Wikipedia defines a gear as:  A gear or cog is a rotating machine part having cut teeth or in the case of a cogwheel, inserted teeth (called cogs), which mesh with another toothed part to transmit torque. Geared devices can change the speed, torque, and direction of a power source.  Torque is defined as:  moment of force, rotational force or turning effect.

Translating this to the church, it would mean something like this:  Having all the gears in place by which to mesh with another to transmit a turning effect or rotational force changed by a power source.  Another translation might read:  Gears are systems/processes which create momentum when working together to develop disciples through the Holy Spirit.

This is likely an uncanny metaphor for a church.  Yet, it helps to demonstrate when one gear (system/process) is missing, defective, or inoperable the “machine” (church) has limited or no torque (momentum/movement).  In working with hundreds of churches across the country, this is unfortunately too often the case.  One or more gear is missing or defective, but often goes unnoticed.  The church keeps limping along working harder and harder trying to compensate for the malfunctioning gear without favorable outcomes.

There are nine gears for a healthy church.  These gears are interactive processes to create growth in discipleship and leadership.  One gear is not isolated (no silos here), each gear creates momentum for the next.  Those nine gears are relationship building, hospitality, connection, intentional faith development, worship design, people development, simplified accountable structure, strategic ministry planning, and congregational care.  When any one of these gears is inoperable or missing, the church will have less torque (effect, force).  Each tooth (step) is a vital part of the gear (process/system).  Each gear (process/system) is a vital part in the turning (effectiveness) of the other eight gears.  All nine gears are essential in faithfully and fully living out the mission of the church to be discipling disciples.

No gear is more important than another.  Each gear has its purpose for the greater good.  Yet, in my experience, without the relationship-building gear, the other gears will likely rust out or bind up due to underutilization.

When is the last time your church had a tune up?  Are all your gears in optimum working condition?  Now is the perfect time to take a look under the “hood,” perform an inspection, and make necessary repairs.  You will want to make sure your church “gears” are in optimal condition before the Advent Season.

If you are looking for assistance with a thorough understanding and inspection of your church’s nine gears, check out Gear Up