mobilizing and encouraging because…
There’s a problem….
We developed MTN’s systems based on an assumption – churches would move beyond seasonal events if MTN could be the first to bring the tools they need to manage and communicate needs on a year-round basis. For many churches that has been the case. However, with or without MTN, the general trend among churches in America today is not toward unleashing members into year-round ministry. Systems don’t change heart and minds. We continue to see far too many unmet needs in communities across the country. The greatest source of help and hope available to families in need resides, largely idle, in the pews of America’s churches.
As many of you know, my background was in management consulting – solving strategic problems for Fortune 1000 companies. So for the past couple years I’ve put my management consulting hat on and done extensive research, trying to find out why:
- the role of the Church in communities across America has fundamentally changed
- American church growth models encourage internal, not external, focus
- the Church (overall) in the U.S. is not succeeding on any significant metric – growth, impact, influence, or perception
We’ve made a huge discovery…
After all that digging, it turns out that organizational behavior best practices and principles, which align very well with Biblical principles, held the key all along to why the Church is struggling today. There is a flawed assumption underlying most decisions churches make. The modern American church is violating one of the most basic tenants of all successful organizations, including the early Church. Making that groundbreaking discovery would not have been possible without extensive experience in management consulting followed by years of work with churches of all sizes. Little did I know the Lord was preparing me all that time to understand and unveil the root cause issue behind the Church’s decline.
Going forward, we will dedicate this blog primarily to exploring and unveiling those findings in hopes of fulfilling the 2nd aspect of our mission – to Mobilize the Church. We look forward to sharing these concepts with you over the coming weeks and months.
It’s your turn…
Why do you think the Church in America is losing ground in terms of growth, perception, impact and influence? In other words, with 93% of churches today stagnant or in decline, what changes do you think they should make to turn the tide?