In the late 1990’s I was on the pastoral staff of a church that shifted so dramatically that we lost 150 people in six months, and then gained that many back in the next twelve months! It all started when our entire staff team took a trip to, you guessed it, southern California.
Our outgoing senior pastor was convinced that we needed to move in a purpose-driven direction as a church, so as his last leadership act, he took the staff to a Purpose-Driven Church Conference at Saddleback Church. For me and my wife, it was one of the best and most memorable experiences of our lives. We absolutely loved it, and so did the rest of our team.
Over the following two years however, I learned four important lessons:
For so many reasons we had a ton to learn from Saddleback Church in 1997, but for twice as many reasons, we should not have used it as a model for our church immediately upon our return. This resulted in what would become years of problems, issues, division, and lost growth toward the Kingdom. Ultimately, we failed, and someone else had to pick up the pieces and start over again. Thankfully, it is moving in a positive direction today.
We had a blast at Saddleback! I have returned six more times since then and am so thankful for what I have learned and how I have grown. Rick is an awesome pastor and leader and his church family truly is second to none.
Today I am also thankful for my church of 200 in Orange City, IA! We are making advances for the Kingdom of God in our community, people are growing, serving, building relationships, using their gifts, and living lives of worship. My church matters and my leadership matters huge in the Kingdom of God!
No matter the size of your church, so does yours!
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