Wayne Swift challenges:
In his book, Drucker and Me, Bob Buford writes about the relationship and influence Australian born ‘father of modern management’ Peter Drucker had on his life, business and ministry.
As Peter Drucker was nearing death, his wife Doris’ simple words -‘This time he’s not coming back’ – carried with them the enormousness of the person who was about to be lost to all. A phrase common to Peter was ‘Begin with the end in mind’ and this was now his end. Many people lauded Peter’s achievements and contribution to society as he passed away and most would agree he lived in a way that touched many others.
Church leaders’ responsibility
What’s heaven really like? It’s a question enquiring children often ask and most adults make up something they think is attractive to children. From a young age, most children assume heaven is the place where all good people go and parents often reinforce that thought.
Bible believing adults know that thought while nice is simply not true. All entrants into heaven are there, not because of their behaviour, rather they are there as a result of their acceptance of Jesus sacrifice on their behalf.
The western church is decreasing in size numerically and as a percentage of the population. We need to arrest this slide. The responsibility for turning things around rests squarely on the shoulders of Christian leaders who have a regular opportunity of influencing Christians who traverse all spectrums of society. This is difficult corporately and personally.
The frustration of the seemingly slow progress drives me to the word and in particular to Jesus words in Matthew 9:38 (NLT), ‘So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.’
The most effective breakthrough strategy we have is prayer.
I’m all for new and innovative ways of preaching the gospel yet I know the Holy Spirit is constantly working on every single person who I come across. He knows what’s required and what ought to be said and shared. God is working in our current circumstance and if we are grieving the lack of progress, then God is feeling it all the more.
Let’s use our energy to pray and to reach out to the people around us. Don’t hesitate to exercise generosity and grace and above all else let’s pray for impact and effectiveness.
The second thing I want to say is in no way contradictory. To the leaders of the churches, shepherd and feed the flock entrusted to you. Carry the same sense of concern as the man who lost one sheep out of the hundred and left all to find the lost sheep.
Much of the New Testament is instruction about church, its practice, its values and its spread.
Every person in your church matters to God – care for them well. Train them to do the work of the ministry and when necessary release them to other places if that’s in their best interest.
Encouraging our people to effectively influence those around is a leadership challenge.
We have the assistance of the Spirit!
So let’s keep up the great work and, like Peter Drucker, influence people in our life, business and ministry.
Wayne Swift pastors The Church@1330, Scoresby, Victoria and is National Leader, Apostolic Church Australia. Links: Wayne.Swift@1330.com.au / Church: www.the-church.org.au
WEAVING THE BIGGEST CHURCH TAPESTRY
Ed Delph shares another thought-provoker…
A recent study on friendship and relating initially revealed fifty ways people become friends. After analysing those fifty ways, it was found that they could all be reduced to two different styles of relating: Boundary Set and Centre Set.
This is one in which people have a common or same boundary.
For example, if one Baptist meets a Baptist from another location, they can relate right away based on the Baptist boundary. If I’m in Kampala, Uganda, and meet another American, we can relate immediately based on the fact we are both from America. We have a common boundary.
Here a cause or a person is esteemed higher than established boundaries.
For example, many years ago, armies from several nations came together to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. A cause higher than national boundaries brought the armies together against a common foe.
Churches coming together
Churches coming together to reach a city for Jesus, is a perfect example of Centre Set! The relationship is based on a cause or person higher than each individual church or its boundary.
In my opinion, God is moving churches and pastors to being both Boundary Set and Centre Set! All over the world, pastors and church members are beginning to realise that there is the church as well as my church. It’s fine to focus your attention on your church as long as it’s not to the exclusion of the church.
I recently met a pastor in San Nicholas, Argentina who has two communions on Sunday, one for his local church members and one for Christians from other churches in his city! He has a Boundary Set as well as a Centre Set relationship with the people, pastors and churches in his city. He is creating space in his church for people who attend other churches as well his church.
Threads in the tapestry
Believe it or not, your church needs the church. You, your church, your denomination or your movement is just a small thread in a huge tapestry that God has been weaving for two thousand years in order to present a more perfect picture of Christ to the world.
Several years ago, there was a study done on the types of businesses . It was found that eighty percent of the businesses were sole proprietorships, ten percent were partnerships, and ten percent were corporations. It was also found out from the same study that ten percent of the businesses, corporations, produced ninety percent of the sales and profit.
