John Van Pay’s first decade of ministry didn’t go the way he planned. He was driven and ambitious, but his wife was ready to leave him. That caught John’s attention.
He then went on to plant a church with the stated plan of being home 5 nights a week. He honored that. Within a decade, Gateway Church became the fastest growing church in America. John explains how to find margin even in a season of growth and how to say no to stay focused.
Welcome to Episode 235 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
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3 Insights from John
1. You can’t forsake family in the name of the Kingdom
Many in ministry learn this the hard way. With the best of intentions, it’s easy to get caught up in the mission of leading other’s to Christ, all the while neglecting to lead at home.
Think back on the past year. Out of 365 nights, how many family dinners have you missed? How many date nights have you had with your spouse? Or how many game nights have you missed with your close circle of friends?
Listen, I’m not trying to guilt you and I don’t have the magic ratio of work to home, but if any of those questions raise a flag, it my be time to make some changes. You can’t forsake family in the name of the Kingdom, because, whether you realize it or not, when your relationships with others are struggling, odds are your relationship with God is, too.
2. Take time internally to process your external yes or no
We’ve all been there. Feeling strained to say yes when we know the answer should be no. Setting boundaries takes discipline. It takes sticking to an intentional plan. The best practice is taking time internally to look for what to say externally when telling somebody no (or yes).
First, ask yourself if saying yes would be the wisest decision. What will have the biggest kingdom impact? Will it protect personal family time, the staff’s time with family? How does saying yes speak to the vision of your mission? If the answer isn’t obvious, go to prayer and scripture for confirmation.
There’s also safety in having a multitude of advisors. Having three to five trustworthy people who can speak into situations with wisdom can offer a lot of clarity. Taking in all those factors without rush will hopefully reveal wisdom.
Beyond that – communicate well. Communicating the why’s clearly and with humility should soften the blow of a hard no.
3. Follow up with first time guests in the name of discipleship
When people come through the doors of Gateway Church for the first time, they are going to receive a personal visit from a small group leader who lives in their area within 24 hours.
Seriously. I was blown away by hearing this, too. You’d think the church would receive a lot of pushback, but the system is clearly working.
For John and his church, it’s all about discipleship and creating a welcoming first impression. So, once they have that volunteered first timer’s address, a small group leader is ready to personally thank them for coming, pray for them and invite them into their home. It’s a no-pressure, how can I pray for you, we have a lot in common, approach that’s relational and focused on friendship. It’s Gateway’s strategy toward fulfilling the great commission as best they can by winning their city over to Christ.
Quotes from Episode 235
Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?
Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Next Episode: Jonathan Pokluda
Everybody wants to do what God has allowed Jonathan Pokluda to do, but few do it. Jonathan Pokluda leads the Porch, the largest young adult ministry in America that reaches thousands live every Tuesday night, and 50,000 to 100,000 young adults via podcast and other platforms. JP talks about the keys to reaching, understanding, influencing and deploying young adults in the church and in corporate America.
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