If you asked the crowd of women and men that began Leadership Essentials in Nebraska this spring, they would quickly tell you:
It’s the pastor’s responsibility to help shape a congregational focus around the mission of God.
God the Father sent Jesus, His Son—fully God and fully man—to live out a perfect life for a world of people that have been separated from God by sin and rebellion against God. Jesus offered the perfect, sinless sacrifice on a cross. He died, was buried, and He’s alive! Risen from the dead! Ascended into heaven, and before He comes again, He sends His people as ambassadors to the people of the world He died for so they might believe and be welcomed into the Kingdom of God.
And, if the pastor doesn’t help the congregation focus on that mission of God, no one else successfully will!
And the pastor should never do that with manipulation and heavy-handed control but out of the character and integrity in their life and their influence through the quality of their relationships with people.
Yes, I feel confident they would tell you that!
Now, here’s what pastors told the Barna Group in a recent survey:
Only 5% of pastors identified their congregations as being very effective at reaching out with the Gospel of Jesus in their communities!
Only 5% of U.S. congregations!
Remember last week when I mentioned that we have a problem? And that the solution is not a “technical solution” of adjusting what we always do? (Hint: it calls for adaptive leadership.)
So, I want to go two directions here!
And remember, of course, that I’m a huge champion for pastors (and their spouses if they’re married), especially attempting to live with integrity and lead in these days!
It’s difficult to….
Expect pastors to lead differently given the research data shared last week about their own well-being and sense of calling!
And, it’s difficult to …
Expect pastors to produce a different result when the average congregation member sees the purpose of the church is to serve them and make them feel comfortable! And, they see their pastor as the “employee” rather than the leader who better disciples them to follow Jesus and be sent into their world.
So! If pastors are accurate that only 5% of our Christian churches in the United States are effectively engaging their communities with the Gospel of Jesus… sent by the Father, lived a perfect life…crucified, died, buried, risen, ascended, coming again… for us to place our trust in Him…
And, there are approximately 350,000 Christian churches in the United States?
…that would be only 21,000 churches effectively focused on reaching their community.
And, there are approximately 334,000,000 people in the United States?
That would mean, on average, each of the 21,000 churches would be trying to actively engage 15,904 people with the Gospel!
WE HAVE NOT IMAGINED A SOLUTION LARGE ENOUGH FOR THE PROBLEMS THAT THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH IN THE U.S. IS FACING!
So, some thoughts!
- Way too many churches are never going to abandon their consumer/employee mentality toward their congregation/pastor in favor of Jesus’ own model of discipling the few to be sent to reach the many!
- Pastors, and people alike, would be wise to discover the fully online discipling to be sent of 1,000 Young Leaders and of Multipli for any age. Challenges of this magnitude begin with some early pioneers who discover the joy of being used by God in this mission and inspiring the rest of the congregational system that it’s worth the challenge of thinking and living differently.
- Leaders need to grow and develop in both character and competency given the personal realities we looked at last week and the congregational reality this week. To that end, I recommend you take a look at Leadership Essentials starting this fall in Southern California, or at D2MC starting this fall in Des Moines, Iowa. And as soon as you, or your council, say, “Can we afford the time, money, energy, etc.?”… simply answer, “Read these first 2 blogs and ask: How can we afford not to?”