At our recent series of Innovate leadership forums we asked this question; “What one word best describes your church today?”
From Vancouver to Moncton, one of the words we heard over and over was this:
We then profiled Canadian church leaders whose church had found ways to get things moving again. These were the key discoveries:
1. Leaders must be secure
Laurel Buckingham, senior pastor of Moncton Wesleyan Church, the largest church in Atlantic Canada, stressed that in order for a church to find new traction the point leader must be secure in themselves.
Only out of a secure place can the leader find the courage to ask the tough questions that must be addressed when a church is stalled.
2. Leaders must focus on soul-care
It’s not possible to lead your church toward renewed momentum when your soul is dry.
This was a key observation of Greg Hochhalter, lead pastor of Sherwood Park Alliance Church near Edmonton.
Greg noted that his marching orders from his board are that he must lead “out of a deep well”, and that his board has provided the means by which he can find the spiritual nourishment he requires.
3. Leaders must be willing to shake up the team
Drawing on more than 30 years of pastoral ministry, our national pastor Tim Schroeder reminded us that the team that “got you stuck” is unlikely to be the team that gets you “unstuck”.
Tim wasn’t advocating the arbitrary dismissal of your leadership team, but did challenge leaders to have the courage to shake things up.
4. Leaders must focus mission and strategy around the church’s core strengths
If a church is to get unstuck it must relentlessly focus on its distinctiveness.
Tim and Greg each reminded us that many stuck churches simply provide too many ministry offerings, thus dissipating precious resources and leading to a lack of ministry focus. A related trap, we learned, was in following trends of other churches, particularly “celebrity churches”.
Instead, we were reminded, to get moving again you must recognize your church’s unique strengths and focus there.
The bottom line in all this?
- Churches do get stuck
- They won’t get unstuck by themselves
- To get things moving again is up to the leader whose heart is fully yielded before God.
Is your church stuck? What are you doing to get things moving again?