What makes a pastor rejoice and become thankful? When a pastor sees personal and organizational progress. Progress is when a pastor observes people’s lives being changed, church service attendance increases, spiritual commitment deepens, and finances increase—then the pastor has the freedom to expand serving and evangelizing others and hire the right staff and compensate them properly. I am humbled by the truth that 95% of Senior and Lead pastors whom I coach with the Holy Spirit’s help see an immediate increase in people saved, healed, and delivered as well as solid, responsible stewardship and financial growth. This has created thankful pastors who spread the word around about my ministry and leadership coaching programs.
What makes a pastor frustrated? The opposite is true: personal and organizational stagnation. Lack of spiritual hunger, decreasing conversions, attendance plateau or decline, frayed relationships, waning discipleship, and financial struggles. I cannot tell you how many leaders prior to receiving coaching told me that there were days, weeks, or just a few months away from quitting. In fact, many confessed they considered quitting every Monday.
Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord,
that you may fulfill it (Colossians 4:17).
Are you in a season of progress, stagnation or decline? Progress is the constant movement toward your God-given dreams and goals and a better life. Let’s look at the Three Turnaround Strategies that will help you increase your pastoral intelligence so you can move forward and fulfill your ministry assignment.
Strategy 1 – See it as it is.
The first strategy of turnaround leadership is not to just “be positive.” One of my megachurch pastor clients thought if he would just keep thinking positive, problematic ministry leaders would change in his church. I told him, “If I were you, I would quickly fire some of your disgruntled employees,” and I named a few. He did not listen to me and the negative staff, along with the congregants they influence, actually ran him out of his church after he had started the church and pastored there for thirty-seven years. You can think positive thoughts about your church all day long—but negative things will continue to fester.
Tell yourself nothing but the truth.
If you want to be successfully effective, you have to start telling yourself the truth. Refuse living in denial. If you are not progressing, then realize that what you have been doing is not working. There is nothing wrong with having a problem…unless it’s the same problem you had last year.
- It’s hard to admit your church is not growing because your sermons are only “good” simply because you are not spending the time necessary to preach “GREAT” messages.
- It’s hard to admit that your church is not growing because you have not equipped 100 or more highly qualified leaders in your church, and you have been pastoring 5, 10, or even 20+ years.
- It’s hard to admit that your church is not growing because you don’t have the leadership skills necessary to lead a church the size of God’s dreams for your church.
On the other hand, it’s easy to blame the economy, your geographical area, and your church members for the lack of spiritual, numerical, and financial growth. As I am sure you have preached to others, “The truth will set you free.” Increase your Leadership Intelligence (LQ) by memorizing this:
NOTHING CAN GET BETTER UNTIL YOU ADMIT SOMETHING IS WRONG.
Strategy 2 – See it better than it is.
Great pastors have trained themselves to look beyond “what is” and have learned to use their God-given imagination to see what “could be.” Great pastors only tolerate the present and live in the future. Everything created was actually created twice—first in the mind then in the realm of the physical.
Refuse to see things worse than they really are.
Some pastors see a thing worse than what it is so they have an excuse for not doing anything about it. It’s time to cut your excuses in half and double the actions you take as a pastor. I don’t know how often I have seen pastors get stuck because they are afraid to either fire a person who is underperforming or too afraid to make the one change they know they have needed to make for a long time.
I graciously encouraged one pastor to fire a poor-performing children’s church pastor. He said, “If I fire this person, he will start another church, and I will lose 50-100 people.” After an entire year of working with the disgruntled, lazy associate pastor, he finally fired him. Nobody left the church, and the children’s church doubled in size in four months.
I lovingly told one pastor he preached too long. He said, “If I preach for only a half hour, almost everybody in my church would leave next week.” When he finally decided to take my advice and told his leaders he was going to preach for half an hour, the entire team stood up and applauded. By the way, his church started growing after that, and he broke the 1,000-member barrier.
The number one responsibility of a leader is to see. Jesus said you are the blind leading the blind and the blind lead everybody into the ditch. Point people in the direction of a bigger, brighter, and better future. See things ten times better than what they are!
WHAT IS SEEABLE BECOMES BELIEVABLE AND WHAT IS BELIEVABLE BECOMES POSSIBLE.
Mandate 3 – Make it the new way you see it.
