issue21 031823

Issue #21: This Ah-Ha Moment Shocked Me and Changed Our Church Forever

Feeding & Leading the Sheep

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This Ah-Ha Moment Shocked Me and Changed Our Church Forever

I reached a point in my seventh year of pastoring TJC where I thought we were better than our actual numbers. I couldn’t understand why we didn’t have more to show from our labors.

There were other churches that didn’t preach as effectively as us or share our robust theology that blew past us in attendance, quality of facilities, and dollars to do ministry.

It didn’t make sense.

It made me mad. “How?” “Why?”

These things aren’t guaranteed blessings when serving in ministry, but they are fruit we hope to see when faithfully leading a church body.

The question rose in my mind, “Do I have what it takes to lead TJC to reach its full redemptive potential?”

Everything Changed

Then I was invited to a conference focused on developing pastors as leaders. I almost declined because I had dismissed a focus on leadership as pragmatic and too business oriented.

I had adopted a “just preach the gospel and let God worry about the rest” philosophy.

“Theology > Leadership”

This was correct, but this shouldn’t have meant:

“Leadership = Bad”

But for me, it had. I dismissed its importance and excused TJC’s lack of progress with an appeal to our “faithfulness.”

I reluctantly went to the conference…and God rocked my world.

Session after session revealed that I was not a good leader. Did I have the skills and capacity to be a good leader? Yes. But at that moment in time, I was not leading TJC well.

I returned from the conference and journaled. My entry for August 8th, 2013, began with, “Oh boy, I’m not the leader I need to be.” I outlined the ways my lack of leadership had contributed to or exasperated the problems TJC was facing.

My frustrations at a lack of progress boiled down to ME. Most of the time, the problem was my passive leadership. I struggled to make decisions, be courageous, voice convictions, and make hard calls.

That day wrought change in me. TJC is different today, nearly 10 years later, because of that ah-ha moment I had in 2013. I realized my failure to lead well and determined to change. I committed to growing as a leader by finding personal coaches, reading leadership books and articles, and taking responsibility.

1 Actionable Tip

Start leading effectively or you will grow frustrated at your church’s lack of progress.

Take personal responsibility for growing as a leader. If you don’t, the church will spin its wheels and wander in the wilderness. Churches do not reach their full redemptive potential without good leadership.

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Maybe this article will serve as the ah-ha moment that catapults you into being a better leader. Your church will thank you.

Keep Developing As A Leader

1. 1-on-1 Pastor Mentoring. For those who want to get a more tailored coaching experience, this option helps you grow in church leadership skills and solving your church-specific challenges. Sign-up soon, limited spots.

2. Church Consulting. If your church needs revitalization and desires assistance in developing a vision and strategy for going forward, this option can be great for you. We not only help diagnosis issues but work with you to create a plan and coach you on execution.

3. Student Ministry Leader Lab. Join us in Nashville August 3-4th for coaching and practical help for leading an effective student ministry. Register here.