In the second of a series of articles on “Leadership” Matt Merriam challenges church leaders on how they choose new leaders.
These last few months of ministry have been the hardest of my life. For five months we have been journeying through the process of closing our church, a church that my wife and I planted 12 years ago. We know that this is the right thing to do, that God is bringing this chapter of our life to an end and calling us to enter into a new season of rest and laughter. But it hurts. It hurts a lot. And it should, an immeasurable amount of my life has been poured into sharing the Gospel, making disciples, and leading God’s church in our community – day after day and week after week for the last 12 years.
As I pause and reflect on the last five months, and the 12 years that came before them, I am struck by just how often I found myself in situations beyond what I had been trained for. Like the moment I realised that a vulnerable adult was being bullied at our gatherings by someone we had just baptised, or the hours spent trying to ground individuals in the midst of a psychotic episode. Seasons of determining doctrine in a team with vastly different backgrounds and rethinking our model of church as our number of leaders dwindled. Not to mention, that to the best of my knowledge, there are not training conferences on “How to Close Your Church Well”. Maybe you can relate to feeling unprepared and lacking the skills to navigate a new (to you) situation in your ministry.
Skills are great assets to have as leaders and within our leadership teams. Our churches are better places because of the leaders who can keep track of finances, exegete God’s word, or write a business plan for a new project. However, the reality of the communities we live and work in means that every leader in our churches will eventually face situations where they will not have all the skills necessary to ensure success. In these unexpected and absolutely pivotal moments of church life, having skilled leaders is not enough. In fact, I dare to say that a leadership team built on gifts and skills will be blind to what they need more than anything – character.
To read more of this article click on our Foundations magazine below and you can continue on pages 11 & 12