Yesterday I visited a church that had gone through some difficult conflict just a year earlier. During that conflict I was called to work with them to determine the source of that conflict and suggest how they could address it. As usual, there were several issues that were creating the problems, but at the root of each of them were failures of leadership, both pastoral and lay. The pastor had already resigned, and after I presented my report to the congregation one of the lay leaders also resigned and left the church.
Now the church needed to find a new pastor. An interim pastor was brought in to begin the healing process. I asked the church to not even begin a pastor search for several months to allow healing to occur which they agreed to do. Eventually, I began to work with them in their search for a new pastor.
This pastor would need to be bivocational. I suggested their next pastor also needed both ministerial training and experience. The lack of each of these in their previous two pastors were partially the reasons for their earlier problems. It took several months to find someone to meet this criteria, but God had a person prepared to become the pastor of this church, and at the right time the church discovered this person.
Since calling their new pastor I had not been back to this church. Yesterday, I decided to visit the worship service to see how things were going. The difference in that congregation was amazing.
Previously, the congregation seemed defeated. There had been little energy in the church and a lot of distrust. Yesterday, the worship was lively. People were laughing. It became obvious during different parts of the service how much they cared for one another. There was discussion about new ministries they were doing in their community.
Several people I had worked with earlier came to me after the service to say how much the church had changed for the better since calling their new pastor. One said that their healing was complete and now it was time to grow.
I often quote John Maxwell's statement that everything rises and falls on leadership. My experience in this church once again proves how true that statement is. Today, this church has a pastor who loves this congregation and proves it by both word and deed, and the congregation is returning that love. His experience and training allows him to provide solid leadership to the church, and the church is already trusting that leadership. I am excited about the future of this church.
Tomorrow I want to share from my own pastoral experience the truth of Maxwell's statement.