Congratulations! You’ve done it! You have graduated from Bible College or Seminary, the congregational vote passed with 94 percent, and now you are set to begin pastoring your first church. Now what?
Yes, there are sermons that need to be written, people that need visiting, and potlucks that need attending. But when you’ve done that for a little while, what then?
Over the next few posts, I want to expound on three points that I believe that every new (and old) pastor should put an emphasis on in their ministries. The reality is that every year there are thousands upon thousands of students that graduate from seminaries across the country. Moreover, there are probably tens of thousands of lay leaders that answer God’s call on their life to serve in a leadership capacity within the context of the local church.
However, with all of these new individuals entering into the “work of the ministry,” church membership, attendance, and involvement are dropping at an alarming rate. According to the North American Mission Board, eighty-five to ninety percent of Southern Baptist Churches in North American have either plateaued or are declining in membership/church attendance. This means that only ten to fifteen percent of the autonomous churches within the Southern Baptist Convention are vibrant, stable, and growing.
It is my firm belief that the church leaders that focus on accomplishing three tasks during their pastoral/ministerial tenure, in conjunction with rightly preaching the Word and prayer, will reap the benefits of a healthier body of believers.
The three areas of focus for a path to a healthier church are as follows:
- Understand the Individual/Corporate Mission of the Church
- Organize the Church’s Structure
- Synthesize Mission and Structure, Then Develop that Synthesis Across the Church
These areas are not easy, but they are necessary for the long-term health of the church. Thank you for taking the time to read, and I hope that you’ll stay with us as we seek to encourage you with practical resources to help you lead well in your ministry context.