John Temple, former editor and publisher of the Rocky Mountain News, blogs about what newspapers must do to survive. Temple should know because the 150-year old Rocky Mountain News folded this past February, the victim of a sagging economy, the digital revolution, and journalism’s failure to adapt. What does this have to do with churches? Listen to Temple’s advice to newspapers:
Strip down the newsroom and start over with this mission (serving as public watchdog) in mind. Reconstruct the entire news operation on all platforms to make sure the newsroom has this mission at its heart. This will be difficult. Many internally will ask, ‘Well, how can we stop doing this?’ Or, ‘How can we stop doing that?’ The answer is if newspapers don’t perform their central function well, nothing else will matter. If it’s not clear by now that things have to change, the battle may be lost anyway.
Sound familiar? Substitute the word “church” for “newsroom” and Temple could be offering good advice to churches. And, of course, he’s right — it will be difficult to stop doing some things we’ve always done. But we have to. Just like newspapers, churches that fail to adapt will be as obsolete as newsprint in the age of the Kindle.
Of course, the problem we have in church is deciding what our mission is. For some it’s evangelism, for others worship, for others service. But whatever you think your church’s mission is, ask yourself the same question Temple asked of newspapers — “What are you spending your money on?”
If the most of your church budget goes to something other than your mission, then you’re not serious about your mission, whatever it is. Agree or disagree?