This is part two of the article published in the previous post.
4. Discover Your Calling – Then Be Good at It
Every leader and church needs to discover who you are and what you’re called to do. Then, do that and be that!
Giving people something worth committing to isn’t a matter of competing with the big church down the street. It’s not about offering nicer facilities, bigger events or even better preaching. It’s about discovering what God has called you and your church to be great at, then being great at that.
Excellence isn’t limited to churches with big budgets.
There’s no excuse for second-rate. It costs no more time or money to do it right. It just takes a full commitment.
5. Don’t Just Talk – Hang Out and Listen
No one wants a relationship in which one side does all the talking. We have TV and movies for that.
But even TV and movies are giving way to social media. One of the best parts about watching a show that has some social media buzz is chatting about it on Twitter and Facebook as it airs.
People want to engage with others, not just sit passively while someone else talks.
Sadly, the church does not have a reputation of being open to dialog – or to hard questions. And definitely not to criticism.
No, you don’t have to turn your sermon into a discussion group (although, some churches do that with great success), but there needs to be an easy and obvious way for people to engage, dialog, chat, hang out and feel like their life and their opinion matters.
And leaders, especially pastors of small churches, need to be engaged in those conversations. Listening, participating and learning, not just teaching.
6. Keep Learning and Getting Better
I communicate, minister and lead much differently today than I when I started in pastoral ministry 35 years ago. In fact I do it differently than I did just ten years ago. And I expect to change at least as much in the next five years.
I now have over 30 years of ministry experience in addition to my formal ministry training. But that experience matters less today than it ever has. If I’m not constantly learning, listening and growing, I’ll fall behind very quickly.
But that shouldn’t intimidate us. Learning and growing is Discipleship 101. It’s central to being a follower of Jesus, let alone a church leader.
Jesus never made discipleship easy. He always inspired people to a bigger commitment by calling them to a greater challenge.
Too many leaders limit the expectations they have for their members to sitting in a pew and filling gaps in existing ministries. We think we can’t ask more of them because … well … they’re not even doing that!
But a lot of uncooperative church members and recently unchurched people aren’t as disinterested as we think. Like some of the rowdy kids in school, they’re not skipping class because we’re asking too much of them. They’re acting out because they’re not being challenged.
People are deciding that leaving church is better than being bored in church. I don’t blame them.
If we don’t challenge people through a genuine experience of worship, fellowship, discipleship and ministry, they’ll do one of four things: 1) go to a church that challenges them more, 2) go to a church that entertains them better, 3) show up physically, but disengage in every other way, or 4) stopping going to church entirely.
People want to go to a church where they’re challenged by something bigger than themselves and where their gifts are being used to further that cause.
If you ask small, you’ll get a small commitment. Ask large and your joy might be full.