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Enrichment Journal - Enriching and Equipping Spirit-filled Ministers

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Making Decisions

By Wade I. Goodall


“The prudent gives thought to his steps” (Proverbs 14:15b).

Thinking through our life, work, and decisions are privileges that we have been given by our Creator. Dawson Trotman (founder of Navigators) said, “God gave you an awful lot of leading when He gave you a mind.” As pastors and leaders, we can often be caught up in the whirlwind of decisions, pressures, crisis, and conflict. At times, life comes at us so fast we make choices without processing (slowing things down enough to evaluate) and can make mistakes simply because of not thinking things through.

I have listed some thought-provoking facts and ideas that you can use as you process and lead your ministry or church. These observations are things I have personally experienced and had a lot of discussion about. All of these pieces might not fit into the puzzle of where you are, but many of them will.

The Pastor’s Priorities in a Healthy Church:

  • A strong personal walk with God.
  • A healthy marriage and family.

  • A balanced life and healthy relationships.

  • A clear vision with a specific strategy.

  • Clear, timely communication (to congregation, staff, and leaders).

  • Leadership development/coaching/mentoring.

  • Delegation to groomed leaders.

  • Focus on specific goals.

  • Prayer and planning times (scheduled meditation, thinking, solitude).

  • Create or develop a hobby.

  • Find emotional balance. (Ask for help if you need it.) Talk to a friend (or Christian counselor) about your feelings of tension, panic, and concern.

  • Ask Jesus to help you pace yourself.

  • Cherish the temple (your body) of the Holy Spirit.

Things That Prevent Growth and Distract the Pastor from His Primary Focus:

  • Confrontation and conflict issues.

  • Micro managing. 

  • Not delegating (versus empowering others). 

  • Not focusing on the big picture — we must continually ask, “What is the big picture?” 

    • Being sure both you and your ministry are Christ-like. 

    • Demonstrating the kingdom of God in your community. 

    • Helping meet the needs of your community. 

    • Understanding and working within your culture. 

    • Being salt and light.

Growth Killers:

  • Tradition that is not relevant.
  • People who need discipline but are not dealt with appropriately. 
  • Power players/intimidators who will not change — these are often people who previous administrations have not dealt with.
  • Small church mentality — not thinking about and reaching those outside church walls.
  • Leadership is not in agreement about the big picture.

  • Pastor is not protected.

  • Pastor has team members who have confidentiality issues (give wrong or premature information).

  • Facilities and/or parking are inadequate.

Visitors:

  • The majority of people who visit our churches do so because of the Senior Pastor.
  • Most stay in churches because of relationships.
  • Friendship Evangelism is the most successful form of evangelism. The majority of people become Christ followers because of a friend.

Pastors (and/or their spouse) in Pain:

(Approximately 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month in America1) Why?

  • Conflict Issues.
  • Health reasons (the pastor or spouse).

  • Financial reasons.

    • 85% of America’s pastors have a congregation of approximately 90 people.

    • Pastors are in the most underpaid occupation for their level of education and experience.

 

Note
1. Focus on the Family, Dr. James Dobson.

Predictions:

  • Large churches will continue to grow (especially outside the U.S.).

  • Smaller (small focused, introverted) churches will become part of larger churches.

  • Smaller (numerically) churches in rural communities will continue to have a large impact.• Rural churches will develop unique strategies to collaborate with other nearby communities and ministries.

    • For now, the “Walmart” (multi-program, multi-ministry) style of church will continue to be the fastest growing type. Because they:

    • Offer something (Truth) for every age, need, and cultural group.

    • Have multi-campus ministries, which are becoming more popular and in most cases are working (often called: satellite churches, cathedral model, etc.).

    • Have small group ministry (for relationships, discipleship, and accountability). This is becoming a “relational” key to large churches that are growing. Most large churches (worldwide) utilize small group ministry. (Groups have many different titles: discipleship, affinity, Bible study, accountability, life groups, etc.)

Programs:

Any size church can and must develop healthy relationships that will connect people and close the “back door.”

  • Children’s programs are a family ministry that draws young couples and healthy families. (Growing churches do not hesitate to develop excellent children’s programs.)

  • Youth ministries must be relevant and relational.

  • Ministries to subcultures of the church (choir, benevolence, counseling teams, ministry outreach teams, missions work, etc.): The leaders in these departments need to “buy-in” to their role of connecting with people who are interested in their particular program(s).

Areas of potential fast growth because of need:

  • Baby Boomers are approximately 1/4 of the population of America, yet few churches focus on this group.

  • Men’s and women’s discipleship groups — (helping people grow in Christ – one-at-a-time). 

  • Small Groups — discipleship, relational, affinity – help people make like-minded friends.

  • Capturing our young peoples’ passion — young people need to see the reason for what is done and understand why their involvement will make a difference. “They want a hill that is worth dying on.” They are possibly the most innovative, aggressive, passionate group in America. Children’s ministry is essential to young parents and grandparents.

Today, we are seeing more people coming to Christ around the world than ever before in history. David Barrett (2011)

The College of Ministry at Northwest University is here to partner with you in your ministry. If you have any questions, want to discuss your particular strategy for ministry, or need a sounding board, please feel free to email or call us.

Yours, in Christ,

Dr. Wayde Goodall, D.Min

Dean, College of Ministry
Northwest University

 

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