During such times, leaders often wonder what happened. Why it happened. Most importantly we wonder how can we “get things moving” again? We are tempted to resign, believing God is finished with us at that church; but maybe He’s not.
Sometimes we need to look under the hood and see what happened to the power. Here are three steps that have proven helpful to me in regaining lost momentum.
In January of 2016, LifeWay Research released the results of a study on why pastors leave pastoring before retirement. In other words, why is it that some leaders tap out of pastoring, even after years of doing so, and move in a completely different direction? The results of the research which includes 734 pastors are published here. Here are five concerns I have after reading through the research.
Despite globalization and mobility, until Christ returns there will always be a need for churches to train, send, and financially support intentional missionaries. What’s more, when John notes that these missionaries were “accepting nothing from the Gentiles,” he seems to mean they weren’t earning money from the gospel; so the church should supply their needs. Lots of people share the gospel. Praise God! But only some have a moral claim on the local church’s financial support. These are the men and women we call missionaries.
Missionaries aren’t just self-styled free agents. They should be accountable to a specific local church. The missionaries mentioned in 3 John are probably accountable to John’s church in Ephesus.
Loneliness and isolation are the privileges of affluence. In the suburbs, we live in large castles of independent self-sufficiency, closing ourselves off to connection and dependence on others.
Much of our pain in the suburbs is due to past and present relationships that are not healthy. If relationships have caused us pain, it will be relationships that play a role in our healing.
We understand that much of this is accomplished through membership and church discipline. But how does this apply when considering elders? There are common questions that arise here. How should you as a church member think about holding your pastors accountable? Further, what about church discipline for elders? Is this process different than it is for other church members? At the same time church members are called to honor, love, and respect their elders (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; 1 Timothy 5:1). The Scriptures even call members to obey and submit to their elders’ teaching and leadership (Hebrews 13:17).
How can a church member faithfully do their job amid this complexity of responsibility?
Aileen and I have developed a shared passion for photography, especially for landscape photography. A little while ago, she began to follow various landscape photographers on Instagram and made an interesting observation: almost all of them are men. She began to wonder why, so asked Google and found an interesting answer. In the first place, landscape photography tends to involve lugging heavy equipment far into the wilderness, a task that men typically find easier than women. Second, it often involves doing this alone, and many women judge that too great a risk. The sad fact is, men have the privilege of roaming far and wide at much less personal risk than women.
A favorite from the archives:
While there’s a lot that makes it tempting to throw out the TV, we should also be encouraged: the good news is just as entertainment can be used to influence people with the Lie, it can be used influence with the Truth.
This is what was attempted to do with Veggie Tales back in the day (although by the creator’s own admission, they wound up teaching kids to be good rather than know the One who is good). It’s what many of the men and women who make explicitly Christian-themed movies and music are also attempting to do (again, to varying results).