If Your Church is Drifting and Stuck, Should You Try to Change From Within?

frustrated-save-church-from-withinjonathanherron.com/2016/08/24/church-drifting-stuck-try-change-within

By: Jonathan Herron

What do you do if you’re a frustrated support staff member of a visionless church? Do you try to change things from within?

THE QUESTION:

Hi Jonathan,

I was at the Youth Workers Retreat that you spoke at last weekend, and I had a follow up question for you. First of all, thanks so much for your honest words and practical advice. I had a lot of great takeaways from the retreat and really appreciate your perspective!

My husband is the youth director at a 100+ year old church, and I am his most faithful volunteer leader (whether by choice or not :). We’re also on the worship team and a part of an effort to grow the young adult population in our church (we’re both in our mid-twenties).

As many very established churches are, ours is an “insider” church full of church politics and stagnancy.

The building itself is in a rich mission-field, directly across the street from a very high-poverty inner-city high school, but most of our members don’t live in the community and are primarily middle- to upper-middle class, white, grew-up-in-the-church Christians (not much diversity).

We felt a strong call to become members of the church and for my husband to take the role of youth director a couple years ago. Probably the largest factor in that decision (and our decision to stay at the church since then) is our intention to try to make a change within the church.

We often feel like all of our energy spent in relation to our church is pushing and pulling the congregation to think and act less self-centeredly and more missionally.

My husband has been pushed in his job as youth director to focus more on making other church members happy than to focus on outreach.

It’s frustrating to say the least, and we consider leaving the church just about every week, to be quite honest!

After hearing everything you had to say about deciding who you’re willing to lose (Christians or non-Christians) and how in most circumstances, the only people that get mad about things in the church are other Christians, our feelings of “what are we doing here!?” are especially strong.

In your opinion, do you see any value in having a personal mission of trying to open the eyes of the insider, self-centered culture of an old church like ours…or are we just wasting our time?

MY ANSWER:

Hey there!

Thank you for your email — I completely understand what you’re saying because my wife and I have been in your exact shoes!

Let me cut to the chase: In church-world, you can either resurrect the dead or birth a new baby.

Birthing a new baby is easier (that’s why my family sacrificed everything to start Life Church Michigan from scratch).

Any meaningful change within a church HAS to be birthed out of the heart of the senior pastor.

If the senior pastor is not the one leading the change, the change will not happen. Period.

Your job is to support the leadership of the lead guy. Hebrews 13:17 says,

Be responsive to your pastoral leaders. Listen to their counsel. They are alert to the condition of your lives and work under the strict supervision of God. Contribute to the joy of their leadership, not its drudgery. Why would you want to make things harder for them?

My advice? If you cannot 110% support and champion the vision of the senior pastor, quit.

Today.

Flip burgers for six months until God brings you to a church where you can completely champion the vision, love the senior pastor and have his back, and use your gifts to further the Kingdom through the local church.

Your job is NOT to create change from within. God did not appoint you as senior pastor.

I’ll take it a step further: even if your senior pastor were a Disney Villain, it is not your job to challenge him and try to hijack the church.

David was given the opportunity to kill King Saul and stage a coup d’etat, yet he didn’t:

For I said, ‘I will never harm the king—he is the Lord’s anointed one.’

God will always honor leaders that can submit to authority and be in harmony with the church’s vision.

If you can’t do this at your current church, leave quickly and quietly. Don’t stick around for a paycheck (wrong heart motivation!). God does not bless sin, but He does bless humility and patience.

He will direct your steps and it is ok to work at the local video store or pizza delivery for a season.  (I have literally done both in the past 10 years!).

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, “How big is my God?”

Hope this advice helps!

=========================

ABOUT JONATHAN HERRON: I am the founding pastor of Life Church, one of the fastest-growing churches in Michigan.
I am focused on strategic leadership and engaging teaching, all fueled by a gnawing passion for engaging people far from God.
My unique ministry approach has been featured online in Time Magazine, USA Today, and The Washington Times.
Married seventeen years to my high school sweetheart, I have three children plus a wiener dog with a nervous bladder.

 

Related posts

WHAT THE CARPENTER SEES IN YOU

https://hutchcraft.com/a-word-with-you/your-most-important-relationship/what-the-carpenter-sees-in-you-7979  By Ron Hutchcraft  Hutchcraft.Com Many years ago we were shopping for a place...

A SPIRITUAL AWAKENING UNDERWAY AT WHITE HOUSE

http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/politics/2017/july/bible-studies-at-the-white-house-whos-at-the-heart-of-this-spiritual-awakening “It’s the best Bible study that I’ve ever taught in my life. They...

WHEN A PRIVATE APOLOGY IS NOT ENOUGH

sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/joe-mckeever-when-a-private-apology-is-not-enough   This article is certainly thought provoking. I think he is saying something...

REMEMBER THIS WHEN YOU’RE TIRED OF PEOPLE

thrivingpastor.com/remember-this-when-youre-tired-of-people-2/?refcd=518301&utm_campaign=Remember+This+When+You’re+Tired+of+People   By: John McGee  July 10, 2017 / Focus on the Family Have...

HOW TO LAST IN MINISTRY

Pastor Rick’s Ministry Toolbox <info=pastors.com@mail143.wdc02.mcdlv.net By: Rick Warren Ministry is a marathon: it’s not...

THE SUCCESS AFFAIR

christianitytoday.com/pastors/2017/june-web-exclusives/success-affair.html?utm_source=leadership-tml&utm_medium=Newsletter Why do so many adulterous relationships begin when ministry is going well? By:...

THE MANY BENEFITS OF GRATITUDE

http://blog.thrivingpastor.com/the-many-benefits-of-gratitude/?refcd=504701&utm_campaign=The+Many+Benefits+of+Gratitude This well written article is excellent for focusing us on the grace of...

THE SOBBING SAVIOR

By: Frank G. Tunstall I thought about it hundreds of times over the years,...

HOSANNA

By: Frank G. Tunstall “The next day the great crowd that had come for...

“PRAY FIRST!”

Dr. Ron White serves as president of Emmanuel College. He assumed that role October...

COURAGEOUS CONVERSATIONS

sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/lance-witt-courageous-conversations–part-2 By: Lance Witt Courageous conversations is a battle of prepositions.  Half of the...

ONE QUESTION YOU MUST NEVER ASK IN MINISTRY

classic.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/joe-mckeever-one-question-you-must-never-ask-in-ministry-2697.asp? “Sow your seed in the morning, and do not be idle in the...

I WENT TO HELL IN A DREAM

  charismamag.com/spirit/supernatural/28155-revivalist-i-went-to-hell-in-a-dream During this night of terror more than 25 years ago, I fell...

FRANKLIN GRAHAM SPEAKS OUT ABOUT ELECTION

theblaze.com/stories/2016/10/16/franklin-graham-sounds-off-about-the-evangelical-response-to-trumps-latest-scandals By: Franklin Graham   October 16, 2016 A lot of people are slamming evangelicals...

WILL MORE INVITATIONS RESULT IN MORE SALVATIONS?

http://www.sermoncentral.com/pastors-preaching-articles/hal-seed-will-more-invitations-result-in-more-salvations-2592.asp? By Hal Seed // PastorMentor.com For a long time I’ve wondered if there...

DANCING ON THE EDGE

Released by Focus on the Family, June 6, 2016 http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/divorce-and-infidelity/affairs-and-adultery/dancing-on-the-edge By: A pastor who’s...

More Money? More. . .

By Kent Woodyard “If your church isn’t strapped for cash, your vision isn’t big...

WHEN TO DISOBEY?

 By: David Koyzis  What happens when the demands of government contradict our faith in...

“IT IS FINISHED!”

 By Frank G. Tunstall The ancient Greeks boasted about being able to say much...

The Day I Hit the Wall

By: Gordon McDonald Marathon runners speak of “hitting the wall,” a moment in a...

HONORING MARRIAGE

Posted by Focus on the Family, December 7, 2015 by Kevin Conklin I once...

Life Is Eternal; Don’t Have an Affair!

http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/august/life-is-eternal-dont-have-affair.html By Ed Stetzer  Aug. 25, 2015. This week, we’ve found it’s not as...

MODERN-DAY MARTYRS

BY Richard Greene With cancer eating away at her, the Iraqi woman faced a...

Divorced Dads

A Helpful Perspective on Your Ex The Championship Fathering blog by Carey Casey One...

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.




Top