Church leaders, I know you mean well but you’re doing some things wrong. So much so that you’re turning people away from the church.
That’s the bad news. There’s good news though.
You can change your habits and begin reaching people again. You can stop the mass exodus of people from the church and have a healthy congregation and volunteer team.
Isn’t that great?
Let’s take a look at what church leaders are doing wrong and what we can do to fix them.
1. Trying to make church FUN: This isn’t to say church shouldn’t be fun. Church can be fun, for sure. However, we can’t make that the end goal of the church.
Church is so much more than having fun.
Church is about community. Church is about relationship. Church is about loving God. Church is for preaching and teaching.
Incorporate these aspects into your church before you begin making church about having fun. Get the basics in place and then move from there.
2. Telling YOU centered stories: Research has shown that telling stories is a great way to engage people. People love stories. It’s true.
But you may be going about storytelling wrong.
Think back on the last 5 stories you’ve told. What did these stories revolve around? Did they revolve around you or others?
If they’re revolving around you and what you’ve done, your stories become less effective over time.
Tell stories that bring to life the Bible. Tell stories that are about those who have lived the Bible. Tell stories that are life giving.
Make stories about those you’re leading and the characters in the Bible. You might be surprised at how people respond.
3. Ignoring your volunteers: Volunteers are a crucial part of ministry. They take a heavy load off of the senior pastor. Volunteers are also leading people the pastor may never see.
They are giving up parts of their week to come and serve at the church. They’re giving up hours each week to create messages to deliver to children, young adults, and adult ministries.
They’re doing work and they’re being ignored.
Stop it. Stop it now.
Begin recognizing your volunteers. When you walk past them, say Hi! and get to know them.
They need recognition. You can give it.
4. Not paying church workers: There’s a fine line between church workers and church volunteers. A line that too many church leaders ignore by considering church workers as volunteers.
In point 4, I said volunteers give their time to lead and teach members of the church. They’re also studying for these messages during the week, after they’ve put in 40 hours at their day jobs.
There should be a point where volunteers become staff or you lighten the burden they’re carrying.
You can’t keep using people. They’ll eventually leave you high and dry.
If there are workers in your church who are doing jobs that deserve pay, consider paying them. They’re laboring like they’re working at a real job. Don’t they deserve to be paid?
5. Playing favorites: It’s easy to begin favoring certain church members over others. It’s human nature to be drawn to people.
The issue begins to cause trouble when clicks are formed and people are excluded from fellowship.
Watch yourself and how you’re interacting with others. Are there people you’re ignoring because they can’t offer you large tithes or a network of influential individuals? If you catch yourself doing this, change directions.
6. Letting the church fall into disrepair: The people of the church are most important. Yet there’s something special about the physical church building.
The building is a physical representation of the house of God. It’s set apart and holy.
When the roof begins to leak. When the carpet is worn. When there are holes in the walls… Something is wrong.
Don’t neglect the condition of the physical church building.
Create a church maintenance fund. Ask for handymen to help with repairs. Take care of the church.
7. Allowing sin in leadership: We know everyone will sin. We’re fallen creatures who rebel against God constantly.
There’s that internal struggle no one is able to conquer until death.
This doesn’t mean we have to tolerate sin in leadership. The Bible is clear that leaders are held to a higher standard. So why do we allow leaders to be in authority when they’re not living their lives according to the Bible?
It’s a tough road to walk when we have to call out those we’ve placed in leadership. It hurts and we may feel like we’re judging. And you are and that’s okay.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13 says
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
And 2 Timothy 4:2 says:
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.
These verses tell us that we need to hold each other up and hold each other accountable.
If you’re allowing leaders who are living in sin to continue to lead, you have to stop it. Be bold. Reprove, rebuke, and exhort.
8. Failing to feed themselves: When you’re leading others, your focus is on the congregation. You feel your main goal is to make sure they’re taken care of.
The scary thing is, many leaders are forgetting to feed and take care of themselves.
This makes me think about flying. Have you ever flown? If you have, you probably remember the pre-flight warning the stewards and stewardesses give:
Oxygen and the air pressure are always being monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.
I believe the last line of this message is clear. If you’re looking to help others, you have to make sure you’re in a position to help.
For leading, this means reading the Word of God, meditating on what God is telling, and learning how to lead others. When you do this, you’re in a place to help others.
Leading is tough. Especially in the church.
There’s so much going on and you’re only one person. This is why you need to be aware of the problems many church leaders are facing.
With the knowledge of what’s coming, you can be prepared and lead better.