For years it’s been assumed that if your church is hitting a growth barrier there’s only one thing to do — learn how to readjust your leadership style so the congregation can keep growing numerically.
As it turns out, it’s not that simple.
When your church is pushing up against a numerical growth barrier you have a decision to make. Most of the time, the decision is made subconsciously – and therefore poorly. In this article I want to take that decision from the subconscious to the conscious level to help give us a chance to make the decision more wisely.
Here’s the decision: Should you, as a pastor adjust your leadership style to accommodate a larger congregation? Or is there a way to allow for and encourage growth that won’t require such a radical shift?
It Starts With Awareness
I’m not talking about stopping or limiting church growth. Never.
And I’m not saying we shouldn’t adapt, grow and expand our leadership skill set. We should always be doing that.
What I am suggesting is that it isn’t always necessary to make a radical shift in your leadership style in order to accommodate for numerical growth.
There are options that will allow and adapt for church growth without making the abrupt and not-always-helpful change from hands-on pastor/shepherd to CEO-style manager.
Unfortunately, most of us aren’t aware of any other options. I know I wasn’t.
Stay Inside Your Gifting and Calling
Years ago, when our church experienced a season of sudden numerical increase, I made the transition from shepherding to managing quite willingly and enthusiastically. But very soon I found that this shift had placed me outside my calling and gifting — the end result being a very dark season for me and the church.
In my conversations with hundreds of fellow small-church pastors, I’ve come to believe that my situation is not unique — in fact, it’s normative.