Church Growth

11 Things A Pastor Should Do If They Don’t Want To Reach Their Community

There are plenty of ways to fail to reach a community.  A lot of people view missions as something people do overseas.  As a result, they don’t see themselves as missionaries.  So, their pastoral roll is to caretake the fruit of a previous missionary.  Don’t be that guy or gal.

Assuming you are a missionary in your community pursuing mission aggressively, here are 11 things you should avoid doing:

1. Copy someone else’s church. 

Your community is unique. It vibes to it’s own rhythm. It has it’s own personality, past, and future.  It’s stresses and qualities are unique.  Yet, you’d rather build the church of your dreams than the church your community needs. A cool white guy church in the heart of Detroit or a southern Gospel church in South Dakota is silly, right? Yeah…but, a lot of people try to pull that kind of thing off. Don’t do it.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t build the church of YOUR dreams, build the church your community needs ” username=”travisjohnson73″]

2. Out kick your punt coverage.

You may have some great advertising ideas and be able to attract a massive crowd.  But, if you haven’t built systems of care capable of cultivating those people, you’ll shrink to whatever size your systems are equipped for.

3. Over promise. Under deliver. 

If you advertise the vision of who you want to be instead of who you are, people will come to see who you are and leave thinking you’re a fraud. They’ll tell their friends as well. So, avoid hype-filled words. Understate your strengths. And, wow people with a great experience. Then, they’ll walk away with a good story to tell their friends.

4. Be someone you’re not.

People have really good Bull-O-Meters. Be yourself.  You might be able to fake it for a little while. But, authenticity is the easiest note to play over the long haul.

5. Fudge it a little.

Tell the truth. If you hope to cultivate influence with your community, they have to be able to trust you.  If you play fast and loose with the truth, you’ll be dismissed in the long-term.

6. Value excellence more than multiplication.

You want things to be right? I do. Everyone does. That’s why sayings like “if you want something done right, do it yourself” come about. But, that’s the recipe for having a polished little organization.  If you can’t develop and deploy other leaders, you will be incapable of being anything more than a squad leader. So, hand the ball off even if it means someone might fumble. Just be there to encourage them to get back in the game if they fail.  And, be there to cheer for them when they get a first down.

7. Be afraid of insider language.

I know there’s a move to bring down our words to the lowest common denominator.  There is some logic in making things understandable.  The seeker sensitive movement was a response to a church culture that wasn’t speaking the language of the culture.  Seeker comprehensible is the better aim. Every tribe has it’s own language.  But, we’ve got to help people to know what is being communicated.  Use easily comprehensible words and symbols that define your tribe. But, avoid $2 words when a $.10 word is more handy.

8. Avoid conflict.

Pastors are famous for being conflict avoiders.  Don’t. Conflict helps define the vision. Conflict helps our words on paper translate into deeds-in-action.  If you aren’t willing to tow the line on the vision of the church, solid doctrine, or fair practices, then you shouldn’t be pastoring.  If you fail to conflict well and fairly, you’ll build a coalition…not a church.

[bctt tweet=”Conflict helps define the vision” username=”travisjohnson73″]

9. Spiritualize organizational conflict.

We love to blame boogiemen. We excel in finding spiritual reasons for why people fail, sin, argue, miss deadlines, etc… Instead of looking for a spiritual reason, understand that organizational conflict happens. That should be your first move. Deal with the issue without overspiritualizing it or over personalizing it.

10. Fail to take things personally.

It is personal. Weep over your city. Be pained when you’re betrayed. Be pained when you betray. Get close to people. Be sad when they move away.  Be sad when they don’t move but do go to another church…even when you know that’s what they should do. Shepherds love their sheep. They fight for their sheep. They look for their sheep when they’re stranded. You don’t help anyone when you train yourself not to take things personally.  It is personal.

11. Believe that your best days are behind you.

Now is not the time to coast because you think you’ve reached the peak of your capacity.  Even if you are functioning at the peak of your capacity now, you must know that the Holy Spirit is working through you. You may be outnumbered, outmatched, overrun, and overtired. But, You are on God’s side.  GOD + YOU = A MAJORITY

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Travis Johnson
Travis serves as the Senior Pastor of Pathway Church in Mobile AL. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.
Travis Johnson

By Travis Johnson

Travis serves as the Senior Pastor of Pathway Church in Mobile AL. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.