To lead something from good to great takes grit. Despite knowing this, I can often find myself knowing what it takes to get somewhere, but hesitant to move forward.
“I’ll lose progress.”
“I’m not sure I’ll still be moving in the right direction.”
Instead of taking action, fear takes control, I stay complacent and progress ceases.
Can you relate?
As much as we all wish hope and prayer alone promised physical change, God calls His people to persevere with hope and prayer while stewarding our talents and what he bestows unto us.
Tony Morgan recently wrote an article about this—how churches won’t change what they’re doing unless their pain of staying becomes greater than the pain of where they must go. But, we are the leaders of His Kingdom. Why not take this title and calling with more ardor and tenacity? Why are we not searching the highs and lows, fighting to build something healthy to lead more people to Christ?
As I write this, I am reminded of the parable in Matthew 25. The master gave one servant five bags of gold, another two bags of gold and the third one bag of gold. While two of the servants doubled what their master gave them, the last buried the master’s givings in fear he wouldn’t bring returns.
Are we willing to take what the Lord has blessed us with and double it in size? Or will we choose to hold on tightly to what we have in fear of failure?
In The Unstuck Church, Tony walks through each stage of the typical church life cycle.
Planted on the left side of the church life cycle, the Strategic Growth phase requires an adjustment in systems, leadership and structure. It embodies the principles of hard work, discipline and a prayerful heart to multiply the Kingdom of God. While most church planters likely reach this phase expecting these things, how to build them is less tangible.
So, how do we begin, practically? Here are a few of Tony’s suggestions:
1. Shift from Personalities to Teams.
In the Strategic Growth phase, you experience a significant shift in leadership needs. You no longer can individually handle all that needs to be done. This must be reflected in your team. You, the leader, must learn how to retain your charismatic leadership that led you to where you are, while empowering others to also lead. You simply can’t do it by yourself anymore. You’ll experience the most success as a church by employing team-based leadership. Failing to do this is a reason some churches get stuck in this phase.
2. Confirm Your Discipleship Path.
Until now, it was probably easy to develop relationships. You could recognize the new among the regulars, and relationships formed like clockwork. As your church experiences growth, people have to take a step to experience a relationship. What next step opportunities are easily available for guests? Members? Developing this pathway helps people form relationships in the church and, more importantly, grow in a relationship with Christ.
3. Establish Systems.
Ensure you have your vision, mission, and values in place. Make sure roles are clear and decision rights are understood. Clear communication and planning at this stage will help prevent future confusion and frustration.
The parable concludes, “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘You entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.” His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matt 25: 19-21 NIV
Your journey and growth through the first two stages were relatively easy compared to what’s ahead. Be prepared to work.
Pray. Plan. Put in the hard work. Lead. God wants to entrust you with more.
Unsure where your church sits in its life cycle? Take the free Unstuck Church Assessment today to lead your church to health.