Peter’s walk toward Jesus on a stormy sea forecast the dilemma of Christians in future centuries. Stormy change often leaves believers seasick as the gospel shrugs off the shackles of one historical period after another on its journey to the outer limits of recorded time and beyond.
Today’s Christian leaders face upheaval as time roars into the 21st century. They must walk with Him and obey Him on a raging sea of social, economical, moral, cultural, and technological change unprecedented in human history. Like Peter, they must decide which is stronger—their faith in God or their fear of the future. Simon Peter climbed out of the boat believing he could follow Jesus’ command to walk on the water. However, anchored by his limited view of the possible, his faith faltered and he sank. Church leaders on mission today must also step out in faith from their anchored past to answer Jesus’ command to communicate His unchanging message in a mighty roaring sea of change.
At least 70 percent of Southern Baptist churches now have memberships that are plateaued or declining. They “do church” the way it was done years ago, but they are ineffective in communicating the gospel to the ever-changing environment. These leaders are slowly becoming aware they will sink in that sea of change if they remain so rooted in their own ideas that their faith falls short of a Lord who created and transcends time and space. In Acts 10, Peter recognized he must cross barriers built by culture and tradition if he was to communicate the gospel to a new culture. Just like Peter, church leaders are recognizing they, too, must find new ways of leading and communicating the Word of God across barriers built by age, gender, race, economics, culture, geography, ignorance, apathy, fear, and despair.
New methods alone are not enough. Growth requires new attitudes to evaluate the old and the new. Preconceptions may need to be discarded, defenses lowered, and ears tuned to listen to God’s spirit that calls them to move confidently into the future.
So the question is: “What kind of a leader can grow a church in an ever-changing environment?”
WHAT KIND OF A LEADER CAN GROW A CHURCH?
- A Leader Must Have a Profound Sense of God’s Call
- A Leader Must Grow in Their Relationship with God
- A Leader Must Be Compassionate
- A Leader Must Be Passionate
- A Leader Must Be Visionary
- A Leader Must Become Entrepreneurial
- A Leader Must Be Contextual
- A Leader Must Be a Planner
- A Leader Must Be a Lifelong Learner
- A Leader Must Be a Delegator and Empowerer of Others