I see more signs of healthy church leaders today than I have seen at any point in my 30 years of ministry.
If you have served in church leadership for several years, you have likely heard this statement:
During one of our podcasts, we talked about church budgets and church purchases. That conversation led to a Twitter poll where we asked church leaders and members to name some strange purchases made by their churches. The responses were numerous and, yes, really strange.
But when we interviewed the leaders of these scrappy churches, we noticed a pattern. These leaders at one time had been discouraged and despondent. Many were ready to leave the church. Some were ready to leave vocational ministry altogether.
The baby arrived! The baby is my book, Scrappy Church. And I am excited about this book. I am very excited about this book. I am very, very excited about this book.
The opposite of a healthy church member is an entitled church member. He or she sees the church as an organization that doles out perks and benefits somewhat like a country club.
It is amazing to hear how church members view their tithes and offerings to their local churches. Though it's cliché to say, the attitudes of their hearts reflect the nature of their contributions to the church.
So, why are we starting Revitalize Network? As a starter, allow me to share ten reasons.
Please indulge me for one more blog post about my decision to retire from LifeWay. In my previous post, I shared the reasons why I am retiring, why God is leading me to leave an organization I love deeply. In this post, I will share some of my plans for life post-LifeWay.
Most pastors are not suicidal. But most pastors do struggle. They lead churches in a culture that is not friendly to their calling. Three-fourths of them lead churches that are struggling by almost any measure or metric. Many pastors are on the precipice of quitting, and most church members have no idea of their inner turmoil.
To the delight of some and to the chagrin of others, I conducted an informal social media poll to find out what the audience deemed the most common sacred cows in their churches. The answers were voluminous. Some of the conversations were hilarious. Some people just got mad. Imagine that.
Over the years, I have worked with many churches and speakers (and a few musicians) to establish some guidelines for hosting and paying guest speakers. Keep in mind, these are guidelines, not rigid rules. There will always be reasons for exceptions.
Tonight, during the regularly scheduled meeting of the LifeWay board, I announced my retirement as president and CEO. I will step down when the new CEO is named, or in one year, whichever comes first.
Let me share with you what I have heard about great success stories of churches as a new school year approached. They are basic but profound.
The #MeToo Movement will be one of the historic markers of 2018. Its impact is felt in the entertainment industry, in politics, in businesses and, undoubtedly, in churches.
A member of the Church Answers community recently asked about the characteristics of healthy churches today. Immediately, I began to review churches that were having great community impact, whose members regularly had gospel conversations, and whose leaders faithfully preached the Word with power every week.
I asked seasoned pastors to share with me the areas they wish they could be better prepared and better equipped. The results were voluminous, and the needs are great. Here are the top eight:
I will save the discussion for later on how to deal with toxicity in the church. For now, let's look at what happens in a church when toxic members leave.
I put the statement on social media. The responses were voluminous. After a couple of days, I had to stop counting and tally the results. There were hundreds of them.
Indeed, I believe church revitalization leaders should be consummate students of risk taking and change leadership. Let me offer five reasons why:
The rebellious generation may become the religious generation.
Here is where I take a contrarian position compared to many others, including positions I have held in the past: Of the 300,000 churches in need of revitalization, 100,000 will revitalize organically or internally, and another 100,000 will be revitalized through replanting. It's a bold assertion, but something that could very well unfold over the next five to ten years.
So, how will these 300,000 churches in need of revitalization be impacted by the wave that is coming? Let's look at three major categories.
The question was simple: "What is your church known for in its community?" Within a few minutes of my post, many responses came forth. After I read and added all of them, I saw three patterns emerge.
My list is not exhaustive, but I do believe it is telling. In each of the corporate leaders' and union leaders' lives, the following patterns began to emerge. In them you can see the signs of hubris for any leader.