September 26, 2009

Two Things I'm Learning About Church-Part 2

A pastor going to church on the other side of the equation is one of the best teaching tools out there. I would encourage church leaders to attend a few other churches every year to learn from them both good & bad. The bad is easier to learn because it's the easier thing to spot.

#2-If you tell a guest about something, it better be right

This is the one that can kill you. I met with a local pastor just to hang out & learn about what was going on in his church. He informed me that they would be extending their children's worship ministry into their early worship service on a given date. That was great because it worked perfectly for our family. Sure the church was a longer drive than we would like, but I felt like this church had some potential. We show up on that Sunday morning & yes you guessed it; they didn't have that kids program going. They had decided not to start the program because they were still waiting for more families to attend that particular service. Three things happened in that moment: 1) My wife was totally turned off. We were made to feel like we were in a way imposing ourselves on this church. 2) I'm thinking, "Well, that's not what your pastor told me" 3) I go into pastor/leader mode & immediately begin critiquing the decision & the rationale behind the whole situation. Whether those were the right responses or not is another discussion, but the fact remains that those were the responses, & those are the kind of responses we risk when those of us in leadership lead people, especially guests, to have one set of expectations & reality gives them something totally different.

These situations are going to happens from time to time, but first, we can't let it happen with newcomers or guests. Secondly, we have to minimize these occurrences in general. If you tell someone that the church is going to provide something, then you have to be able to deliver. Again you might expect that this happened in some little country church that just "gets by", but you'd be wrong. This is a church plant that is connected to one of the most successful churches in America, yet it still screwed up big time. Churches, no matter the size or success, have to watch out for these two big things that I've noticed as I've visited in a few churches during my transition.

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