Expectant vs. Reactionary Churches (repost from Tom Rainer)

By Chuck Lawless

Most churches that contact my church consulting firm do so after they’ve recognized a problem; that is, they are reacting by asking for outside help. I’m grateful to assist them, but their process itself often reveals a problem that inflicts most churches: they are reactionary rather than expectant congregations.

Is your church more expectant or reactionary? Review these characteristics to see where your church is.


Expectant churches have a clear Great Commission vision. They know that God is drawing to Himself a people from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Rev. 5:9-10), and they are humbled to play a role in that task. That vision is evident in their staffing, their programming, and even their conversations. What God has in store for them in the future really matters.

Reactionary churches, on the other hand, do not typically have a Great Commission vision. Instead, their goals are often just the opposite of a biblical church: guarding their tradition more than reaching the unchurched; surviving the world’s onslaught rather than being light in the world; protecting positions rather than offering life.


Expectant churches have leaders who are “ignitors.” That is, they have a passion for igniting the fire in others. By faith, they see potential and promise in others. They invest in the next generation. Ignitors lead a church into the future, not worrying about personal recognition or reward in doing so.

Reactionary churches have leaders who are more “firemen” than ignitors. Firemen spend their time putting out troublesome fires. This task is not an insignificant one, but firemen seldom have time or energy left for casting vision. Their ministry quickly becomes reactionary rather than proactive.

Read the rest of the post at TomRainer.com