Have you ever wondered how to effect deep change in a church?
I was at a meeting with the elders of the church the other night. As one of the elders made a presentation I slowly scanned the room. Looking at the faces of the people, I noticed I was smiling because I would recall specific conversations I’ve had with them, memories flooding my mind.
And then it hit me: I’m part of this church. Not just in a technical sense—being employed on the pastoral team—but I have really become part of the church. I am part of the narrative. I know most of the leaders. I feel comfortable enough to put my arm around them and joke around with them. I’m really part of the family.
So how long did it take for me to feel like this? 3.5 years.
3.5 years of different experiences: preaching, visiting, leading, listening, and living with them. I think for most people, it takes several years like this to have a sense of ownership and to feel comfortable in your own skin; like you’re no longer the new guy.
There’s a certain change that happens—it’s a change from being hosted, to feeling like the host; a change from being served, to jumping into the back of the kitchen to serve others.
Why do I bring this up?
Because it takes time to effect deep change. It involves you, as the leader, sticking around. I’ve heard stories of pastors only being in a church for a year or two or three before they start to get a little itchy and are tempted to seek a different placement.
Please hear me pastors: you need to stick around. Stay in your church past the first big fight you have with a leader. Reconcile. Go deeper with your people.
I think that’s when the real work begins.
So what do you think? To leave a comment click here.
[image by doug88888]