The TV show Extreme Makeover follows the stories of the lucky individuals who are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be given a truly Cinderella-like experience: a real-life fairy tale in which their wishes come true, not just by changing their looks, but their lives and destinies. This magic is conjured through the skills of an “Extreme Team.” What if we applied this magic to the 85% of churches in the U.S. that are in need of an extreme makeover? Let’s do it and see what we come up with.  Keep in mind that most turnarounds are not incremental but exponential – in other words, extreme.

Most intelligent people will agree that the Western Church is in looking shabby and is in need of an extreme makeover. I’m not just referring to mainline denominations, but just about any church of any kind, anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Western Christianity is a mess and needs to turn itself around or we could wake up in 25 years and find that our situation is much like the situation of Europe – a totally irrelevant church. So what do we do?

Well, why not develop an “extreme team” in your church and charge them with doing a total and extreme makeover or the three or four key areas of your church that need a new look? If you decide to put such a team in place, I suggest that they be charged with applying four words to each one. These words are:

  • Simple
  • Fast
  • Focused
  • Indigenous

Applying these four words to whatever isn’t working in your church in most cases will cause an extreme reaction, either good of not so good, which is what we are looking for. I’m basing this on the tried and true statement, “If you keep doing what you’ve been doing you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.” 

The churches I’ve seen that are making disciples and growing have very simple structures and processes. This allows them to move fast and stay focused on the four things that grow a church. And they are indigenous to their surrounding communities.

So take a moment to mentally apply these four words to what is going on in your church and see the difference it would make if you applied them. You just might get an extreme makeover.

Question: What can you do to make your church’s structure and processes simple, fast, focused, and indigenous? Share your ideas in the Comments section below.