It’s not that bad choices are irredeemable. But life is so much easier when we make good/healthy/wise choices.
My friend JV was in town yesterday and he talked about pivot points – those moments in an institution’s life when we have a perfect opportunity to choose a new direction for the sake of growing and thriving in the future. Churches face these on a regular basis:
- When it’s time to call a new pastor
- When there is a dramatic economic shift (e.g. factories close, new business ventures open)
- When there’s a natural disaster (e.g. a flood/tornado/hurricane destroy the building)
- When there’s an accidental disaster (e.g. a fire)
Many congregations do the safe thing:
- They call a pastor who seems to be like their last pastor or a pastor who seems to be like their historically favorite pastor or a pastor who is the opposite of a disliked pastor (i.e. a reaction rather than a proaction.)
- They rebuild with a focus on sentimental rather than missional factors.
- They rebuild on the cheap, hire leaders on the cheap, cast a vision on the cheap – when they actually have the resources to stretch a little.
More congregations do what they’ve always done rather than pivot. (These are the moments I wish Presbyterians had bishops.)
What I love in this ministry are congregations willing to take a leap of faith for the Kingdom of God.* What I love in this ministry are congregations who have more faith in God than fear of the future. What I love in this ministry are followers of Jesus who take The Great Commission seriously.
I also love those congregations that don’t want to change a thing. But it’s a little heartbreaking to watch them die. (Just a little because – Resurrection.)
If you are reading this and your church is at a pivot point, please pray that your choices are informed by the Living God – and not weighed down by anxiety and fear.
Your partners in ministry will thank you.
*Kingdom is the usual word but it’s a limiting word for many. God’s reign is what we are seeking.
As one who is sadly closing down a church this month, I say “YES! Pivot! Leap!” Thanks, Jan!
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