Transformation of Lives
Transformation of lives must occur for your Membership Development efforts to be a success. Otherwise, both Recruitment and Retention come up short. They prove transitory, and they leave constituents yearning for the "more" that brought them to the faith community in the first place. Without transformation, belonging proves empty and self-serving.
People often resist transformation. Their resistance to change in the institution is grounded in their reluctance to embrace personal change. They trivialize church activities and ministers in order to keep God small and non-threatening. Their stewardship is often weak -- mere "tipping" -- because truly engaging in sacrificial giving would change their lives. Much of the battling that goes on in congregations stems from fear of personal transformation.
Nevertheless, transformation is essential. Just as Jesus changed the names and occupations of his disciples, and led them to new places and exposed them to new ways of being before God, so God would change us to the core of our beings. "Behold, I make all things new," said God.
Transformation cannot occur as a thing in itself. If that occurs, it risks becoming precious and, as Paul found among the Corinthians, competitive. Transformation, as Jesus intended it, leads to greater humility, greater service to others, deeper acts of love and forgiveness. That means transformation must be accompanied by giving self away to strangers and by responding to others' needs, that is, Recruitment and Retention.
Each Christian tradition has its nuanced views of what constitutes desirable transformation and what are the appropriate markers of transformation. Our focus here isn't to improve on those views, but to show best practices for achieving them.
We focus on: