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3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part Two

3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part Two

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3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part Two

By Greg Perkins, SMD Healthy.Church
In Part 1 of this blog series, “3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive,” we established that many churches today are in a state of decline or reversal of health that could accurately be diagnosed as:  Failure To Thrive (FTT).  While the specific reasons for decline in each church are numerous and unique, there are 3 factors that every church suffering from FTT have in common.  1) Lack of Committed Leadership.  2) Lack of Biblical Behavior.  And 3) Lack of Outward Focus.

 

In this week’s blog, we will focus on the first of 3 Factors Your Church Needs To THRIVE.

 

Factor 1:  Committed Leadership

Dr. John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.”  I think we have all seen the proof of this statement in all areas of life, but probably no place more critical or noticeable than in the local church.  Of course, I am referring to the critical need for senior leadership in the form of a Senior or Lead Pastor, but I am also referring to the need for additional core leaders within the church.  Having a committed leader in the Senior or Lead Pastor role is essential, but not the sole solution.

 

 

Let’s first discuss the need for Committed Leadership in the Senior or Lead Pastor role.

 

The Senior Pastor is key to the direction and overall spiritual health of a church. As the senior leader of the organization, the pastor is responsible to provide clear vision, sound teaching, and correction when it is necessary.  But let’s be honest—many of our churches are in the condition they are, because they were LED there.  We can blame the previous pastor, or even internal power struggles for SOME of the health concerns of the church, but not all of them.  Some of the issues faced in churches today are the direct result of poor leadership by either the Senior Pastor, or a leader placed in a position of influence by the Senior Pastor.  PLEASE HEAR ME…I don’t say these things to be harsh or hurtful, but to offer an honest assessment of what hinders many churches today.  All of us who pastor a local church must seek to increase the level of our leadership, because the Church deserves to be well led!

 

All of us who pastor a local church must seek to increase the level of our

leadership, because the Church deserves to be well led! GREG PERKINS

DIRECTOR, SMD HEALTHY CHURCH

 

The Senior Leader must be Committed to GROW!

 

As church leaders, each of us must commit to grow personally, spiritually, and professionally.  We do this through prayer, reading God’s Word, and accessing the many leadership resources available to us in the form of books, blogs, podcasts, and conferences.  We also need to develop discipline in our daily and weekly schedules to maintain a healthy balance between family and ministry..

 

Pastor and author Erik Reed of The Journey Church in Lebanon, TN says, “Show me a healthy church and I will show you a healthy pastoral leader.  Show me a sick or dying church, I will show you a pastor not leading well.”

“Show me a healthy church and I will show you a healthy pastoral leader.  Show me a sick or dying church, I will show you a pastor not leading well.” Erik Reed

pastor, The Journey Church in Lebanon, tn

The Senior Leader must be Committed to SACRIFICE!

 

An effective leader must do the hard things when no one else will (i.e. confront, correct, say “no”).  That often means that a leader will do what is RIGHT even when it doesn’t benefit them personally.  Being the leader means that we often wake up earlier, go to bed later, and don’t always get to do the things that make us popular with everyone.  We need more leaders who will make that sacrifice.

 

 

The Senior Leader must be Committed to YIELD!

 

Submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit is not always easy or convenient, but since the Church doesn’t belong to us, it makes sense that we would yield to the leading of the One to whom it does belong.  This will take considerable amounts of prayer, as well as quiet times of intentional listening for the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit.

 

A yielded leader must ALSO submit to the authority and governing structure of the church (i.e. local board, as well as the district and national leadership structure).  A leader that cannot or will not follow established authority should not expect anyone to yield to their leadership.  We are expected to set an example of accountability to those we lead.

A leader that cannot or will not follow established authority should not expect anyone to yield to their leadership.  We are expected to set an example of accountability to those we lead. GREG PERKINS

DIRECTOR, SMD HEALTHY CHURCH

Secondly, let’s consider the need for Committed Leadership in the supportive roles of the church.

 

In order for the church to fulfill its responsibility to equip and prepare God’s people to serve, we will need a group of leaders.  Ephesians 4:11-13 describes this group of leaders as apostles, prophets, pastors, evangelists, and teachers who will help build up the Body of Christ and raise up other leaders to do the same.  Paul gives no indication that this group of leaders are staff members of a church, if they were paid, or if they even held credentials.  Some (if not all) would be raised up from within the church to accomplish this task.

 

Even in situations where a church has the blessing of multiple staff members (paid or unpaid), our responsibility to build up the Body of Christ and raise up more leaders is the same.  A senior pastor cannot (and should not) be the only leader in a church.  One leader can only be effective with a small group of people.  The church MUST have committed leadership at all levels of the organization in order to thrive.  The most practical (and Biblical) way for that to happen is for senior leaders to recruit, train, mentor, and empower new leaders to serve within the church.

 

Healthy churches don’t wait for leaders to “show up” – they develop them to become the pastors, deacons, ministry leaders, and teachers they need to fulfill their vision and mission.

 

Committed Leadership is a key factor in helping your church thrive.  Check out next week’s blog to see another key factor!

Greg Perkins

Greg Perkins

Church Development Director

Greg Perkins serves as the new Church Development Director for the Southern Missouri District. Greg and Di Ann have always had a passion for the local church and a deep desire to see healthy, vibrant churches reach their communities with the Gospel.  They bring this passion and desire to their work in and among the churches of Southern Missouri.  Greg and his wife, Di Ann, are also former lead pastors of First Family Church in Osage Beach, MO, where they have served since January of 2015.  The Perkins’ have spent over 25 years in full-time church ministry in Southern Missouri and Kansas—serving as lead pastors in Marshfield, Missouri and Derby, Kansas.  Before returning to Southern Missouri, Greg served as Executive Pastor at Eastside Community Church in Wichita, Kansas.  Di Ann has also worked as an executive secretary in real estate, banking, international missions, and Christian higher education. In addition to church leadership, Greg spent 6 years as a Senior Sales and Business Development Representative for two Fortune 500 companies, as well as Director of Chaplains for police agencies in Kansas and Missouri. The Perkins’ have two sons, Brad and Alex. Greg is also the author of “Moments of Destiny,” and is currently writing a devotional blog called (www.MomentsOfDestiny.com). He is currently working on a series of book projects to be released next year.

3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part One

3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part One

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3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive! Part One

Throughout thirty-plus years of ministry in and around the local church, and more recently in my role in Church Development for our ministry network, I have been exposed to the difficult reality that many churches today are no longer growing.  Churches that were once strong and vibrant, find themselves in various stages of decline and now struggle to survive.  There are dozens of reasons as to why this is the case, and each church has a unique story of the challenges and struggles that have led them to where they are today.  Only a comprehensive evaluation of each church could reveal all of the reasons, but, regardless, each of these churches now share a common diagnosis:  Failure To Thrive.

churches that were once strong and vibrant, find themselves in various stages of decline and now struggle to survive.

GREG PERKINS

DIRECTOR, SMD HEALTHY CHURCH

Failure To Thrive, or FTT, is defined as decelerated or arrested physical growth that is associated with abnormal growth and development.  FTT is most often used to describe children who have failed to show the signs of growth and development in critical areas of health, but is also used to describe older patients who are experiencing a decline or reversal in key areas of health as well (i.e. rapid or unexplained weight loss, or atrophy of muscle mass or strength).

 

In Church Development, we use terms like, “plateau” or “decline” to describe churches that are no longer showing signs of growth or forward progress, but those terms are not usually attached to a particular church until we’ve seen the reversal of health manifest in lower attendance or reduced income.  The actual condition of decline has often been at work beneath the surface and has gone undetected or undiagnosed because the church had the “appearance” of health.

 

 

If “…decelerated or arrested physical growth that is associated with abnormal growth and development” is the definition of FTT,  then I believe this is a pretty accurate diagnosis for churches that are exhibiting decline or reversal in key areas of health.  FTT among churches is not unique to any one denomination, or even to one geographical area.  Churches of every denominational, cultural, ethnic, and geographical demographic are facing this crisis of health. we must do something to reverse FTT.

churches of every denominational, cultural, ethnic, and geographical demographic are facing this crisis of health, we must do something to reverse ftt.

GREG PERKINS

DIRECTOR, SMD HEALTHY CHURCH

As I have already stated, there are dozens of specific reasons for the decline, and each church has faced a unique set of challenges.  That being said, I believe every church suffering from FTT lacks 3 factors in common.  1) Committed Leadership,  2) Biblical Behavior, and 3) Outward Focus.  These factors are critical to have in place for every church to THRIVE.

Over the next few weeks, our SMD Healthy.Church blog will focus on the 3 Factors Your Church Needs To Thrive!  We invite you to catch all four parts of the series to help your church thrive when others struggle.

Greg Perkins

Greg Perkins

Church Development Director

Greg Perkins serves as the new Church Development Director for the Southern Missouri District. Greg and Di Ann have always had a passion for the local church and a deep desire to see healthy, vibrant churches reach their communities with the Gospel.  They bring this passion and desire to their work in and among the churches of Southern Missouri.  Greg and his wife, Di Ann, are also former lead pastors of First Family Church in Osage Beach, MO, where they have served since January of 2015.  The Perkins’ have spent over 25 years in full-time church ministry in Southern Missouri and Kansas—serving as lead pastors in Marshfield, Missouri and Derby, Kansas.  Before returning to Southern Missouri, Greg served as Executive Pastor at Eastside Community Church in Wichita, Kansas.  Di Ann has also worked as an executive secretary in real estate, banking, international missions, and Christian higher education. In addition to church leadership, Greg spent 6 years as a Senior Sales and Business Development Representative for two Fortune 500 companies, as well as Director of Chaplains for police agencies in Kansas and Missouri. The Perkins’ have two sons, Brad and Alex. Greg is also the author of “Moments of Destiny,” and is currently writing a devotional blog called (www.MomentsOfDestiny.com). He is currently working on a series of book projects to be released next year.

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