A Necessary But Difficult Transition Pastoral Staff Must Make to See the Church Grow

The church I get to serve at (The Crossing) has been experiencing year over year growth from the beginning. In the last four years, we have more than doubled. This has created many challenges because a church of 300 is quite different than a church of 600+ (in the summer).

A Necessary But Difficult Transition Pastoral Staff Must Make to See the Church Grow
Photo by Nik MacMillan on Unsplash

We’ve had to reinvent ourselves about every two years. We’ve had to refocus, hire new staff, and create processes/workflows. We are in the midst of another one of these reinvention periods. Because of our situation (recently moving into our first permanent campus), we are expecting to see an explosion of attendance in the fall and moving into next spring. We’re excited to see what God does. But we also know we have work to do as a pastoral staff. Here’s what we’re focused on:

A Necessary But Difficult Transition Pastoral Staff Must Make to See the Church Grow

In order to be good stewards of the church body God has allowed us to serve, we as a pastoral staff are beginning to make a transition to becoming very intentionally focused on the recruitment and development of those who call The Crossing home.

Now, recruitment and leadership development are buzz words in ministry. We’ve all read countless articles on them. We’ve probably even gone to a conference or a workshop or even a webinar on the topics. We’re familiar with the words. But I don’t know about you, but it has always felt to me that we in the church are really good at talking about the topics, we’re just not really good at actually doing them.

And I think I know why.

We love doing the work of ministry. That’s why we do what we do. We love to be servants in God’s Church.

And that’s great and we should.

But it’s also why we aren’t getting the people in our church equipped and developed to be the servants God has called them to be. After all, our purpose is to equip the saints for works of service (Ephesians 4). When we don’t do that, when we don’t value it enough to prioritize it, we are failing to live out our purpose as ministers of the gospel.

A Mindset Pivot

From the time I came on staff at The Crossing to now, we have been flying a plane we are still building. It’s been adventurous, hectic, and messy. But we can’t continue to operate in this way. We’re going to keep our heartbeat and passion. But in doing so, we’re going to be driven to make a mindset pivot – one that is vital to us keeping and spreading that heartbeat and that passion.

Here’s what our mindset pivot looks like practically:

  • Instead of settling to bring on team members who are willing to step into a role, we’re working toward bringing on team members who are wired for the role they are stepping into.
  • Instead of making sure we are completing our responsibilities every week, we’re working toward including more and more people in the process toward completion.
  • Rather than prioritizing building task completers, we’re working toward equipping people to become leaders.
  • Rather than simply sending emails to team members, we’re working toward investing in face-to-face and high impact communications (like hand-written notes).

Do you see the common thread through it all?

Our mindset pivot is to move from doers to equippers.

A Different Posture

When you move from doer to equipper, you take on an entirely different posture. The posture of doer is always in forward motion. The posture of equipper takes a step back before moving forward and looks for ways to get others into the fold.

To be an equipping pastoral staff, we are working toward deconstructing what needs to be done and are looking for ways to help others grow and be involved.

Breaking the Trend

As pastors and church leaders, we must be intentional and relentless in this because there is a trend that must be broken. In too many churches – you know the cliche – twenty percent of the people do eighty percent of the work. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.

But in order to see that cliche not be a reality in our church, we have to become relentless in recruiting and equipping those who already call our church home.

And when we do this, our church will be stronger because of it.

Sustainable, God-Honoring Growth

We don’t want to be a church that thrives, stalls, then dies. We want to be a church that has a lifeline long enough to endure transitions, difficulties, and victories.

We want to be a church that honors God with good stewardship of people and resources. It’s all for Him. It’s all for the world to know that He is a loving Father. And when His bride becomes who she is supposed to be, the world will see.

It is our responsibility as pastors to equip those in our midst so they can do what God designed them to do.

A Leadership Development Process We’re Going Through

Next week, I’m going to share with you the process we’re going through in putting together a real leadership development system for each ministry in our church. Don’t miss next Friday’s article!

What Success Has Your Pastoral Staff Had in Recruiting and Equipping Your Church?

Join the conversation and let us know. You can do so on social media: Join our Facebook Group, tweet us, or post on our Facebook Page. We would love to connect!

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Lead Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.


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