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Relational Patience (via Ed Stetzer)

In a post about necessary qualities of church revitalisers (those who come be nurture new vitality in an existing church, in contrast with church planters who are starting a new church) Ed Stetzer writes about the need for relational patience, a quality any pastor who is working with an existing church needs.

…church revitalizers must have relational patience
If you’re planting a church, you do not necessarily have to be relationally patient. A church planter can come into an area and do their thing, and if people don’t respond, they can move on. But in church revitalization, it is essential to be relationally patient. Church revitalizers need to take time with people and love people who don’t always agree with them.
They must remember that a church member disagreeing with them is not the same thing as disagreeing with God. There will be people who have different views, approaches, and philosophies. A church revitalizer needs to have the patience to take time to weigh all of those opinions. They have to learn how to love the entire congregation well, including those they disagree with. That takes a great amount of relational patience.

Read the whole post.


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The Pastor As Curator (via Daniel Darling)

I’ve been happy about not having the maintenance of an aged/decaying/historic building as part of my job description at MGPC.
So I’ve not thought of myself as a curator, someone occupied with the past.
Daniel Darling points out that there is an aspect of a pastor’s role that involves some level of curation.
We serve as conduits and gatekeepers with regard to resources and teaching for our congregation.
Even in this internet search engine driven age, pastors have the privilege of spending our time discovering and weighing up various resources.
And the trust we have means our recommendations carry weight. A teacher we value is unknown to most. It’s my recommendation of them that carries weight.
My former colleague Ian Touzel excelled at this.

From Daniel Darling:

This is a part of ministry that isn’t often mentioned in Bible college, one that I was never taught: the task of filtering and curating reliable, helpful resources for the people of God.
This early ministry experience was a fresh reminder of the gap that can exist between pulpit and pew, leadership and laity. Church leaders often live in a rarified Christian bubble; it can be easy to assume that everyone else is aware of pieces of Christian thought and culture that are just not on their radar. This is why leaders need to be proactive about leaving those bubbles and getting into the lives of their people to learn the conversations they’re a part of—and, when appropriate, invite them to participate in new ones.
In many ways, pastors and other church leaders act as gatekeepers. Church members assume their leaders are filtering out the very best kind of Christian resources and regularly making those things available. Of course, Christian content can be found in a variety of sources outside the church walls: Christian radio, the Internet, bookstores. But for the most part, church members are busy living their lives—busy with kids, careers, and finances. They depend on pastors, elders, deacons, and other mentors to be curators, to sort through the stacks of Christian content, choosing good resources and discouraging resources that confuse or distort the truth.

Read the rest of the article here.


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Why Plurality In Church Leadership? (via Dave Harvey)

The church I belong to believes that local churches are served by a group of leaders, a plurality in older language.
It’s not led by paid leadership or staff, with lay leaders performing like a consultative focus group or a board of directors.
Why would we believe that God desires this model of ministry for the local church?

Dave Harvey at Desiring God:

Of all the ways God could organize local church leadership, why plurality? It is not about simplicity, ease, or efficiency. When one considers all of the polity options God could have chosen for governing churches, it’s easy to see that he gave the church a plural leadership with a different set of goals in mind. But I believe God chose plurality because he loves humility.
“This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
If I’m right, God chose this method of church governance because, to work well, plurality requires what God values. Humility, contrition, word-trembling leadership — these are the kind of leaders to whom God looks. It’s no surprise to discover that these are also the values he requires for an effective plurality.

Source

It’s been my privilege to experience that plurality, that grouping of leaders again tonight.


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A Menial Work, By Design (via David Powlison)

Although not central to the book’s theme, this tangental observation about pastoral life rings true:

…by design, ministry is menial work. It means being a servant, someone’s assistant, a helper. You are running errands. You lay down your life so that another person’s life might go better. Discontentment and complaining reveal pride, as if menial work were “beneath me.”

David Powlison, God’s Grace In Your Suffering, Crossway, 2018, pg. 41.

On to another day of service.


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Giving Guidance, Not Answers (via Dan Rockwell)

Dan Rockwell points out that giving answers gives a wonderful sense of power, but it builds a limiting dependence while guidance nurtures people’s growth and maturity.

At first, giving answers feels powerful, but then you wonder why people beat a path to your door – never mind that they won’t take action without your nod of approval.
Answer-giving creates dependency.
Guidance shows respect, builds confidence, and enables action.
People come to you looking for specific answers. Give them guidance instead.

[Three fruits of guidance:]
#1. Guidance provides a panoramic view.
#2. Guidance enables thinking.
#3. Guidance clarifies responsibility.

Read more at Leadership Freak where Rockwell even provides situations when giving answers is ok.


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The Difference Between Change And Transition (via Jeff Iorg)

Change and Transition are not the same.
One will involve the other and healthy experiences of each need to identify both aspects and plan for their implementation distinctively.
Failure to acknowledge one or the other will hinder successful experiences of change and transition.
From a longer list drawn from Jeff Iorg by Ed Stetzer:

Foundational to helping people through major change is this seminal idea: change is different than transition. Change is the new circumstances introduced into organizational life, i.e. a new staffing plan going into effect on a specific date. Transition, on the other hand, is the emotional, psychological, and spiritual adjustments people go through when change is implemented.

Read the rest of Iorg’s list here.


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Six Reminders On The Importance Of Pastoral Leadership (via Erik Reed)

Erik Reed developed a six item list to remind himself of the importance of pastoral leadership.
I’m conscious of building in preparation for those who will follow after me; and know that my role gets me a certain amount of trust and influence but only time and relationship will nurture deep trust and influence, so these two really stood out to me.

Remember the short life span of my leadership opportunity.
Someone is going to replace me. I am pastoring someone else’s future church. While recognizing this is sobering and humbling, it also motivating to lead well and courageously while I have the opportunity. I need to lead recognizing that I am a steward of something bigger than me.
Remember that my position gives me a seat at the table, but my actions determine the extent of my influence.
I am the Lead Pastor at The Journey Church. This gives me a seat at the table on leadership discussions and decisions. I have built in authority because of my position. But my position does not determine my influence, my actions do. This leads me to focus on what I do instead of where I am on the org chart. The most influential people are not always the ones with the most authoritative positions.

Read the whole post at Lifeway Pastors.