Five dangerous people to watch out for, as your church grows

imprrh@gmail.com —  May 28, 2013

Growing a church can be one of the best experiences a pastor can have. Yes, every church is different but, there are some similarities. One of the most disturbing is how the moment your church starts to pick up momemtum. it attracts dysfunctional people. The day great things start to happen, they show up. Here are five types of people to watch out for:

  • Predatory: Sexual or spiritual, they have similar objectives: gratify self and inflict major pain. Be less concerned about hurting them by screening them out than hurting others by ignoring them. Discernment is a spiritual gift.  Ask for it daily.
  • Large and in charge: They say they want to “be a part of the team”.  What they are really saying is “I want to be the boss,” and think this church gives them the chance.
  • Against: They come because they are against their old church.  They make comments like “My old church was so _________. I’m so glad this church is not like that!” When they realize you’re not perfect, and neither is the church, they will leave.
  • Needy: These people could monopolize all of your time and energy. The people in their old church are probably jumping for joy that they left! The only jumping you will doing is off of an imaginary bridge when you respond for the fifth time in three hours to an “urgent” text message about “why Sister Janet doesn’t like me.”
  • Transient: They’re here just to check it out. They’ll go back to their old church when they realize that here they are actually expected to work. It takes 110% commitment to grow a church and they just don’t have it.

Four recommendations:

  • Have a clear vision.  Unclear vision leads to wasted time resolving side issues that should have been settled in the beginning.
  • Have a specific, written, membership covenant and have the people that will join the church read, agree, and sign it. Mosaic SDA Church in Hillsboro, Oregon has one of the best that I have seen. (You can see it here.) It will save you a lot of grief later, when conflict arises.
  • Provide continual reminders of the vision. Vision leaks. Just because you presented it, don’t assume people heard it, understood it, or remember it.
  • Have patience. You don’t just want more people, you want the right people.

Any prayer requests? Leave them here…

imprrh@gmail.com

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