7 Questions When Looking to Large Churches & Ministries as Role Models
By: Dan Chrystal
It is natural to look to a large church pastor or large ministry leader as a role model.
This is what society dictates to us. If someone has attained a certain level of status or defined success in ministry – surely there is something we can learn from them.
What truly is our motive for wanting to learn from these leaders? Is our motive kingdom minded or self-motivated? No one can answer that question but you.
There are leadership workshops, seminars, and summits that attract and recruit large church pastors and ministry leaders: to speak, encourage, and offer advice to the faith-based leadership world. There are some things we can learn. God can use anyone at anytime to teach us something.
Regarding these large church pastors and large ministry leaders:
We buy the books. We watch the videos. We try to glean as much counsel and advice as we can to help us in our own ministries. The challenge is this…we know absolutely nothing about this person? We only know what they tell us whether in their books or streamed podcasts.
It can be dangerous when looking to large church pastors or ministry leaders if we do not ask some questions while we are on our quest for best practices, knowledge, or some nugget of truth so our ministries can move forward.
What are the subordinates saying about this leader/pastor?
I’ll be the first to admit there are always going to be those who wish to defame or talk negatively about the large church pastor or ministry leader. However, as my father always taught me, there is always a bit of truth in sarcasm, jokes, or complaints. So seek out the nugget of truth.
There are also those around the pastor/leader who will never have anything negative to say about them. Be cautious of this. No one is immune from faults or misgivings.
If the relationships surrounding them are open and honest, the leader will be up front with everyone else about their personal struggles and what they are doing to overcome them. Vulnerability is key here.
What is the history of the church/ministry and how they came to be so large?
Were there conditions in the cities, towns or neighborhoods that caused the perfect conditions for growth? In personal study, it has come to my attention that some large churches and ministries have gotten that way because of the growth of the community they reside in.
Of course, leadership and administration are extremely important in order to grow with the community. There are some principles of administration and leadership that all of us can benefit from. What we need to remember is that growth is not dependent solely on the ability of the leader. Who has the leader gathered around them?
Have they entered into a season of maintaining their current level of attendance?
At what point during their growth did they need to make drastic changes? You will find that every church or ministry that has broken barriers in numbers have had to consistently be on a path of change. What were those changes? Why were they necessary?
Are you willing to make changes – not to the Gospel, but to methodology?
What are the current difficulties faced by these larger churches or ministries?
To the large church pastor or large ministry leader…Be honest. Tell us what you are personally facing. You may be facing an abundance of blessing, and that’s great, but don’t just give us the blessing stories, tell us the horror stories as well.
Tell us the mountains you are currently climbing? Whether staff related, family related, or church related, there are issues these pastors and ministry leaders are facing and struggling with – right now.
When you are faced with a declining church or ministry – tell us. When you are facing financial deterioration, inform us and don’t hide it.
What is the larger church doing in their own communities to meet needs?
When we look at larger churches and ministries, they normally serve a region and are quite effective at meeting larger needs of that region. However, what is this large church or ministry doing to meet the needs of the communities they reside in? Is the goal to maintain size? Or is the goal to be the best influence we can be for Christ regardless of the size?
How is that large church or ministry meeting the needs of those within their own walls? How has the community surrounding the actual church location been influenced for the better for their being there?
Is there currently someone in my life I allow to speak into my shortcomings and faults?
If you get to the point of a large church or ministry, have you allowed certain people into your life to call you on your “stuff”? What has not been dealt with personally and spiritually at a smaller level, becomes part of what could take it down at a larger level.
No matter what the size of your church or ministry, ALWAYS have someone in your life that has the permission to speak directly to the blind spots of your personal life and ministry; listen to them; and do whatever is necessary to correct your path.
What are the financials for the last three years for these churches and ministries?
Where the money goes, so goes the vision of the leadership. This applies to any size church or ministry. However, if you are going to choose someone to listen to, you should do your due diligence to see where the finances of their ministry or church are going.
For that matter, where are the finances of your church or ministry going?
What is the strategic purpose for your church in your community?
It may not be the same as that of the large church or ministry to whom you are seeking knowledge or counsel from. Talk with your ministry leaders and church leaders. What is God doing in your community that you need to become involved with? What is the reason you exist as a church or ministry?
Communicate it. Live it. Communicate it again. Live it. Passionately pursue excellence within the strategic purpose you believe God has for you and your church/ministry.
There is no formula for attaining a large church or ministry status. The biggest caution you should watch out for is your own motive for seeking information from large churches or ministries.
Only you and those closest to you can determine this at face value.