Setting Things Right: Are You a "Turnaround Pastor?"

From time to time, I enjoy bringing in a guest blogger–especially when they can bring you something new or different than what my personal experience allows for.

To that end, I’ve asked Don Ross to share some posts on Church Revitalization (or Turnaround Churches).  Don is an Advanced Coaching Alum, Renegade Pastor, and the Lead Pastor of Creekside Church in the Seattle, Washington area.

Hope you find this helpful:

Beyond Courageous Decisions-By Dr. Donald E. Ross

Tough decisions create lasting memories.  Here are three of mine.

1.  I walked into the boardroom and felt the tension.  Half of the elders wanted me gone; the other half were supportive. Sometime during this evening, I would walk out in victory or be out of a job.

2.  I did not want to fire him, but biblical ethics were violated, and the situation couldn’t be ignored.  As a pastor, he had to be fired, and I had to be the one to do it.

3.  We were in an 8 million dollar campus project, and I’d just been told we needed $170,000 cash now.  I did not want to ask our church for money again, the third time in eighteen months.  To top it off, it was now December 2, and we needed the money by January 1. 

Each one of these stories are true.  So before I tell you how I survived each victoriously, let me say none of them were pretty.  I wasn’t fired; I did fire the Worship Pastor, and we raised the money in time.

As a turnaround pastor leading a declining church to reverse its trend, you and I are called to take risks.  These risks take courage yes, but they take something even deeper, and that is my focus here.

Andy Stanley says, “Courage will establish you as a leader, but fear will hold you back.”  I agree, but of course, the only time courage is ever needed is in fearful situations.  Go figure.

So, what is the “deeper issue” here?  What is even more important than courage in fearful situations?  Thanks for asking.

For pastors leading turnaround churches, courageous decisions are not made because of superior knowledge, skills, or even experience.  Those elements all help, but the fear factor remains.

We make courageous decisions because it boils down to simple obedience. 

God has told us to do something, and we will either do it or not.  It is just that simple.

I’ve been through a few struggles in nearly two decades of leading my church.  It dropped from 2000 to 600 when I came.  Then I rode it from 600 to 150, and now I’m riding it back up again.  It is no easy chore.  I’ve had people say, “Wow, you’ve really made some courageous decisions to get where you are.”

I say, “not really.”  And I’m not being falsely humble.  I honestly know that every courageous decision boils down to being obedient or not.  So I let the back slappers move on. I know if I had stopped being obedient, nothing courageous would have ever happened.  It really isn’t about us.  It is about simple obedience.  It always is.

What “courageous” decision is Jesus asking you to do

in your church?  You know the one I mean, because you’ve been putting it off.  But it won’t go away.  It may comfort you to know that all leaders struggle with them.

So take courage, because even Jesus asked if He could get out of a courageous decision in the garden.  But he didn’t.  He was obedient, and we all benefited.  When you decide to obey, many others will benefit too.  So get after it.  You’ll look back and be glad you obeyed.

For information on the Turnaround Church Coaching Network, see www.turnaroundchurch.org.

P.S. Are you ready to take a “courageous” step?  Join with a group of Renegade Pastors just like Don who are no longer content with average, but are ready to be “obedient” to see their churches grow.  

Previous articleThis History of You
Next article3 Lies That Will Wreck Pastor’s Lives
Nelson Searcy
Nelson Searcy is the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church in New York City. Started in 2002, this groundbreaking church sees the majority of its growth coming from new believers and currently has locations in Manhattan, Queens, San Francisco and Boca Raton, FL. Nelson is the author of over sixty church-growth resources. Nelson is an experienced church planter, coach and church-growth strategist. He is also the founder of www.ChurchLeaderInsights.com, the Church Leadership Training ministry of Nelson Searcy and The Journey Church.