In my post last week, I looked at the reasons pastors were fired, even though their churches were growing. In this post, I offer ways some pastors have avoided this tragedy while leading a church to growth.
To be clear, these actions are not foolproof. Some churches will be preacher eaters regardless of the actions of the pastor. Still, I see these right actions as helpful toward minimizing the possibility of a forced termination.
- Communicate exponentially. If you think you are communicating redundantly, you probably have just begun to communicate sufficiently. Keep the congregation informed. Say it. Write it. Repeat it.
- Remind the members of the purpose of the growth. It’s about the Great Commission. It’s about caring for and reaching the community. It’s about touching lives. It’s not about the numbers.
- Move potential objectors to the welcome team. They will see and greet the guests. It will give them an outward focus.
- Ask a long-term member to be your mentor. You will get an invaluable perspective from “the old guard.” You will likely gain an ally as well.
- Share healthy resources with members. At the risk of sounding self-serving, I’ve heard from countless church members that two of my books have been paradigm-altering: I Am a Church Member and Autopsy of a Deceased Church.
- Celebrate the past. Sometimes we leaders need to be reminded that our church’s past has much to celebrate. We often are so eager to move to the future that we forget or neglect the lessons of the past.
- Remind them of faith steps in the past. Though this point has similarities to the previous point, this one is a specific focus and reminder of major faith steps the church has made in the past. It a powerful lesson that the church made changes in the past and can do it again in the present.
For sure, there are no guarantees. But we have heard from many change leaders who have found these approaches to be highly effective.
Leading change is difficult. Leading change wisely is best.