Last night I planned the youth night at the park. Our very small group has a hard time inviting friends and convincing them to try out our youth nights so I decided to make things easy. Using the park as a teachable moment – I planned fun games that would be easy for others to join in and told the kids that if they saw kids they knew or even teenagers they did not know they could ask them to join the games. I planned the lesson around being light to the world and allowing Jesus’ light to shine through us by showing love, kindness and joy to those around.
The day turned out to be bright and sunny with a mild breeze absolutely perfect for a night at the park. All geared up and excited about the potential to break through the kids mindset that nobody would join us we headed out. Our fifteen minute drive which started in sunshine ended at the park under overcast skies! Well I looked around and there were still people out at the park so I did not give up hope. We greeted our tiny group and headed off to start our first game.
2 minutes into the game – you guessed it – drip, drop, spit, spat! By the end of the first game we had a nice drizzle going and the park had emptied of everyone but us! Well, we made the best of it. We had our lesson under the shelter and then it stopped raining enough for us to do the rest of our games and the kids had fun. Which was great – but no one else came to play at the park, let alone with us.
These poor kids already have a defeated mentality when it comes to reaching out – they have been rejected and teased for their efforts. They certainly did not need to have that added to last night. During our lesson time we regrouped and shifted the focus – we talked about being the light and being joyful and kind to each other all the time and then rather than focus on inviting others to join us we focused on the kids who were there, having a great time and learning some valuable lessons.
Looking at the churches we have worked in and the pastors we have worked with – I see the “rained out” affect written all over them. Defeated one too many times, they have become complacent, burned out, lost their zeal to try. Actually they have become the walking wounded. They are plugging along but getting nowhere. They might take a step forward but when the rain comes again it is two steps back.
One of the traps that pastors and churches fall into is that they keep trying! Yep, you heard me right. They keep focusing on what they wish would work, trying new things, pushing to get people in the door, look good to those outside so they will want to come in. As they keep trying they do it with less and less excellence, giving it a half-hearted try at best.
STOP! That is my recommendation to you. If it isn’t working stop trying. START – looking at why. Chances are pretty good that the people trying, pastor included are worn down, beat up and feeling defeated. Change on the inside must happen before reaching outside will be successful!
Pastors NEED to take a step back, humble themselves, look inside and see where change needs to start. Healing, refreshing, regrouping. The foundation needs to be repaired before rebuilding can occur.
Luke 6:48-49 says…”They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well-built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Pastors must lead the charge and the change. A healthy, equipped, enthusiastic leader produces the same in fruit. Once a pastor regroups he/she is then ready to help the church move forward.
Staying the same, means doing the same and will produce the same old fruit.
Is your church stuck? Pastor, are you constantly feeling rained out? It is time for a fresh start, a good look at the inside, a new foundation on which to make a new plan which will in turn produce new fruit.
Get plugged in – find a pastoral coach that specializes in change and revitalization. Find a trusted, proven healing ministry like Cleansing Stream Seminar. Get help from ministries like 4 HIS Ministry and churchleaders.com Read about church revitalization, where change starts and how it succeeds.
- Ten Things Pastors Wish They Knew (coryharasym.wordpress.com)
- Use the tools you HAVE not what you WISHED you had (bluechippastor.org)
- Is Your Church Organic? (donwambolt.wordpress.com)
I had to share this post because in our church restoration ministry I have found it to be absolutely true.
Pastors, if you have concerns about your church check out these 11 signs to look for. If you go to ChurchLeaders.com there is a follow up article called “6 Steps DYING Churches Must Take to Find Life” It is a bang-on description of warning signs and necessary changes for Church Revitalization. Over and over again we have found these things to be true. Please take the time to read these articles and know that with caring, experienced help your church can turn away from hopelessness and become the missing centre of many peoples’ life once again. If your church is willing to implement the 6 steps or get help from a ministry who does church restoration like 4 H.I.S. Ministry then it can not only recover but it can once again thrive.
As with any area of life where help is needed – the first step is recognizing the problem, please check out the following post.