Pastor Shawn returned from a training conference convinced he had found what the church he pastored needed to pull out of the ten year slump they were experiencing. He called a meeting with his leadership team for Sunday afternoon. Shawn entered the meeting charged up and excited about the new possibilities. His excitement dropped when he walked into the room to find less than half of the church leadership team present. “How could they not show up for such an all-important meeting,” he thought.
Not wanting his excited spirit to be totally crushed, he jumped right into his subject matter, “I’m so excited to tell you what I learned at the conference I attended this past week… I believe God showed me what we need to make the needed return in our church.” Within a couple of sentences, it was obvious. The face of every person in the room shared the same discontented expression as if to say, “Not again. We’ve been here before – over and over.”
The truth was they had been “here” before, every time Pastor Shawn returned from a conference. Shawn had attended a conference every four to six months, each time convinced he had the key to bringing new people in. Following each conference, he worked with his leadership team to begin developing a new structure for the members in the church to “change” their approach. The issue was each time Shawn returned from a conference he wanted to stop what they had been working on and begin developing some new plan. Not one new structure had been implemented before Pastor Shawn returned and stopped all progress to develop the latest, greatest he had heard about in his latest conference.
Within weeks of this latest endeavor, Pastor Shawn found himself out of the pastorate. Flexibility is one thing, but an unstable, unfocused mind is not a good leadership trait.
A lot of good can come out of conferences and other training events. I lead many myself, desiring to lead individuals, churches, and organizations to better fulfill God’s purpose for life. Yet, we all must use discernment about what is right for our church. And that which is right is that which God has gifted and impassioned the people of any given church to carry out. People will serve out of their passion and giftedness, not out of pie in the sky dreams that we’ve learned about at a conference.
One of my big principles to live by and teach is, “Don’t copy models, capture principles.” Instead of trying to copy what someone else is doing, find out what passions and giftings God has instilled in the members of your church. Every true born-again believer has been gifted and impassioned to serve God in particular areas. There are numerous surveys and assessments available to assist you in leading your people in this discovery. The second step then is to help people connect passion to ministry – serving God.
So impassioned am I about this that I will speak in an advisory role, to any pastor or church leadership team – at no cost to you – in this discovery and implementation process. Simply contact me or your denominational leaders for assistance. Begin today in your life and leading others in unearthing God’s purpose and desires for living the abundant life. What steps will take in this arena to becoming focused and stable for 2022?