I recently had the opportunity to attend a 1-day conference in Middle Tennessee at GVBC called ‘Stuck.’ This was not their first rodeo and you could tell. They knew how to encourage pastors and church ministry leaders. It was well-worth the 400 miles! Kudos to Pastor Locke, the staff, worship team, and the church ladies who took care of the eats! I feel compelled to pass on what I got out of the keynote session called
Top Reasons Churches Get
-[& Stay]- STUCK:
1. The lead pastor is not growing. He is a catalyst for growth. Everything rises and falls on -you guessed it- leadership! (-Lee Roberson)
“I’m not dying without trying.” (-GL)
2. No clearly-defined DNA. If you can’t write down your church’s mission / vision on your palm – it’s too bulky and people will never remember it. Not even your best people! The church needs to know who you are and why you exist.
3. An aversion to technology and cultural advancement. The website is the new front door of your church (more). The hot-word today is contextualization. Preach like they did in the past – but apply it to the days of the present!
4. An unwillingness to ask people to leave. Some people are not part of the team. They are not on board with your DNA and never will be. Trying to keep them involved only deepens the problem (and your discouragement as a leader). It’s not worth it!
New converts are never the ones who complain about the paint, the drum, etc. It’s always the ‘transfers’ who are the most petty!
5. It’s structured for control rather than growth. BR Lakin said: Beware of the church with two last names. Some churches are run by a select few (a key family, the deacon board) and will never grow beyond those who dictate it. It’s possible to have too many voices speaking into the vision of the church. If you can’t trust your leadership, then you’ve got the wrong team!
6. Operating totally out of context. Know your demographic. You have an era – serve your “generation.” You have an area – serve your “nation.” Has your ‘target‘ audience been identified? Do you really mean it when you say: Everyone Welcome!? Really? What about addicts, the homeless, hookers, the deaf, the bi-polar? Are you ready to help them?
People want to hear your heart, but they are tired of hearing your head.
7. A lack of faith to operate out of the box – but by the book. Zeal is the forgotten virtue, replaced by knowledge. Look at the Old Testament prophets (Jeremiah, Hosea, etc.). They totally destroyed the box of ‘How-to-Do-Ministry.’
8. An understanding of the gospel is merely assumed (especially in the Bible-belt / South). Lost people are filling churches and, with their votes, controlling them. Jesus gave no concessions for people claiming Christ who are not involved in church.
In Addition, Pastor Locke Gave 5 Pieces of Advice of Getting Unstuck…
1. Don’t pastor from a bitter heart or with a point to prove (spite and anger are terrible motivators).
2. Don’t allow the church to become to dependent on your personality as pastor – build a team of leaders.
3. Don’t build the church your critics want – build the church your community needs!
4. Don’t allow angry church people to make you an angry family man (leave that junk in the office).
5. Don’t read the Bible for material – develop the discipline of personal, private meditation for your own soul.