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Prompting a New Paradigm

The catalyst for these comments:

Lunch with a midwest LCMS district president and with a visionary pastor intent on seeing bunches of congregations more vibrant or vibrant again.

The president recited a fairly long list of congregations that will not be able to afford a full time pastor when the current one (maybe poorly paid one?) retires.

So, what if a couple of those congregations broke ranks and became pioneers and simply said:

“We need a gifted (well paid!) 43% FTE (full time equivalent) pastor that will lead us out on missionagain in our communities.”

  • We don’t know how to do this.
  • And, we certainly don’t know yet how to re-engage our community with the Gospel.
  • But, if we’re gonna die, we’re gonna die giving ourselves away (Philippians 2:5-11).

Rather than paying their pastor poorly or shrinking farther away from the community that God has visions for reaching, why not pay their pastor really well for 73% or 37% FTE and then offer the pastor the freedom to supplement the rest another way?

…and then start asking how to live out the Mission of God in our community again.

LIke it or not most churches (even the ones that don’t think so) are working with a broken ministry/business model that will catch up with them in two years or ten years. (So, some of you in 2021? Check the archives here!) That’s why it’s doubly important that we…

OK. It’s messy right? You don’t like it? Let’s go a bit further.

(Trust me. Lots of churches are already doing something like parts of the above with staff or pastors or their communities.)

The future, and the messy path getting there, (yes messy path!) will see more and more churches less and less dependent on full time pastors and  more and more on the people of God experiencing joy in the Mission of God…

…or they will die or shrink into irrelevance.

There will always be–always as in at least for a long time–plenty of churches with full time pastors and attractive ministries filled with incredible programs. No doubt about it.

But, here’s the key, if you search for your 72%er or 17%er…

  • Don’t expect full time for part time. Be honest!
  • Be generous in helping them think through how to fund the rest of their family income. (This isn’t easy for them, either!)
  • But, insist that they disciple you to become leaders of mission around and beyond the walls of your church. (Here’s the “It” for lots of leaders that want to be in demandtomorrow.)

There are people in your community who gave up on coming to church a long time ago who never imagined that folks like you just might bring the Church, and Jesus, to them.

You see…this Paradigm, it’s not to “get by” or “survive” or “operate more lean and efficient.” It’s intended to free folks who somewhere lost the love of the mission.

PLI learning communities are full of hope-filled, courageous pioneers of churches of all sizes and types!  We’d be honored to have you or your leaders in those ranks.

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