Readjusting Your Church’s Focus

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by Tracy Jaggers

People normally resist Change. Why? Because it is uncomfortable and inconvenient. It can be dangerous as well – dangerous to lead and dangerous to live through. It is difficult, emotionally draining and usually carries numerous fears. But it is high time that we get off our couches of ease and join the ranks of God’s risk-takers. The church has always thrived under persecution and we are beginning to see an opportunity to thrive staring us in the face. But, if we keep on doing what we have been doing, we will keep on getting what we have been getting – and to me, that is unacceptable.

“The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less” — Vaclav Havel

Church revitalization is a journey, to discover God’s unique calling for your church, in the specific setting in which you live. Readjusting your focus is really a call to look at the values of your church and determine first, “are they what God values?” Second, if so, “how can we adapt our church and ministries to meet those values?” Readjusting your focus is a spiritual evaluation process that begins as our church seeks to join our member’s lives and our church’s ministries with what God values. When we are walking in total obedience to the purposes and plans of God, we cannot help but find growth and excitement as we join God in His “thing,” instead of expecting Him to join us in ours. It is uncomfortable to let go of the steering wheel, but when we do, we find that it was never our car to drive in the first place, and God has never had a wreck!

In the process of readjusting your focus, you should seek to determine answers to

8 probing questions:

  1. Why do we exist? Why are we here? What is God’s purpose for us?
  2. Does our past reveal an attitude and plan for growth?
  3. Whom has God called us to reach? Who is our target audience? You won’t reach everyone, but we should be willing to reach anyone.
  4. Who has God shaped us to be? What are our core values?
  5. Where do we believe God is leading us? What is our vision for the future?
  6. How do we need to change our ministry model to meet our vision?
  7. How do we apply our values and vision within our setting? How will we know if we are meeting our goals?
  8. How do we implement these plans over the next 3, 5, 10 years? (Strategic and Long-Range Planning)

“A ReFocused church is a church that has been repositioned to engage in an intentional ministry that births new life—ministry that equips attendees of a local church to reach the unchurched, launch new ministries, and plant new churches… and become reproducing-disciples” – Unknown

10 Characteristics of Spiritual Leadership

leadershipby Tracy W. Jaggers

There is a marked difference between leadership and “spiritual” leadership. There are lots of successful and effective leaders in the business world, but there are few that get people to follow their vision to the grave. As much as I hate to say this, Adolf Hitler could be considered a spiritual leader. He convinced a large German populace to follow his vision for ruling the world. Yes, he was deceived and probably even demonic, but he impassioned people of all ages, even religious leaders, to follow his strategy.

So, what is the distinction here? I define leadership as the power, capacity or ability to lead other people. Spiritual leadership is defined as the God-given ability to set goals and declare God’s vision to the body of Christ in such a way that believers voluntarily and harmoniously join in those goals as their worship offering to the Lord. With that being said, here are the character qualities I believe are vital to successful spiritual leadership:

Listen without mentally critiquing the speaker’s motives or ideas. Affirming the speaker,      as you listen, reveals you are engaged in the discussion.

Expect the best from every follower – don’t be negative. Not everyone will do it YOUR       way. Allow for personal creativity and innovation.

Adjust your ideas and plans to coincide with the Lord’s vision – reject self-centeredness.      Let the process be fluid enough so the Lord can offer options along the way – then        join Him.

Direct all praise for any success to the Lord – this is NOT about you. If you find yourself    angry or disappointed, it’s probably because the goals are yours and not His!

Encourage willing obedience to God’s plans instead of reluctant compliance. Following        the Lord or leading His flock because you have to, is not the same as loving to    serve Him because He first loved you.

Respect everyone – from the greatest to the least; from those “under” you to those “over”    you. Give preference to one another. Never look down on others, because He has         chosen the weak. Publicly acknowledge every follower’s hard work and discipline         or correct privately.

Search for the best way to accomplish the Lord’s plans. Take it step by step – Nehemiah       was a great example of this!

Hold fast to the Word – the Bible must be your Standard Operating Procedures.

Involve every believer in the journey. Let everyone know they are a vital part of the body   of Christ and as such, all should serve. We must never allow anyone to sit on the        sidelines.

Pray fervently for the wisdom, guidance, protection and blessing of the Lord. If it is not       His plans, then it will probably falter or fail. Prayer is the key to success!

Did you find yourself in this list of the productive spiritual leader characteristics? I hope so. We are living in time when it is imperative for us to be competent, productive, and compelling leaders. We must be evangelistically-effective and spiritually-consistent so others ask why we have hope, love, joy and peace. Leaders must mirror the vision the Lord has shown us and we must lovingly recruit every believer to join that vision. We cannot afford to let down our congregation, the lost, or the Lord.