Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Church

You do your best to hire well, but life is complicated, and it doesn’t always work out as you hoped. Right?

In many cases it becomes obvious when it’s time to make a change with a staff member, but what about the situations where it’s not evident and clear. You’re just not sure what to do.

How do you think through the issues? How do you separate out truth from emotion, reality from perception, and fact from opinions?

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Lakeside Wesleyan Church, in Lakeside, California was the first church I served as a staff member. It was a small church with a big heart, and I learned much from Rich Lauby who was the pastor.

In my eyes, Pastor Rich was a “big leader, ” and his early investment in me made a life changing difference. Under his coaching, I preached my first sermon, did my first hospital visit and led the student ministry.

The significance of a leader and especially the pastor in a small church cannot be overestimated.

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The size of the church never limits the scope of God’s power. God does big things in small churches!

It’s not the size of your church as much as what God wants to do through your church.

4 important questions:

  • Is your church culture healthy?
  • Is the gospel being taught?
  • Is there a vision for reaching people?
  • Are lives being changed?

If yes, then keep doing what you are doing! We all want our churches to grow larger, but I believe that ultimately the size of your church is up to God. Your job is to serve and lead well with all your heart and leave the rest to Him.

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Pastors confide that they are frustrated because people “just won’t come forward” for the “altar call.”

But what is the reason for that? What is the bigger picture?

I asked Warren Bird, the Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development of the Leadership Network, if churches in general, and in particular megachurches, practice some form of an invitation. Here’s Warren’s response:

“I’ve visited literally hundreds of churches, and the clear pattern is that growing churches call for a response to their messages. The approach varies – some ask people to come forward in the traditional “altar call,” while others ask for a raised hand, a checkbox on a handout, or something specific to the Scripture of that day. For example, one church had a giant open door to walk through in response to the ‘open door’ reference from the Bible passage being taught.”

“Megachurches tend to do more altar calls and other invitations for a response than other churches. I suspect the reason is more because of outreach, which leads to growth, than due to size. Also, according to research, the larger the church, the more likely it is to have clarity of purpose – and an evangelistic purpose at that, which again would explain why larger churches expect, look for, and call for a response to God’s Word.”

An invitation of some kind, including the traditional altar call to come forward is still a relevant and effective practice.

So, the helpful question is – “How can we all do a better job with an invitation?

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