Innovative Ministry
Transition Without Relocation: 8 Steps to Stay Fresh In a Long-Term Pastorate
A pastor who stops learning, stops leading. And a pastor who stops leading, stops pastoring. Even if they stay on the job.

6. Don’t Let Your Experience Stifle Your Adaptability

I’ve spent over 30 years in pastoral ministry gaining a wealth of experience. And now it matters less than it ever has.

Experience is of great value. But with the current pace of change, adaptability matters more.

Experience is of great value. But with the current pace of change, adaptability matters more.

But too often, we allow our experiences to dig ruts in our minds, hearts and spirits. We complain about the sad state of the church “these days” and pine for the way things used to be – but probably never were. Our previous experiences are stifling the creative spark of the Spirit, who always wants to do a new thing in a new generation.

Thankfully, experience and adaptability are not mutually exclusive. If we infuse our years of pastoral experience with a healthy curiosity and adaptability we'll have a powerful combination.

7. Do Reverse Mentoring

There are young people in our churches who are called to ministry – lay leadership and full-time clergy. But we sometimes miss it because the ministry they’re called to doesn’t look like the ministry we’re used to.

So, instead of encouraging them to follow where God is leading them, we force them into our old molds and call it discipleship. Or mentoring.

What we need is some reverse mentoring. Old coots like me need to add listening to our discipleship tool-belt. We need more dialog, not just monolog. When we do that, we might like what we hear.

I haven’t come up with a great, new ministry idea in decades. But our church is filled with great ideas because I’ve learned to listen.

8. Say 'Yes' a Lot – Even to Ideas that Didn’t Work Before

I love saying 'yes' to crazy ideas. Even to ideas that failed before.

After all, the flip-side of “what worked then won’t work now” is “what didn’t work then, might work now.”

Pastors who keep a foot on the brakes don’t inspire anyone. Pastors with a listening ear and a hand on the steering wheel can nudge good ideas to become great ones.

That’s where innovative churches come from. And that’s how we keep ourselves and our churches fresh for a long time to come.

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