As church leaders, we can face some of these same issues. We want our church to grow, for people to be discipled, and for our church to become better at serving others. But far too often, we become our own ceiling and stunt the very growth that we want to see.
Raising the ceiling in your church is tough. Usually when looking at a problem like this, I’d look to an outside hire to help me out. I know nothing about construction, and would never begin to imagine how to raise the ceiling at our location. It’s a daunting task that I wouldn’t want to try on my own.
Here are 5 tools that I’ve found useful for raising the ceiling at my location that I want to share with you.
1. LIVE LIKE A STUDENT
Pull out your notebook and pen, because learning is something that leaders need to implement as a lifestyle. Too often people think that because of their position that they have made it to the end and no longer need to learn from others. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
We as a staff at Next Level Church are constantly learning, not just from each other, but from other people who have gone before us in this venture. We are encouraged to call someone once a month in a similar position as us to ask questions and learn what we don’t know.
Let’s face it, you only know what you know. Block out time in your week to learn what you don’t know. Ask others who are in similar positions as you; find others who offer a different skill set from yourself.
2. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH OTHER LEADERS
Create a team of gifted leaders that you can trust -- especially leaders that have different strengths than you. Give yourself margin to explore things beyond yourself. Allow people who are in line with the vision and purpose of the church to give insight into what things could be done better, and then empower them to change it. Invest into those people that are in your leadership circle, and allow them to reach more people than you could reach on your own.
3. DEVELOP EXPECTATIONS
With leaders in your church, create an expectation among them. Let them know that being a leader doesn’t just mean having influence, but it also means more is expected of you. Leaders create, maintain, and correct culture. Giving people an expectation raises the bar of those around you, which ultimately benefits your church’s potential.
4. CREATE MARGIN TO FAIL (AND SUCCEED)
Take some some risk and give yourself margin to fail. When you create margin to fail, you also give yourself room to succeed -- big time. Too many organizations play it safe and don’t allow room for new ideas or techniques. Churches that hold tight to a “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?” mentality often fall into the trap of stagnant growth. Brainstorm with your leaders about new ways to grow, bring people in the doors, and disciple them. If some of those approaches fail, so be it. Consult wise Godly leaders, pray over the new strategy, and then give it all you’ve got. Keep trying, press on, and ask for God’s guidance as you strive to further His Kingdom.
5. FIND LEADERS THAT COMPLETE YOU
No, this isn’t some kind of strange dating advice for single leaders. The reality is you can only do so many things well on your own. You have shortcomings, weaknesses, and personality traits. You can’t be the perfect all-around leader or pastor, but you can find others that fill in the gaps you have.
Are you people-oriented? Find someone who loves tasks and systems to come alongside you. Are you introverted? Find someone who loves being with people and gets excited and energized about creating community opportunities.
Self evaluate yourself and realize that you can’t be everything that your church needs. Take a double dose of humility, realize your weaknesses, and find someone who is better at those things than you are.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this post, it’s this: I hope you realize that sometimes your biggest limitation is yourself. Know how God created you, realize that you can’t do everything, and build a structure that allows your church to grow beyond yourself. Don’t allow your pride to stunt the growth that God desires for His church. Be better before you get bigger. Allow God to work though you and others to accomplish His great mission of reaching others with the love of Christ!
Adam Jones is the location pastor for Next Level Church's Salisbury, MA location. Since its launch in November 2015, Salisbury has had 115 first time guests come through its doors and has seen 15 people give their life to Christ.
Adam graduated from Moody Bible Institute with a BA in Youth Ministry. He and his wife, Maribeth, live in Portsmouth, NH.