This is the default most pastors gravitate to, but it may also be the most frustrating place for a pastor to live. After all, you know what God’s heart is! It’s not a mirage or wishful thinking. But the church Just. Can’t. See. It!
So many things can go wrong here if we’re not careful. It’s possible to know the right thing and to do the right thing, but to do it in the wrong way. And there’s no spot where we’re in greater danger of that happening than here.
I’m referring to this overlap first, because this is where most pastors begin. But if you’re in the beginning of a church turnaround I don’t suggest you start here. Start in the next zone.
3. The Listening Place: God & the Church, but not the Pastor
Pastors are not the only people who can discern God’s will for our church. A mature, healthy pastor will realize this.
Too many pastors start (and end) the turnaround process by trying to bring the congregation into their default setting (#2). After all, it is God’s will – the church just needs to catch up, right?
But what about the places where the church has God’s heart, but the pastor needs to catch up? This is where we need to listen more than we talk. Especially if we’re new to the church. We need to take the time to hear the mutual thumping of God’s heart with the church’s heart. It is his church, after all.
If we listen to God and the congregation first, then allow our heart to be drawn into the place where God’s heart and the church’s heart have already met, we can find the quickest, simplest way to start expanding the Sweet Spot.
The congregation needs to see the pastor, not just as someone trying to pull them into his zone, but as someone who understands and adapts to the place where God has already met the rest of the church.
Then, when the pastor asks the congregation to come over to Zone 2, they’re more likely to listen – because their heart has already been heard.
4. The Danger Zone: The Church & the Pastor, but not God
Oh, but this zone just… Feels. So. Riiiiight!
The church and the pastor are getting along. They have a common vision. Everything should be working. The danger happens when it does.