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7 Must-Ask Questions When Looking to Large-Church Ministry Leaders

It is natural to look to a large-church pastor or large-ministry leader as a role model. 

This is what society dictates to us. If someone has attained a certain level of status or defined success in ministry—surely there is something we can learn from them.

What truly is our motive for wanting to learn from these leaders? Is our motive kingdom minded or self-motivated? No one can answer that question but you.

There are leadership workshops, seminars and summits that attract and recruit large-church pastors and ministry leaders: to speak, encourage and offer advice to the faith-based leadership world. There are some things we can learn. God can use anyone at any time to teach us something.

Regarding these large-church pastors and large-ministry leaders:

We buy the books. We watch the videos. We try to glean as much counsel and advice as we can to help us in our own ministries. The challenge is this … we know absolutely nothing about this person. We only know what they tell us, whether in their books or streamed podcasts. 

It can be dangerous when looking to large-church pastors or ministry leaders if we do not ask some questions while we are on our quest for best practices, knowledge or some nugget of truth so our ministries can move forward. 

1. What are the subordinates saying about this leader/pastor?

I’ll be the first to admit there are always going to be those who wish to defame or talk negatively about the large-church pastor or ministry leader. However, as my father always taught me, there is always a bit of truth in sarcasm, jokes or complaints. So seek out the nugget of truth.

There are also those around the pastor/leader who will never have anything negative to say about them. Be very cautious of this. No one is immune from faults or misgivings.

If the relationships surrounding them are open and honest, the leader will be up front with everyone else about their personal struggles and what they are doing to overcome them. Vulnerability is key here. 

2. What is the history of the church/ministry and how they came to be so large?

Were there conditions in the cities, towns or neighborhoods that caused the perfect conditions for growth? In personal study, it has come to my attention that some large churches and ministries have gotten that way because of the growth of the community they reside in. 

Of course, leadership and administration are extremely important in order to grow with the community. There are some principles of administration and leadership that all of us can benefit from. What we need to remember is that growth is not dependent solely on the ability of the leader. Who has the leader gathered around them?

Have they entered into a season of maintaining their current level of attendance?

At what point during their growth did they need to make drastic changes? You will find that every church or ministry that has broken barriers in numbers has had to consistently be on a path of change. What were those changes? Why were they necessary?

Are you willing to make changes—not to the Gospel, but to methodology?

3. What are the current difficulties faced by these larger churches or ministries?

To the large-church pastor or large-ministry leader: Be honest. Tell us what you are personally facing. You may be facing an abundance of blessing, and that’s great, but don’t just give us the blessing stories, tell us the horror stories as well. 

Tell us the mountains you are currently climbing. Whether staff related, family related or church related, there are issues these pastors and ministry leaders are facing and struggling with—right now.

When you are faced with a declining church or ministry—tell us. When you are facing financial deterioration, inform us and don’t hide it. 

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Dan Chrystal lives in Roseville, California with his wife, two daughters, son-in-law and grandson. He has over 20 years of ministry experience including Lead Pastor, Administrative Pastor, Associate Pastor, Worship Leader, and Youth Pastor. For the last twenty years, Dan has ministered in churches of all sizes. His passion to partner with churches/ministries to maximize their influence and reach led him to obtain his MBA focused on executive leadership. He is a mobile advanced trainer for The Leadership Training Institute that emphasizes and prioritizes foundations for emerging leaders. He has a voracious desire to see the local church maximize its potential in their communities through those who lead and attend those churches—the disciples of Jesus.