Too many voices can ruin a pastor’s vision into a revitalization. We need the voices of the veterans in our lives who have been there, but many times a pastor, rather than listen to the past of a church and celebrate it, can let people’s desires that are not healthy for the church infect the revitalization more.
Often, a church needs changes that he must boldly initiate, and these will upset the people in the church as decades of church revitalization have shown, but in the end, it is all not for the glory of the people but the people of the Lord.
Hard choices are something that pastors know; many have several voices in the ears, from different walks of life and different theological leanings. Many will have an idea for what the church must be doing, and the main thing that a pastor needs to be doing is checking in with the one person who counts, God.
The Church is his gift to his son, Jesus, and he has plans for every individual congregation; and as Gamaliel put it to the Sanhedrin when they questioned Peter and John, “if it is of God, nothing will stop it.” A pastor needs to be sure the vision he has is of God.
Look at the churches that have fallen apart after their pastors leave or die. Many of them, we can honestly say, were built on the reputation of the man in the pulpit and not faith in the Creator. Mars Hill went extinct, Crystal Cathedral is a fraction of what it once was, and time will tell about Harvest Bible Chapel and Willow Creek.
When the people trust the under-shepherd, it is a sacred trust, and the under-shepherd should, as Paul points out, not be in ministry for personal gain. He must be sold out to God and seek the best God wants for the church. Many times, the people cannot see how these changes are of God because they misunderstand the why.
Pastors need to communicate how changes are. In fact, for the best, let’s remember that music often evolves and what is in churches today, no matter the style, would be ridiculed to the music 1000 years ago.
So, pastor, be sure to communicate why the changes are going on and lean into God for the strength to do them.