Earlier this year I began a mastermind group with other small-town pastors, and even though I’m teaching and facilitating the group, I feel like I’m learning just as much as they are. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is that most small-town pastors feel overwhelmed.
Let me take that last statement back. I knew most pastors were overwhelmed. I was just wrong about what was causing them to feel this way.
Initially, I thought most pastors are overwhelmed because they’re having to do everything themselves and aren’t able to make the changes necessary to create a healthy church.
And that’s still true of a large percentage of pastors.
But I’ve learned there’s a growing percentage of pastors who are willing to change, but they are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of change that needs to take place.
It’s like there’s a mountain to climb in front of them and they don’t even know where to start.
People like me, and many others, tell them they need mission statements and a vision for their church. They need a strategy in place. They need teams of volunteers, and they need to develop leaders. They need to reach out to their communities and care for those inside the church. It’s a never-ending list and one that I contribute to.
These pastors do need all of those things, but most importantly, they just need to get started. And it really doesn’t matter where they start. It just matters that they start somewhere.
Maybe you’re one of those pastors. If so, I want to apologize for any frustration that I may have caused you. In my desire to help, I may have caused you to doubt yourself.
You can do this, and I’d love to give you a strategy that will help.
I want you to spend some time thinking about the immediate needs of your church and write each one of them down. Now, out of that list, I want you to pick two or three that you can work on over the next three to six months that will help your church move forward.
For example, you may want your first impressions ministry to improve, so over the next three months, you’re going to work on improving the appearance of your church and recruiting and training your first impression volunteers.
You may also decide that you’re going to get more involved in the community. So, over the next six months, you’re going to do at least one community event a month, and you’re going to develop a leader who can lead the outreach ministry.
The key is during this time you’re spending your time and energy only working on these two to three needs, as well as your normal pastoral stuff.
You want to switch from Sunday school to small groups, but that’s going to have to wait.
You would like to revamp the student ministry, maybe six months from now.
The key to moving your church forward is focusing on just a few things at a time.
So, let’s recap.
- Write down the changes that need to happen.
- Pick 2-3 to put your time and energy into over the next 3-6 months.
- Evaluate your progress monthly.
- Find someone to hold you accountable.
The process for moving your church forward can often be similar to the process of eating an elephant. You have to do it one bite at a time.
I am a husband, father, and executive pastor of a small-town church that went big. I have a passion for helping pastors grow themselves and the churches they serve. You can find out more about me and my ministry at http://travisstephens.me