The third strategy of turnaround is do whatever it takes to make what you see on the inside manifested on the outside. You need some TRACTION—a TRAC to take ACTION on. In order to turn your ministry dreams into reality, you need a detailed strategic plan to give you the TRAC you need to run on. I have coached some leaders who have notebooks full of plans, but they fail to execute the proper action steps needed to move their churches and ministries forward. It’s of the utmost importance that you get a successfully proven M.A.P.—Massive Action Plan!
A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan. –T. Boone Pickens, Texas billionaire and successful businessman
A DREAM WITHOUT A STRATEGIC PLAN IS A FANTASY, AND A DREAM WITHOUT TAKING MASSIVE ACTION WILL BECOME A NIGHTMARE.
Smart leaders leverage the advantages of a personal consultant or coach. Don’t try to make the changes alone. Don’t rely on your own wisdom. What got you “here” will not get you “there.” Proverbs 15:22 paraphrased says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers [coaches, consultants, mentors] they succeed.”
Avoid the biggest lie: I cannot afford a coach. I have seen this lie paralyze several ministry leaders. However, I have witnessed with my own eyes Senior Pastors who have stepped out in faith and hired a leadership coach and the process propelled themselves to the next level…and beyond.
Look at the biblical teams that God put together who changed history: Abraham and Sarah, Moses and Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, Deborah and Barak, David and Jonathan, Esther and Mordecai, Jeremiah and Baruch, Mary and Joseph, the apostles, Paul and Silas, Priscilla and Aquila, etc. You can’t afford not to team up!
It’s time for progress. It’s time to move forward toward your ministry dreams. It’s time to enjoy being in the ministry again!
About Keith Johnson
Keith Johnson is known as one of the premier speakers on the subjects of Christian leadership, confidence building, and strategic planning. For the past 16 years, his messages, books, and leadership coaching has helped some of the largest and most prestigious churches in the world to experience spiritual, numerical, and financial growth. Keith is an amazon best-selling author and recognized by other leaders as America’s #1 Confidence Coach.
Biography of Keith Johnson, America’s #1 Confidence Coach
Keith Johnson is known as one of the premier speakers on the subjects of Christian leadership, confidence building, and strategic planning. For the past 16 years, his messages, books, and leadership coaching has helped some of the largest and most prestigious churches in the world to experience spiritual, numerical, and financial growth.
Keith’s journey to becoming recognized by other leaders as America’s #1 Confidence Coach did not start out well. He failed kindergarten; and by the time he was in 5th grade, he could barely read and write and almost failed again
His parents divorced, and his father became an alcoholic, drug addict, and joined a motorcycle club called Satan’s Escorts. His own father introduced him to drugs at the young age of 13; and by 16, his father taught him how to sell drugs for a living. His mother married an alcoholic who was very abusive to the entire family.
Keith experienced a radical encounter with Jesus Christ when he was 22 years of age. He was instantly set free from alcoholism, drugs, and a promiscuous lifestyle.
Keith’s biblically based success and leadership principles have now influenced both the church and secular markets. His newest book, The Confidence Solution—Reinvent Yourself, Explode Your Business, Skyrocket Your Income became a best seller by reaching #21 in Amazon’s motivation and business category. He is a frequent television guest appearing on popular shows and stations such as New York’s PIX 11, Fox Business News, The Tom Sullivan Show, CBS, ABC, and many others. He has been recognized by Women’s World magazine as one of America’s “Ultimate Experts,” which is the most read women’s magazine in the world.
Keith Johnson, PhD, is a dedicated lifelong learner. He earned a Master’s of Christian Leadership and a Doctor of Philosophy in Theology from Christian Life University. He is the founder of Destiny College International, an accredited college specializing in graduate training for pastors and business leaders. He is a certified speaker, trainer, and coach for the John Maxwell team.
Dr. Johnson was jobless at the age of 35, with no money, no perceived opportunities, no influential relationships to help him—and 40 pounds overweight. He had absolutely no confidence for a better future!
Then he discovered the proven biblical strategies for success that changed his life forever. In less than three years he was earning a six-figure income, working for himself, living in the house of his dreams, and traveling around the world.
Today, he has trained over 147,000 Christian leaders, he travels worldwide in response to invitations, and he is the author of five books that share his success secrets.
Read more about Dr. Keith’s Story Here!