Never underestimate the power of cooperation that empowers a corporation which comes from being Centre Set. The church could learn a lesson from that. Christ is what brings the church together. Christ is the Centre Set. Christianity is about Christ, not us. We are a thread, not the whole tapestry.
Why stand alone?
2 Cor. 6:1 says, ‘And working together with him (Jesus), we also urge you to not receive the grace of God in vain.’
God is revealing to the church all over the world today not only an ‘a church’ mentality but also a ‘the church’ mentality. We’re beginning to see that it’s not good for a pastor, a church, or a denomination to be alone! Why should we walk alone when we can stand together?
Centre Set? Welcome to the bigger world of the tapestry.
Dr Ed Delph is president of Nationstrategy, an organisation with the strategy of envisioning and empowering today’s leaders in the church to be some of tomorrow’s leaders in the community. Links: firstname.lastname@example.org / http://www.nationstrategy.com
FIVE REASONS PASTORS DO NOT LEAD THEIR CHURCHES
Dick Hardy , pastoral leadership shares the ‘whys’ of the above statement:
This sounds like an upside down topic but bear with me. Many senior pastors have the title senior pastor but do not have the authority to lead their churches. The consequences of this lack of leadership are too devastating to ignore.
Outstanding pastors do lead many churches. Too many pastors, however, forfeit leadership either because of their own propensity to not lead or the church’s propensity to usurp leadership from them. Whichever the case, the church suffers.
Here are the five reasons senior pastors do not lead their churches.
1. The board runs the show and the pastor lets them
2. The congregation wants to vote on everything and the pastor lets them.
3. The staff runs the show and the pastor lets them.
4. Nobody runs the show and the pastor is one of the nobodies.
5. The pastor leads by consensus — takes a vote on everything from everybody and until everybody agrees.
So which one are you? After you sufficiently get over the shock of thinking of yourself in one or more of these terms, give the following recommendations consideration in navigating to a higher leadership level.
1. The board runs the show and the pastor lets them
At Issue: Typically the smaller the church the larger the influence of a church board and its members. In the smaller church people see the pastor as a ‘hireling.’ They hired him to preach, marry, bury, visit the sick and elderly, and be at every event and personal happening of everyone in the congregation.
In too many of these churches, the board directs the future of the church. Frequently, the board is the permission-granting group for the pastor’s vision. If a real pastor comes to the church a conflict often ensues concerning who is going to lead.
Solution: When this is the case the pastor will likely be in for one or more showdowns with a board member or the entire board. I suggest you determine this on the front end. However, if you discover this after you are onboard you must set the record straight concerning who will lead. Be wise, but move forward.
When the culture has been consensus building in nature, the prudent pastor will take time recalibrating how the church will view the senior pastor’s leadership. The pastor must spend time re-educating the board and congregation on the issue of leadership.
Many board members are happy to have a real leader step forward. Those who are not will not last long on your board. Do not coddle controlling board members. If they cannot understand that the church will not grow unless the senior pastor leads, then they will need to step aside. This will be very confrontational. If you can confront and win, then they will receive your leadership with respect. If you cannot, then you will not be able to make the changes necessary to move the church forward. They will either ask you to leave or you will sit and stagnate.
2. The congregation wants to vote on everything and the pastor lets them
At Issue: The stronger the congregational form of government the harder it is for the church to grow. The congregation becomes the ridiculous extreme of a committee-driven church. When the congregation needs to vote on everything from the colour of carpet to whether to change the prayer room into a junior high game room, the church is slated for no growth and decline.
Solution: When you face the congregational leadership model, you need to slowly start turning the ship by beginning to make decisions yourself. When you initially do that, start communicating to the congregation of your actions in a growth-excitement manner, keeping them fully in the loop so they feel less a sense of we are not voting anymore to we still are hearing the inside scoop on decisions. This may go on for a few months until such point the congregation sees that the decisions that emanate from your office are good ones and that the church is growing. If you have this congregational model at your church, start turning it to the growth-oriented model. If you do not have the congregational model, do not let it get started. You are the leader. Act like it.
3. The staff runs the show and the pastor lets them
At Issue: Multiple staff churches look like a senior pastor’s dream come true. When the right staff is in place and the senior pastor leads it can be a dream come true. However, in many cases the senior pastor is so bent on developing a collegial relationship with staff he forfeits his responsibility to lead. Likely, the previous pastor built the staff with strong leaders. When that is the case, the staff begins to step up and lead in the absence of the senior pastor’s leadership.
