People seem to be interested in the topics I have thrown up recently for the numbers of hits is increasing. However, few are courageous enough to comment on the blog itself but some are writing me off line.
I do love to get feedback. Your comments keep me sharp and also alert me to what you all are thinking and feeling. I need to state clearly a few of my assumptions.
Being a Pastor is one of the most difficult careers known to humanity. I worked on a church staff for 16 years and it was a great experience. However, I was not the Senior Pastor so the entire weight of leadership was not on my shoulders.
I was a pretty good "Second Banana" but I think I would be a terrible "First Banana". Jerry Kirk was the Senior Pastor and he was made for the role. It came to him as effortlessly as swimming to a fish.
While at CHPC some people said "You should get a congregation where you could be the Senior Pastor. You preach so well that you should be in the pulpit more often." I certainly loved to hear the warm affirmations but I knew that being a Senior Pastor was not for me.
Leading a congregation is less, much less about preaching than making sure the staff and team and congregation all work toward a common goal. Preaching skills help but motivating, mobilizing and managing change is the real key to leading. Interpersonal Skills, especially listening well, are so much more important than talking.
Almost every ministerial failure arises from a lack of relational skills with the family, elders, staff and members. Yet, it is almost impossible to find a school or seminary that teaches ministers and leaders how to listen, solve problems and deal with conflict.
I did what was easy for me. I spent much of my time teaching the staff and elders how to manage change and conflict. As one pastor said, "Gary, you and I need to start a ministry in conflict management. I make it and you manage it."
We worked almost weekly on group dynamics, problem solving, communications and planning. This is one reason CHPC was so successful, dynamic and growing in influence. For the past twelve years I have focused on Consulting and Coaching Leaders. I am amazed that so few have been trained in the most basic skills of building solid relationships.
Preaching can draw a crowd but only involvement in an ongoing relational community builds disciples and changes lives. Truth without experience always remains in the realm of doubt.
Steve Griebling and I wrote a book that summarizes the best ways to disciple, coach, consult and counsel Christians. For a mere $20.00 you can also become an expert. Just read Hope and Change for Humpty Dumpty.