Apr 2017 – Vital Care & Counsel
Vital Care & Counsel exists to help SED churches and pastors:
- Make strategic changes
- Navigate key decisions
- Identify & evaluate potential opportunities
- Assist in critical situations
- Walk through difficult challenges
This month we want to look specifically at our third area, Identifying & Evaluating Potential Opportunities. Let me begin with a question…How often as a pastor are you asked to get involved personally or congregationally in someone else’s ministry event/idea?…monthly?….weekly?
There are several potential reasons why you are being asked. A few may be:
- They like you personally.
- They want to borrow your influence.
- Your congregation has a great reputation.
- Your congregation is seen as a potential volunteer base for their endeavor.
- They are looking for partners to share/shoulder the financial costs.
- They may even be looking subconsciously for someone to do what God is trying to get them to do but they haven’t begun because they can’t seem to consciously get past their own excuses.
Popular opportunities to consider often include but aren’t limited to:
The term “partner” must be understood. Partners share in the both the benefits and responsibilities. There are typically written documents that clearly define how they will share.
One should also remember that not all opportunities are God opportunities. A God opportunity for one person may only be a good opportunity for another and it may even be a distraction for another preventing them from fulfilling their assigned Kingdom role. To become involved in a Kingdom partnership a leader should have an overwhelming conviction that God is inviting them to be involved as a new Kingdom Assignment.
Considering that one should also know and agree in advance with (1) what will be done, (2) who has the responsibilities for each aspect, (3) how will costs be covered, (4) what are the expectations for each, and (5) how will you resolve questions, confusion & conflicts. These are operational aspects but also components to be included in evaluating the potential opportunity.
Community involvement must follow all the same considerations for Kingdom partnerships but leaders must also determine the primary purpose for involvement
Does the community involvement also providing community awareness of your church?
Do you intend the community involvement to primarily be an outreach opportunity?
Is your potential community involvement deemed an active part of your discipleship training…i.e. in serving we grow as Christ’s followers.
The answer can’t be “All of the Above.” Only one can be primary and that will shape your evaluation of it as an opportunity.
Other leadership requests
It has become common for pastors today to be invited to serve on other ministry and not-for-profit boards. (1) They already have experience leading at that level. (2) Coming from outside the daily operations they can bring fresh insights to an organization. (3) They are trusted as leaders with elevated levels of integrity.
But again how do we differentiate the God opportunities from good opportunities?
Four considerations to serve in this way. We need to:
- Have a conviction that this may be a God opportunity.
- Genuinely believe that we have something significant to offer the organization.
- Have margin (personal time, energy, & resources) to easily fulfill the responsibilities.
- Ask for input from others. Before leading this way, discuss it with a mentor, a peer, and your spouse and require 100% agreement before deciding to serve.
Caveat: Most people unknowingly like to borrow influence. Personal references, name dropping, or lists of places served/involvement are our attempts to borrow influence from others. Be cautious as you consider possible impacts to your influence. Any outside involvement is like a temporary loan of influence. Be confident that it will be returned in the same condition or better.
Another frequent area where opportunities need to be identified and evaluated is facility changes…transitions, expansions, modifications. The possible feasibility factors to be fully considered are incredibly numerous…location, uses, parking, appropriate size, zoning, associations, fire/safety considerations, budget, affordability, funding options, congregational communication, church history, leadership approach, etc.
Vital Care & Counsel is ready to assist SED pastors & churches as they navigate decisions in these areas and others. For additional info contact Paul Glenn directly firstname.lastname@example.org or his cell 704.239.0569.