Solution: When a new pastor comes into a culture with an existing staff, he has the opportunity to learn new people while trying to demonstrate his own leadership. Never should a pastor, whether new or entrenched, forfeit his responsibility to lead.
Unfortunately, there are staff who build coalitions of people around them. They look for opportunities to lead. The pastor must gain buy-in from his partners on the team while never letting go of the senior leadership responsibilities. If the pastor has already allowed this to happen he must begin to turn it around by slowly and deliberately communicating the intended leadership style to the current team.
4. Nobody runs the show and the pastor is one of the nobodies
At Issue: This is one of the saddest scenarios. The church is on autopilot with everyone, including the senior pastor, taking turns being warm and friendly with everyone. No one challenges anyone or anything. No one leads. The senior pastor does everything by making sure everyone is happy and that no one ever gets upset. Nobody leads and that includes the senior pastor.
Solution: When this is the case the pastor must begin to step up and make decisions. The pastor cannot be tentative in his decisions even if he feels tentative. The good thing is that because no one has been leading, just the fact someone is stepping up to lead generally is received well. Nothing is worse than no leadership from anyone. The pastor cannot be seen as just another ‘nobody’ sitting by watching nothing happen.
Make a small decision and then stand by it. Then make another one … and another one … and another one. Ultimately you will be able to make a larger decision and it will stand and be good for the church. If you get resistance to this approach, there really is someone else (likely a current board member) functioning in a passive leadership role. You need to find out who that is and put in place the elements relative to board leadership of the church.
5. The pastor leads by consensus — takes a vote on everything from everybody and until everybody agrees
At Issue: The senior pastor is the ultimate consensus builder. He takes a vote literally or figuratively on everything. The senior pastor mistakes ‘gaining buy-in’ for ‘consensus building.’ These are very different.
Solution: Stop trying to build consensus and start gaining buy-in. Consensus building waters every decision down to the most palatable level for the lowest level leader. Buy-in has strong staff leaders hearing, understanding, challenging, debating, and buying into the pastor’s vision or adjusted vision. When that vision or decision is flawed the smart pastor does not dig his heels in, rather, retrenches and moves out again with an even better vision, plan and/or strategy for the future.
Strong pastors must come to grips with the difference between consensus building and creating buy-in. When buy-in is successful, the church has the greatest potential for incremental and then ultimately exponential growth.
At the end of the day, it is critical that the senior pastor has the ability to lead and that he does so. For a church to grow, it must have strong senior leadership. Churches that do not grow have fallen prey to one of the five reasons.
Senior pastor, it is your job to lead
The stakes are too high for you to simply sit by and stay with the status quo. Your mission is the greatest on the planet. Act like it and lead your church.
If you fail at this task the church loses. If the church wants to lose, then shake the dust off your feet and move on. Don’t cop out to this, but where the entrenchment of leadership other than the senior pastor exists the church lacks vision. We know what happens when there is not vision. But don’t forget, when you lead there may be fireworks but if you are still standing at the end of the debate, the kingdom wins.
Do everything you can to remove these reasons from your church culture. Then the kingdom will win.
Dick Hardy is the founder and president of The Hardy Group, an executive consulting firm for senior pastors of churches
GLEANINGS FROM AROUND THE WEB …
13 SIGNS YOU’RE AN ANGRY PASTOR
Brian Dodd… ‘The sad reality is angry pastors are more comfortable in unhealthy environments than healthy environments.’ Church Leaders Update (http://www.churchleaders.com)
PASTORS WHO DON’T DELEGATE
Thom Rainer… ‘Failure to delegate will always limit a pastor.’ Church Leaders Update
EPIDEMIC OF BIBLE ILLITERACY IN OUR CHURCHES
Ed Stetzer…‘Churchgoers, aren’t reading much of any book, including the Good Book.’ Church Leaders Update
6 THINGS CHRISTIANS MUST KEEP SAYING
John UpChurch… ‘Christians face increasing pressure to get rid of “outdated beliefs” – even from those who claim to be Christian themselves. But to do so is to deny the one who bought us.’ Crosswalk Daily Update (www.crosswalk.com)
SMALLER CHURCHES CAN DO IT BETTER
Stephen Lim… ‘In spite of fewer people, staff, facilities, resources, and programs, the average small church produces better fellowship, pastoral care, and better discipleship among other things.’ Ministry Resources (http://ministryresources.org)