Dear Senior Pastor,
Yours is a tough job. The responsibility buck stops with you, and I get that totally.
The list you’re about to read is said with love and familiarity with both “pairs of shoes,” and it’s nothing new, really. I’m just slipping it across your virtual desk as a reminder.
1. Give loving feedback early on. Don’t wait until staff review time or a board meeting six months later to let your youth worker know you weren’t happy with something. How can they improve if the expectations are unknown? Make sure there aren’t any unspoken/invisible rules.
Partnerships are crucial in today’s culture. Great organizations seem to always have a strong ability to partner well. If you want to grow your organization or project or initiative, finding, building and sustaining great partnerships has to be part of your plan.
Partnerships are not always easy, though. Teaming up with one another can result in true synergy—or, many times, can result in ultimate failure.
Here are a few thoughts on why creating great partnerships is a must for you and your organization:
It is one of the most unpredictable jobs one could have. There will be weeks when there won’t be much taking place out of the ordinary, and the pastor will work a “mere” 40 to 45 hours. There will be other weeks filled with meetings, emergency hospital calls, a wedding, two funerals, and line of members waiting to see the pastor. That workweek could total 80 hours.
So we surveyed pastors on Twitter and asked them a simple question: How many average hours do you work a week, including sermon preparation? Though we asked for an average, most responded with a range. We thus took the midpoint of the range they submitted. We also asked this question only of fulltime vocational pastors.
One of the reasons churches get stuck is that they’re unwilling to change. They don’t want to rock the boat. Leaders are afraid. People may leave. People may stop giving.
Over time, the culture becomes reticent to change. The status quo becomes the driving value.
When churches stop changing, people get comfortable. It’s impossible for Christ-followers to get comfortable and be sold-out to Jesus at the same time. Comfort is not the goal.
This is probably obvious, but let me offer this advice: If you want to be in a church that embraces change, you have to begin to make some changes.
In my latest non-scientific Twitter survey, I asked the following question of pastors and church staff: What is your biggest challenge in ministry?
Here are the top 12 responses with representative quotes. I’ve taken the liberty to expand most of the quotes from their abbreviated form in Twitter.
1. Apathy and internal focus. “I have been in ministry for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen church members more apathetic and internally focused.”
Habits impact churches much more than they realize. In fact, many churches are stuck because of bad habits.
Charles Duhigg writes in The Power of Habit, “Most of the choices we make each day may feel like the products of well-consumed decision making, but they’re not. They’re habits. And though each habit means relatively little on its own ... over time the way we organize our thoughts and routines has enormous impacts.”
Lately, I have noticed four recurring bad habits developed by teams with no clear ministry strategy.