This is a guest post by Sean Morgan. He’s Vice President of CDF Leadership Capitol and a good friend. You can check out his podcast “Leaders In Living Rooms” here.
By Sean Morgan
Have your trusted advisors and friends told you this year you’re less likely to have an impact on your town?
Yup. You’re a year older than you were last year but in that year 100’s or 1000’s of U-Hauls arrived in your town so the average age there stayed the same or even trended younger.
If you’re like me, I’m sure you’re restless to see an increased impact from your ministry.
Cheer up!! There is good news–you’re in complete control of the changes you need to make to reach the lost in your community. And if you’re reading this, I suspect you’ll also be willing to pray through some things that God will reveal to you about it.
Carey recently posted 6 Disruptive Church Trends That Will Rule 2020, and I was led to think through why his point #2 was true – “Growing Churches Will Be Led By Younger Leaders.” (By the way, if you haven’t read that post, go check it out here)
Since you can’t ever solve a problem you’re not willing to name, the first thing we must do is name it, and in our case, Carey’s already done that…whew!You can’t ever solve a problem you’re not willing to name. Click To Tweet
Simply put, movements and ministries led by younger leaders often growing and those led by older leaders often do not. This isn’t so much a statement about age, but rather what happens as we age.
Is it true all of the time? No, but it is overwhelmingly true. Should we give up and become victims to a ticking clock?
Of course not, in fact, I’d say “Be Encouraged!!—there are fantastic older leaders who are fighting the drift toward IRRELEVANCE and slaying it! Read on to figure out how to join them.
Let’s start with unpacking this list of 6 characteristics that are natural tendencies of younger leaders and contrast them with those of older leaders. Before we dive in, I do want to point out that this list is for everyone…we are all getting older and 40 is not a magic number per se; so realize the older you get the more you need to be intentional about resisting natural tendencies that make you irrelevant.
CHARACTERISTICS NATURAL TO AGE:
These lead to: INNOVATION
These lead to: IRRELEVANCE
“Safe is a dangerous place to be, get out of your comfort zone” –unknown
As you can clearly see, this isn’t about age so much as it is about human tendencies that happen as we age.
I LOVE that Louie Giglio recently gathered 60,000+ young people in Atlanta and the fastest growing church in America is led by Ray Johnston, because both leaders are in their 60’s. These leaders work hard to create culture that embraces appropriate risk and innovation in order to reach the lost.Staying relevant isn’t about age so much as it is about human tendencies that happen as we age. Click To Tweet
So, what am I saying here?
What I’m saying is that to stay innovative, you need to intentionally fight the natural drift to the right side of the list above which always leads to irrelevance.
The truth is that God doesn’t need your church.The truth is that God doesn’t need your church. Click To Tweet
Sound harsh? It might be, but I can assure you that if you lead your church toward irrelevancy, God will raise up a leader to plant a new church that will reach the lost in your community. I see it happen all the time where paid for church buildings are being gifted as multisite campuses to churches that are indeed taking risks and growing.
We are stewards of time and influence and we must stay on mission. Like a church planter with a 3 year commitment of outside sponsorships, that leader has a budget and timeline for survival and survival is defined as reaching the lost and leading them to become disciples.
When’s the last time you put yourself on that kind of trajectory to impact?
As a leader, it’s up to you to fight the drift toward comfort. When we let our churches get comfortable (like a cluster of innertubes drifting down the lazy river—which is usually because we drifted there with them!), we have slowly replaced the Great Commission with a more subtle mission of keeping the establishment happy. It happens to the best of us, believe me. There are very few churches or multi sites that are experiencing measurable growth past their 5th year.
Harvard Business Review recently published similar findings in their Nov 2019 issue entitle “The CEO Lifecycle”, astonishingly the results are very similar. In fact, they label CEO leadership years 6-10 as “the complacency trap”. The CEO’s who see growth in their later years are categorized as those who take risks, reinvent and innovate.We have slowly replaced the Great Commission with a more subtle mission of keeping the establishment happy. Click To Tweet
Okay great, let’s talk about how you can get back on mission.
Here are 4 practical questions to help you on your journey toward innovation and growth.
Get some alone time and wrestle with these questions. Really dig deep and instead of feeling exposed or guilty, just embrace that God is giving you clarity AND you can do something about it.
Question 1: Am I protecting my job…because of my income, authority or identity?
2 clues you might be protecting your job:
- You’ve seen talented “A level” leaders leave your church because they couldn’t spread their wings
- Your church has stopped growing, but you’re sleeping soundly because you’re meeting budget and/or have money in savings
Question 2: Am I protecting the jobs of my staff and therefore placing their employment stability over launching new ministries to reach lost people?
Question 3: Do you have an underlying fear of making deep changes because the establishment of the church might revolt?
- This could mean fear of letting tenured staff go
- This could mean upsetting key lay influencers/givers
Question 4: Compared to when I was 20, am I more or less like the rich young ruler who couldn’t fully pursue Jesus because of what made him comfortable in life?
Let’s all release some things we are holding tightly to in order to say YES to God.
Break Through The Growth Barriers Holding You Back
So you would love to see your church grow in 2020, but the question is how?
Naturally, I can’t make a church grow and you can’t make a church grow. Only God can do that.
But I believe you can position your church to grow. You can knock down the barriers that keep you from growing. You can eliminate the things that keep your church from growing and implement some strategies that will help you reach far more people.
That’s what I’d love to help you do in the Church Growth Masterclass.
The Church Growth Masterclass is designed to help you jumpstart a stuck church, or help your growing church reach even more people.
It’s everything I wish I knew about church growth when I got into ministry more than 20 years ago.
In the Church Growth Masterclass you’ll learn:
- The 10 reasons your church isn’t growing
- Why even committed church-goers aren’t attending as often as before
- How to tell if your church leaders are getting burned out
- The five keys to your church better impacting millennials.
- What to do when a church wants to grow … but not change
- 5 essentials for church growth
- 5 disruptive church trends to watch—and how to respond
- How to increase church attendance by increasing engagement.
You can learn more and gain instant access to the course today.
Really hoping 2020 is a year of growth and impact for you and your church!
What about you?
What are you doing to stay relevant?