When I first walked into my church over 12 years ago, there were 87 people in attendance. Today, across two campuses, there are over 700 people on a typical weekend. I’ve seen so many incredible things happen in my church over the years, and I have gained so much. But there are also things I have lost, and as your church grows there will be things you will lose as well.
None of us set out to lose friends, but you inevitably will. As the church changes, and more people start showing up, others will get uncomfortable. People who have been in your home, been to your kids’ birthday parties, been a part of your life for many years will leave the church. They want people to change, but never want the church to, which we all know is impossible. It’s sad, but you move on because you know you’re following God’s direction.
As your church grows you will need to hire staff, and as your church grows some more you’ll need to fire some of them. The sad reality is that the people who got you there, aren’t necessarily the people who can get you to where you’re going. This hurts and sometimes people feel like they’ve been used, but the right person at the right time eventually becomes the wrong person somewhere down the road.
3. My Seat
Definitely not as dramatic as the first two, but for all of us who aren’t speaking on Sunday mornings it’s not uncommon for us to eventually lose our favorite place to sit. Personally I prefer the back right corner, but for the past couple of years I’ve ended up on the front row.
4. My Parking Space
More people showing up on Sundays means less options in the parking lot. If you’re a pastor or church leader, I highly encourage you to park the farthest away from the building. It’s an easy way to appreciate everyone else.
5. My Preferences
As an Executive Pastor I get to help make many of the decisions in my church, but that doesn’t mean I can just choose what I like. For one, many of the ministries I used to manage are now managed by someone else, and for two, I have to make decisions on what’s best for the church, not what’s best for me.
6. My Comfort Zone
I’m an introvert every day of the week, except Sunday mornings. On Sunday mornings I force myself to put on a smile and talk to people, especially people I don’t know. Sometimes I’m awkward, sometimes I come off the wrong way, but I’m trying my best to connect with people.
7. My Opinions
I spent ten minutes trying to write a Facebook post the other day, before eventually just discarding the post. The things I say are seen by a lot of people, some who go to my church, and some that I’m hoping will come to my church. I can’t afford to say the wrong thing, or have my words misinterpreted. I have to keep my opinions to myself.
I am a husband, father, and executive pastor of a small town church that went big. I have a passion for helping pastors grow themselves and the churches they serve. You can find out more about me and my ministry at http://travisstephens.me