This is written from the perspective of a visitor.
A few years ago, my family and I took the entire month of February away from local ministry and travelled to various congregations, both near and far, and enjoyed some time with our brethren. We learned much about the attitudes of congregations towards visitors and it is reflected in the words below.
Let the words challenge you and make you uncomfortable. If they anger you, get up and do something about them. If you think they are right, get up and change the way your congregation is seen in your community.
Here the are, “6 Reasons Why I Do Not Attend Your Congregation”
“When I visited, you asked me to full out a visitor card, talked about how much you appreciate visitors but no one spoke to me.”
“I saw no joy in your congregation. As the church sang ‘To Canaan’s Land’ no one was smiling and they sang like a funeral. I thought living for Jesus was a joy not a bore.”
“I saw a Bible, but I never saw Bibles. I thought Christians were people who studied the book not talked about studying the book.”
“Your services talked about being lights in a dark world, but I never heard of your congregation before today. You said your church has been around for 50+ years and I grew up here and never knew of you.”
“I felt awkward because I had to sit on the second row because all of your members sat in the back and on the aisle seat. They seemed glued to their chairs.”
“You saw that I had children and no one helped me find a Bible class for my children. There were no signs on the doors to help along the way.”
Just some thoughts,
Last night, I sat down with my journals over the past few years to reflect on the past and I ran across this short list I am made regarding the leadership of the church. I did not include a lengthy discussion, just the points as I thought of them. Take a moment and see what you think.
What Type of Leadership Does the Church Need?
- The church needs a leading leadership. – Shepherds need to lead the flock, not follow them.
- The church needs a seeking leadership. – The leadership seeks to seek the lost sheep and bring them back to the flock. The leadership needs to see the will of God, not the thoughts of man.
- The church needs a prepared leadership. – The leaders need to be prepared for the good and prepared for the bad. Someone once said, “Good and bad situations should never surprise a leader. They are always prepared.”
- The church needs a visionary leadership. – The leadership should examine questions like, “Where will the congregation be in one year? 5 years? 10 years?”
- The church needs a knowledgeable leadership. – The leadership needs a knowledge of the word of God and the flock to which they lead.
- The church needs a faithful leadership.
- The church needs a confronting leadership. – The leaders need to confront sin.
What Type of Leadership Does the Church NOT Need?
- The church does not need a leadership into “bill-paying” only.
- The church does not need a pew packing leadership. – Success is not found in numbers, but in faithfulness.
- The church does not need a micro-managing leadership.
- The church does not need a “maintenance leadership.” – Maintaining a congregation and leading a congregation are two different things.
Just my thoughts,
As the leadership speaker and guru John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” While John Maxwell usually says this to a business crowd, the concept also applies to a congregation.
Consider for a moment the congregation who hires a new minister and the work, as well as the membership, takes off like a rocket. As long as the minister stays the congregation is moving ahead, but as soon as the minister leaves, the congregation heads back to much of the same situation from the previous years. Ministers can bring an influx of motivation and desire for a better work, but the leadership is the sustaining catalyst and structure of a growing congregation. The leadership is powerful in its perception and more powerful in its influence.
Below is a list of “Five Must Needs in Congregational Leadership.” These five needs are important in every congregation as Christians seek to take the gospel to the world. As others obey the gospel, they are joined with our local congregations and the leaders needs to be available to assist the membership in living the best life they can and growing every day. Without leadership, the lives of the membership might fall into a windstorm of chaos.
Here are the “Five MUST NEEDS of Congregational Leadership”
The Five Must Needs in Congregation Leadership
5 – Every Congregation Needs Knowledgeable Leaders
The leadership of any congregation not only needs to know the text of God’s word, but they need to know the members. God has provided us with the words of everlasting life and also a fellowship the world does not understand. As our fellowship grows closer, the shepherds (elders) need to know their sheep. Physical shepherds know the sheep they care for each day. They know the food they eat and the water they drink; shouldn’t spiritual shepherds (elders) know their sheep?
4 – Every Congregation Needs Leading Leaders
Congregations do not need “bill-paying” leaders who pay the bills and maintain a congregation. Church members need leaders to step up and be the shepherds (elders) and servants (deacons) they have been appointed to be. There is a powerful difference between leading a congregation and maintaining a congregation.
Sheep (church members) need to be led by their shepherds (elders). The role of a shepherd is not an easy role in the Lord’s church. It takes hard work to oversee those mature in the faith and those new in the faith. As a physical shepherd leads the sheep through the valleys and to the mountain tops, the spiritual shepherds (elders) should lead their congregation through the spiritual valleys and mountain tops.
3 – Every Congregation Needs Seeking Leaders
How many members miss on Sunday morning the elders never go visit? If a sheep was missing from the flock, the shepherds should leave the present and find the absent. (Remember the parable of the lost sheep –Luke 15.3-7) Personally, I would love to see a congregation where the elders notice people absent from the assembled worship of the church and they immediately leave and go seek those lost sheep out? If we cannot save our own flock, are we sure we will be able to save others?
2 – Every Congregation Needs Prepared Leaders
Troubles and turmoil will come to every congregation. The majority, if not all, of the problems a congregation experiences do not arise overnight. Clear signs of problems and conflicts are usually seen several weeks, months and years before the problems rear their ugly heads. Shepherds need to see these problems before they rear their head and deal with the situation before the problems get any worse.
Remember Paul’s words to the Ephesians elders? (Acts 20.18-35) Specifically verse 29 –”I know after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock…” Paul urges the elders to be prepared for the problems to come.
1 – Every Congregation Needs Loving Leaders
Without love, leading is worthless. Yes, you can lead a congregation without loving them, but the results will not be one of spiritual greatness. In fact, leading without love will not sustain a congregation seeking to serve the Lord. Paul himself says that if he had all things but did not have love, he is nothing. (1 Corinthians 13.2-3)
Loving the members enables the leaders to bring the needs of the saints higher and serve them as Christ served others. A loving leadership will love the sheep enough to save their souls!
What do you think? What qualities do you see as “MUSTS” on congregational leadership?
Just some thoughts,