We Are Here To Help You
Many churches are now reaching the point in their life cycle where they are struggling for survival. New people do not stay, younger families leave, and their older members are passing on. While this condition brings sadness, it is a normal part of life.
The Heritage 21 Foundation exists to assist and advise congregations struggling with survival to make sound, healthy decisions about their future while protecting their faithfully accumulated resources.
Your 4 Options
Every church goes through a natural life-cycle. In its early years, a church moves through Accelerating and Booming phases as it grows. In its mid-life, it crosses over the top from Booming into a Decelerating state, or it may choose to Renew and begin the cycle again. In later life churches move from Decelerating into the Tanking phase as their energy, people, and resources dwindle. The following represent 4 revitalization options available to churches:
The Heritage 21 process is designed to help the church make its own decisions on its future with the benefit of experienced facilitators and a thoughtful process. The general process consists of an Investigation Phase and a Decision Phase.
The purpose of this phase is to create a clear picture of the current situation of the church and the options available for the future. The investigation contains the following activities:
1. Initial Interviews
When invited by the church leadership to explore their situation, we begin with initial interviews with key church leaders. We ask for some general information about the history and situation of the church and specific statistical information to create an initial picture of the church. Through this process a mutual decision is made about moving forward with the consultation process.
2. Congregational Survey
With a yes decision a confidential survey of questions is provided to all the congregants that gathers their attitudes and opinions concerning the vision, emotional status, finances, leadership, and potential future of the church. The church’s leaders receive a synthesized report that protects the identity of the contributing individuals.
3. Investigation Weekend
With the initial data in hand Heritage 21 will send a facilitator to conduct the investigation weekend with the church’s leaders and other select individuals. Congregational options will be explained and explored, a spiritual reflection process will be offered, and together a decision-making plan will be created. Heritage 21 will submit a report to the church that summarizes the findings of the investigation phase with specific analysis regarding the four possible decision options and the reasons for the likely outcome of each choice.
The church will engage the spiritual reflection process as it moves towards a decision about its future. At the second consultation weekend the decision for the next steps for the church will be made and, when appropriate, a Memorandum of Understanding will be
written to carry out that decision.
Renewing your church can inject new life and purpose to your church. StratOp is a method to help you Revision your church and keep you on a path of health and growth.
The Renewal process is difficult but made easier by joining with our partners at Hope Network Ministries and R3. They can provide the Counseling and Mentoring to get you back on track.
To Redevelop, the church will close and quit meeting for an extended period so that a new church can grow in its place. Kairos Church Planting has a process for helping with this option.
The Repurpose option H21 provides allows the declining church to manage its closing process, preserve its resources for other good works, and celebrate a life well lived.
If you have any questions about the life-cycle of your church, please contact us so we can walk this journey beside you.
Frequently Asked Questions
The first step is for us to talk on the phone to figure out exactly where your church is at in its life-cycle stage. We will ask some general questions about the history and situation of your church and specific statistical information to create an initial picture. Through this process a mutual decision is made about moving forward with the consultation process.
We provide different services depending on where your church is in its life-cycle stage. Whichever stage your church is in, we provide education, consulting, and tools to help you assess your situation and make good decisions for the future. Essentially, we help you get unstuck. What H21 specializes in is giving your church a clear picture of where you are and options for moving forward (StratOp) as well as legal tools and resources such as real estate planning and corporate organization.
You can take a simple survey to find where your church is in its life-cycle. You can find the survey on the Resources page under “Congregational Self Examination.”
H21 is a ministry primarily to the Churches of Christ, but are willing to assist other autonomous churches from, or similar to, the restoration heritage.
The process typically takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years, depending on the stage of your church and the option that fits you best.
Though some of the work of H21 is by volunteers, to allow H21 to offer its services to more churches, we ask for a base consultation fee of $3,000 and reimbursement for any travel and other out-of-pocket expenses. If the church cannot afford that fee, we will consider other arrangements on a case-by-case basis. In cases where H21 facilitates the sale and repurposing of the assets, we ask that a minimum of 10% or $25,000 of the next proceeds be used to fund this ministry.”