To Be Challenged – Coaching for Church Leaders

“So why have you quit going to church?”

“I just got to the point that I was just going through the motions.  Week after week it was the same ‘ol thing.  I wasn’t changing.  There was no challenge to change being issued.  I know I need to change, but the message I heard week after week was just maintenance stuff…”

Let’s face it, as a leader, no matter what you do, teach, how you lead, people are going to leave your church on a regular basis.  Stats show that consistently, about 15% of your current weekend population will leave by this time next year.  I’ve said it before – forgive me for repeating this vital counsel – you and those you are training need to be always be on the “connect, invite, include” path continually.  With you there are no strangers – period, ever.  You are the type that meets ten people daily.  In so doing of course you will pass on this value to your leaders, people this vital value and practice.

But what about those who are already there?  Often, if not normally, when people comment, “I don’t ‘feel fed’ – they are not really talking about the topics or the depth to which you are explaining or teaching on a topic.  In fact, lay off on the parsing of the Greek with rare exception.

What Are Your People Starving For?
With each week’s message pass along a challenge to make a reasonable adjustment in the way life is lived.  What does a healthy challenge look like?

1.   Small challenges are realistic.

Realize you are in this life adjustment thing for the long haul.  A little bit of challenge a week is attainable.  Make it with love, not parental.  Make it hopeful and loving.

2.   Don’t worry about critics who resist the challenges.

Undoubtedly, as you begin to consistently challenge and get practical in your messages, some will squeal.  Mark 1:27 captures the people’s initial near shock at the difference between the Pharisee’s approach to passing on information without doing and Jesus’ message which was always obedience-centered. “What’s going on here? A new teaching that does what it says?”

I recently read a critical Atheist’s harsh words of several one-time church visits he had made.  He wrote that his visits reminded him of “poorly executed versions of a Tony Robbins seminar.”  My response:  “Whatever!” (For full effect, get someone with the Valley Girl accent to say that one word…)  What this man wrote was obviously filled with fear – fear that if what was taught just might be true.  If true, then he would need to change – something he was not in the least interested in pondering.  The only reason anything Tony Robbins or any other motivational coach shares may work is because it is based on the truth of the everlasting wisdom of the scriptures.  Even a blind squirrel can find a nut now and then!  Don’t be repelled by the cheap shots of critics who use such extreme comparisons to make a false comparison.  A non-practical, non-challenging message is a neutered message and bears no resemblance to the ministry or message of Jesus.

3.  You be the leader of the change.

When speaking of the change you are calling people to, make sure you are putting those changes into play in your own life.  Tell a few failure stories as well – the funnier the better.

4.   Ask God for an overall strategy for a given time period.

Change is doable as you maintain a reasonable amount of it.  In a given year I usually work on four issues at a time and keep rehashing those matters, only with different language angles so it is not so obvious we are repeating the theme again.

Change is one of the few constants in this life… and the next.  If you don’t like change, it’s time to get adept at it.  There is plenty of indication that heaven will be a time and place of ongoing growth as we more fully understand the depths of how great our God is.  More discovery equals more change in us.

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