HOW ARE YOU DOING AS A CHURCH LEADER? How are you adapting in your own spirit? What is the present crossroads your congregation faces? These are the kind of questions we engage in as HOPE Network.
WE ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE. This is the essence of empowering leaders for vibrant churches. Whether walking alongside of you in a difficult season, transition of a minister, providing interim ministry, mentoring, coaching or sharing good resources we exist to be helpful—in this new world, together.
LIKE IT OR NOT, IT’S A NEW WORLD. COVID-19 pulled back the curtain on church life. The blessing of the pandemic compelled us to adapt with technology, creative ministry, new opportunities, and families spending more time together. We realized church is more than an event yet, conservative estimates from church researchers like Thom Rainer indicate that 30 percent of church members are gone and not returning. As the curtain opened wider, there were the burdens of COVID-19. Consumeristic church life exposed a sense of entitlement and radical individualism. In addition, it exacerbated political and social division among believers, manifested by anxiety driven, uncivil, gospel deficient behaviors. As a result, many church leaders, particularly ministers, struggle to “strengthen [their] weak knees and lift [their] drooping hands” (Heb 12.12). Resignations continue to increase with a resolve never to do congregational ministry again. Others were terminated and congregations face a decreasing pool of people to serve as elders. A “let’s wait and see approach” or “things will get back to normal once the pandemic is over” is a recipe for further decline. We, in HOPE Network acknowledge the great need to pour into church leaders—if they are willing.
THE FUTURE WILL NOT BE LIKE THE PAST. So choose your future. Invest in the willing. Focus on discipleship re-thinking and living a more robust gospel for here and now. These are the choices of hope—our approach with leaders and congregations.
Maybe you can identify with these church leaders who reached out to us.
Anxiety, frustration, and sadness were evident in his voice. “Something must change. Our congregation has been in decline for a long time. We’re dying. We keep doing the same things expecting different results. Is there any hope? Or is it too late?”
Another leader calls. He is excited about the leadership team and wanted to know. “Do you have anyone in your organization that can help our leadership and team dynamic. We have a good group of leaders but want to make sure we are focused on what it means to shepherd and guide the church well.”
HOPE NETWORK IS A VARIETY OF KINGDOM HELPERS. We are more than advice givers or merely offering quick fixes, gimmicks, or programs. We exist in the spirit of our founders, Lynn and Carolyn Anderson (1996) focused on mentoring and guiding leaders in kingdom life.
Our agenda is gospel focused as we participate in God’s mission.
We respect local leaders and focus on good processes, tools and
guidance for health and kingdom growth to the glory of God.
The story is told of a frustrated country preacher delivering a sermon about looking in the mirror. Change begins with personal inventory was his point. As an application he placed a full-length mirror in an open casket in the foyer and ask the congregation to look inside as they left worship. He was fired that afternoon.
Whether it happened or not, the point is clear. Looking in the the mirror is where change begins.
In HOPE Network, we don’t resort to casket tactics to motivate leaders or churches. We do, however, help leaders and congregations face reality and discern God’s call for being God’s people in your context. We don’t tell you what to do, rather, lead with listening, then assessment and always, present options and best practices related to your need.
Our work begins with a conversation as we value God’s mission, church leaders, healthy churches and transformed disciples. Contact us firstname.lastname@example.org
Grady D. King, D. Min