FOR PASTORS AND LEADERS
I’ve said this often. Don’t expect to go back to normal. In fact, if you are just waiting to get back to church-as-usual, you’re missing out on what God wants to do.
So what is the new normal we can expect? As I’ve listened and learned, here are four areas every pastor needs to embrace to be fruitful in the future.
- Creativity. God designed us to be creative.Our current crises have forced us out of our comfort zones. Adjusting and pivoting are now bywords for ministry. However, we are not through it yet (I think some things will get worse). So what do we do? Continue to look for new ways to minister. The churches that are thriving during the pandemic are the ones that have looked for new ways to accomplish eternal values. Pray that God gives us a fresh vision of what the church can and should be in today’s culture.
- Courage. We are leading through uncharted waters. We haven’t been here before. That’s why courage is required. Many of us have had to speak up in ways we haven’t in the past about essential issues such as social injustice and racism. Someone said, “Every meaningful act of leadership requires courage.” Courage involves initiative. It requires action, not more meetings. It’s risky. So, we must be willing to let go of the past and lean into the future. We must stand up for what is right and just in a culture gone amuck.
- Conflict. I like what Ed Stetzer said: “If you chose pastoral ministry thinking you would avoid conflict, you have chosen badly. If you want everyone to like you, go sell ice cream.” With creativity and change, conflict is inevitable. Please don’t run away from it. Have those crucial conversations. How we handle conflict will significantly impact our ministry. Sam Chand reminds us that “Pain is a part of progress. Anything that grows experiences some pain. If I avoid all Pain, I’m avoiding growth.”
- Collaboration. Only three-years-olds think they can do it themselves. 😊 There is too much to be done for one pastor or one church. We are better together. One of our distinctives as a Conference of Churches is that we are connected both structurally and relationally. Our goal is to help every local church be healthier and more effective. We need God’s wisdom to know how to do that better but here’s a place to start: look around for ministries that are thriving. Ask yourself what they are practicing that makes sense in your own context. Remember that programs reflect the health of our hearts and steer clear of imitation. Instead look for ways to partner with them or adapt their idea.
Before You Go
What other “new normals” do pastors and leaders face during this COVID time?
NEXT WEEK: The New Normals for the Church