As we continue to take a tour of the life of turn-around churches, we note that these turn-around churches need new pastors. That doesn’t mean necessarily a change of address but a change in attitude. I have met some individuals that say they have found their niche in life and that you take what you get. They give off the attitude that they have reached their climax and that there is no need to make any changes in their commitment to ministry. I could not disagree more with that attitude. We are all in need of improvement and that means especially those who shepherd God’s sheep. God is not looking for any CEO’s or prima donnas. He is looking for individuals who are like David, a man after God’s own heart.
Dr. Stetzer, in his book, Comeback Churches, says that 40 percent of these churches did not change pastors but the pastors changed to lead the churches from declining to growing. But this is going to be more challenging. He writes (p178) “It means changing yourself while you transform the congregation.” He goes on to write, “All pastors will have to ask themselves if they are willing to do whatever it takes to be used of God to be the kind of leaders needed to lead churches to be comeback churches.”
It is my conviction that we as shepherds/teachers of the Word of God should never settle for just getting by. God holds us accountable for the life of the congregation. I hear many say, “If they don’t like it then they can just leave.” And that is exactly what they do. Thus the decline in attendance. Pastor, you are held accountable for the entire congregation, not just the chosen few who are your “running buddies.” When God assigned you to this congregation, He assigned you to minister to the entire congregation.
God has boldly said that it is not His will that a church die. God is not the one who is killing off the congregations. It must be laid at the feet of the leadership.
“Our Church Needs A New Pastor”
April 29, 2019
It is reported that 80 percent of our Southern Baptist Churches are plateaued or declining. We have approximately 430,000 churches. I believe this represents a large problem for our convention. When a church begins to lose members, surveys revealed that it was because they were unhappy with the leadership or had been hurt by fellow members. Also, these churches grow more concern with what is happening and they begin to look for a quick fix. That quick fix usually focuses on the pastor. He needs to go. Pastors find themselves caught in the middle of this and they loose their focus because of fear. They are more concerned about their x than they are depending on our LORD.
I believe that leadership is the key to getting a church off the slippery slopes of decline. Usually a pastor says that it is time for him to look for another church so he puts his resume out hoping that some church will give him a look-see. The only problem is that he is the same person that was leading this declining church. What has changed other than his address?
Dr. Ed Stetzer, in his book, “Comeback Churches” says that if a church is going to get out of the rut of decline and become a comeback church they do need a new pastor. However, that doesn’t not mean a “new” pastor necessarily. It does mean that they need a “RENEWED” pastor. Just because you change addresses doesn’t mean your ministry will be any different. Unless the pastor desires to re-align himself with the plan God has for His church, then the honeymoon of the next church will follow in the same foot steps. The Word of God reminds us to (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV) “Study to show yourself approved unto God, a worker that does not need to be ashamed, correctly handling the Word of Truth.” You, as a pastor, have been called and commissioned to present the Word of God in such a way that it will change the hearts and lives of people God has put under your care.
Yes, it is absolutely true – our churches need new pastors. Some need a change in address but all need a change in attitude about their role and work as God’s shepherd for God’s flock. It was King David, in his confessional prayer (Psalms 51) who asked God to “Renew a right Spirit in his life.” This would not be a bad daily prayer for all pastors/staff.
And let me recommend Dr. Stetzer’s book, “Comeback Churches.” If you find yourself or the church God has assigned to you in a declining mode, this book is for you. If you would do just 10 percent of all these suggested ideas, God will bless and give life back into the “dry bones,” but it must start with you, pastor.