The key is progress, not perfection.
One congregation I visited recently was scared and scarred by events of the past. Although they had no explicit objectives, it was clear their main purpose was what I call "protecting their place on the face of the cliff."
In mountain climbing, sometimes climbers find themselves on the face of a cliff where they can't find a handhold or foothold ahead or behind. In that predicament many people freeze. They cling for dear life. They fear any move could mean the abyss below.
This church was frozen on the face of the cliff. They couldn't find anything in their history that would save them. They couldn't see anything hopeful ahead. They became preoccupied with maintenance, membership, and money.
To help a church like that, the one thing I do not do is shout instructions from the safety of the ledge above. I join them on the face of the cliff and gently coach them: "We're going to start with the left hand, and we're going to move it four inches ...1