A growing church is a byproduct of courageous leadership that prays boldly and takes bold action that honors God. But too many churches are led by passive leaders who pray passively and take passive action. For an abundance of reasons, they have decided that what is is too costly to risk in order to see what might be. They have traded in vision for the status quo. They have opted for comfort in doing what we’ve always done rather than stepping out into the unknown of change.
Allow me to say it plainly: courageous leadership is required to grow a church. This includes a church’s board (or its equivalent) and its staff (lead pastor included). Right at the outset, you know if the leadership of your church is courageous or not. You know where they are at. But even if you’re telling yourself, yeah, we are more passive than courageous, then take heart because it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Courageous Leadership is Required to Grow a Church [The Growing Church]
All we have to do to see this to be true is to go back to the book of Acts. In it we see boldness, courage, and a deep-seated desire to move God’s mission forward. In Acts, we see Jesus’ ragtag group of followers become Spirit-filled courageous leaders who do two things: (1) Pray bold prayers and (2) take bold action. And just like the first century, we must do the same today.
The reality is, if pastors and lay leaders don’t lead courageously, more churches will continue to die and less churches will begin to thrive. The status quo will continue to reign supreme and the church as we know it in the West will continue to lose ground.
I am convinced that at the most fundamental level, the thing that holds churches back the most is a lack of courageous leadership. I’ve heard too many horror stories from too many pastors that illustrate this fact. Too many churches are leading from a place of fear and passiveness and it breaks my heart. But instead of fretting on that, let’s look to the two pivots passive leaders can make to become courageous leaders.
Courageous Leaders Pray Boldly
Courageous leadership begins with courageous prayer. Courageous prayer comes from big faith in the King of kings, the Alpha and Omega, the Creator of the entire Universe. If leaders in the church lose sight of the greatness, glory, and power of the Almighty then it won’t be surprising to hear passive prayers that don’t expect God to do much of anything. Instead, our faith must be restored in who God really is and how great His power is.
“Now to Him who is able to do infinitely more than all we ask or imagine,” let’s begin actually believing, once again, that God wants His Church to be healthy and to grow.
But be warned: as soon as you begin praying boldly, God will give you a bold vision for the future of the local church. And it is here that your courage will be tested once again.
Courageous Leaders Pray Boldly AND Take Bold Action
If you’re not sure whether or not the leadership of your church (including you) is courageous or not, simply watch how they respond to the first big vision God gives to them. Bold prayers bring about bold vision and bold vision requires bold action. If action isn’t taken on the first bold vision God gives your leadership, a disconnect of faith is occurring.
It could be that a bold action you need to take is something like:
- Kill a program that is ineffective and taking up too many resources
- Make the next hire
- Let a person go
- Restructure the governance of the church (more on that later in The Growing Church Series)
- Introduce a new discipleship strategy
- Start a second service
- Preach a series on giving *gasp*
- Begin a conversation with the leadership on why your church isn’t growing.
- Change the way your worship service is done (please don’t make visitors stand up and be singled out!)
I don’t know what it is for you and your church, but I do know that as soon as God gives you a bold vision, your leadership will be tested. Because in order for bold vision to become reality, courageous leadership is required. Bill Heybels says it best:
At its foundation…
Courageous leadership is trusting in God’s power and God’s vision enough to take prayerful action to move the church from where it is to where it needs to be. What has brought your church this far may not get you to where it needs to go.
So, the question is, what will you do? Bold prayer and bold action are the two things that courageous leadership requires. And courageous leadership is required to grow a church.
The Growing Church Series… To Be Continued…
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