By Dr. Terry Rials
May 30, 2014
Let’s talk briefly about your pastor and church revitalization.
Virtually all experts agree that the primary responsibility for leading the church in revitalization falls upon the pastor. In this discipline leadership is everything. However, in most instances, if the pastor knew what to do he would do it. The difficulty lies in the fact that the church has begun a downward spiral with one problem propagating another. A declining, or plateaued, church has experienced the loss of church membership, workers, and givers.
Everyone knows that the church needs workers and givers to reach people. Even if the church is not losing membership or workers, the church that is not growing and reaching new, young families is a church that is just getting older together. How does a pastor lead a congregation that is plateaued, declining, or getting older?
Today’s pastor needs to be something of an expert in leading congregational change, which is required if we are to see revitalization occur in the life of the church. The required change is the kind that occurs in the hearts of the people. Simply doing what we used to do, doing it better, or working harder is not the answer. We need God to break our hearts for the people of our community. We need to ask God to change us, so we can reach the current generation. Those we are trying to reach in the millennial generation think quite differently than those in the congregation. The things that are important to us are not as important to them. While belonging is important to us, attending is sufficient for them. Millennials do not value church membership as we do. I am not suggesting that the church change its gospel or its theology, but our approach may need adjusting if we are to reach this generation.
Today’s pastor needs your prayer support. Ask any pastor and he will tell you that the task of pastoring today is much more challenging than it was just twenty years ago. The demands placed upon the pastor have never been greater and there are some very sobering statistics to prove it. According to one recent survey, 1,700 pastors leave the ministry each month; 1,300 of them are dismissed by their churches. Sadly, churches are chewing up pastors and spitting them out. Only one out of ten pastors who begin a career in ministry will retire from a ministry position. Eighty percent of pastors say that the ministry has had a negative impact on their families. Satan knows how to keep churches from being revitalized. He attacks churches by attacking the pastors. Pray like never before for your pastor, your church may depend upon it.
Today’s pastor needs his church to help him do the things only pastors can do, like leading the congregation and the church staff. He will tell you that he can be the pastor, but he cannot be the church. The church must step up and shoulder many of the responsibilities left at the feet of the pastor. The problem of the church in Acts 6 was that not enough time was available for those who led through prayer and the ministry of the Word.
Your pastor has the same problem, I assure you. What would happen in your church if your pastor was refreshed? If he had 50% more time for prayer and sermon preparation, I think you’d see a different man in the pulpit. Today’s pastor needs to connect with other leaders to help him focus on revitalization in his church setting. Encourage your pastor to seek training in revitalization, a specialized discipline in leadership. Business leaders who are able to lead Fortune 500 companies back into profitability are highly sought and amply compensated because there are so few who can lead revitalization. I am convinced that revitalization leadership is a skill that can be learned. Pastors had better learn to do this because 3,500 people are leaving the church each day and 7,000 churches in America will close their doors this year.
Statistics from http://www.9marks.org/blog/dont-make-your-pastor-statistic
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