Innovative Ministry
3 Surprising Misunderstandings About Church Turnarounds
What one person means by church turnaround might be completely different from what another person means.

If you want to turn your church around so it can look like a photo in your head, you’re in for a world of disappointment.

A church is not the pastor’s pet project. It is a living, breathing organism, designed by God and filled with people. And both of them – God and the people – have a greater stake in it than we do. And they’re pretty stubborn about it.

A church won’t go where you want it to go. It will go where the dynamic relationship between God and the people take it.

A church won’t go where you want it to go. It will go where the dynamic relationship between God and the people take it.

It’s not the pastor’s job to create something new. Or to duplicate something you saw at another church. The mature pastor recognizes that we are explorers, not inventors. Our role is to serve as a spiritual guide, leading people into a clearer understanding of God and a deeper relationship with him, then to stand back and see what that relationship ignites.

One of the best phrases I ever heard a pastor utter was spoken by a lead minister whose church was in the middle of a turnaround. It was going well, but the changes hadn’t been what the pastor had expected. He knew the final product wasn’t going to look like the picture in his head.

But he was okay with that. As he put it, “I’ve learned to worship God in a style of music that I don’t like.” Oh, for more pastors like that.

You won’t like everything that happens when God and the congregation start talking to each other again. But it’s not about you.

Perhaps the biggest challenge, need and obstacle to having a turnaround church is this: A turnaround church needs a turned-around pastor.

We take a look at that in my follow-up post, The 4 Most Overlooked Needs for a Turnaround Church.

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November 31, 2016 at 11:31 PM

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