Take time to study the Scripture concerning the makeup of the church. Many excellent books have been written that develop a clear ecclesiology and practice for the church. Look beyond these books and ask, “What would God want for my church?” What do you believe God wants to see happen and what do you want to see happen in your church? Out of these questions, formulate a vision. If no obstacles existed, what characteristics would define the church? Even if obstacles occur (which they will), what basic, foundational, and biblical values are essential and nonnegotiable? It is very important that these values and this vision be written down so that they can be articulated at the proper time. Know where you want to go before you begin the journey and make sure that it is something that demands the attention of God.
A Compassion for God’s People
Never forget that the people you are serving are God’s people. An easy temptation is to see people as objects or projects rather than as the redeemed of God. Remember that the pastor will answer for how he leads God’s people (Heb. 13:17). Therefore, make the commitment early to be patient, understanding, and sensitive to the church. Most of them will never be where you are in developing vision and foresight for the church. That reason alone is why you are the leader. As the leader, though, do not run so far ahead of the church that you are no longer leading. Love people and determine ahead of time to give them time to follow.
A Commitment to Integrity
The ends do not always justify the means, even when the process results in something biblical. Unfortunately, pastors allow the desire to grow the church to open the way for all types of compromises. No one can really say what the results will be from a church that has refused to be salt and light and a people who have bought into the idea that being like the world means reaching the world. We have seen the result of fallen pastors and failed churches. We know that the church will survive and prevail, but what will be lost in the meantime if integrity does not guide the pastor? Therefore, without regret, be a person of integrity.
William Henard, Can These Bones Live: A Practical Guide to Church Revitalization (Nashville: B&H, 2015).
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