It’s not easy!
If you’re the pastor of a church needing revitalization, you know better than most how difficult it can be to lead the church into healthy change. So many naturally see their own traditions and preferences as both godly and biblical. Unfortunately, so many good folk in the pews have had this fallacy enforced from the pulpit. And thus, we have so many churches who would rather their church shrivel up and die than step up and change.
Clearly I am not talking about changing doctrine or the message of the Gospel. I’m talking about adjusting methodology for the sake of advancing Christ’s Kingdom. Sometimes the memorial plaques need to be taken down. Sometimes the wood panelling needs to be replaced. Sometimes the music needs to be updated. Sometimes the church needs to change.
So, how can a good pastor lead change in his local church?
II Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Remember how patient the Lord has been with you. It took you a long time to study the Scripture and come to the Biblical conclusions at which you’ve arrived. The Master never got frustrated with you. He never threatened to leave you behind or cast you out. He patiently waited for you to arrive at the truth.
Be patient with the man or woman who is having a difficult time adjusting to the changes you’ve implemented. We speak a lot more about this in Episode #37 of The Idea Talks Podcast.
II Timothy 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
One of the pastors I admire most has said many times, “If the pastor stays, the problems leave. If the pastor leaves, the problems stay.” I’ve thought about this statement many times over the last 15 years at Southern Hills. When leading any organization through change, you’re going to face opposition. When leading a local church through change, you’re going to face spiritual opposition, emotional opposition, and often physical opposition. This will not come easily. Don’t give up! Don’t give in! Be persistent and follow Christ regardless of the opposition.
Again, we speak a lot more about this in Episode #37 of The Idea Talks Podcast.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
People will leave. It’s going to happen. This is terribly difficult for the pastor. Many who have never held the position of Sr. Pastor can hardly understand the depths of despair one will experience when a member of the church quietly (or loudly) announces their disagreement and immediate departure from the church. Yes! You’re going to miss them! But their presence is not the driving motivation that should keep you going. Their absence will sting. But their absence is far preferable to the absence of the Good Shepherd who is leading you to lead the flock into biblical change. They may leave – but Christ is with you.
One last time, we speak a lot more about this in Episode #37 of The Idea Talks Podcast.
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