After six years of ministry in my current city, we began to observe resurgence in new home construction and in expanding infrastructure of our city. Anticipate a 100% increase in population in the next 10 years was soon revised to read, “The population of our city will increase by 106% by 2035.” This was sobering news to our congregation; we had just survived the transition from small, historic downtown church to large, expanding congregation on the north side of town. Anything that brought us closer to the interstate corridor connecting us with Nashville was a good thing. A large number of our county residents commute there for work.
City planners say, “Get ready! More growth is coming.”
As Pastor of Inviting Ministries, I have had the opportunity to walk with our congregation through years of transition and change. It is both exciting and daunting. We have examined the effectiveness of ministries and styles of communication that once were great tools of connection with our neighbors but now seemed to be unhelpful. We have welcomed ideas of new members who come to us with different experiences in other faith communities.
We bravely invite new members to assume positions of leadership in the church.
Many of us recall former years when only those who had connections or many years of history within a local church could ever hope to chair a committee or be invited to serve on an ad hoc committee. Increasingly we observe in our expanding church membership that God is sending to us, in our many new members, individuals with incredible leadership skills and unique gifts for ministry. Most of our neighbors will never live in a community for 50+ years; job relocations keep us on the move. But amid these transitory families who walk into our churches on Sunday, there are wonderful Christian leaders. They can help us be ready for the next life cycle of our churches and communities.
Do you have new, overlooked leadership in your church?
Jesus took 12 disciples, strangers to most of those they met along The Way, and changed the world. He inspired those he led, delegated those whom he trained, and modeled servant leadership.
Whom has God sent to you to help you prepare for the changes ahead?