Ilya Pozin wrote an article entitled “Seven Things Successful People Never Say.” When I read the article I was struck by the fact that these are not only seven things not found in successful people, but these were seven things not found in successful congregations.
1. That’s not in my job description. No one in seminary told me that one day I would be moving chairs and calling a plumber for a broken toilet. You do what you have to do. As Jesus said, “The servant of all.” The most challenging thing that congregates struggle with is being creative and new. You can’t write a job description for creative and new.
2. It can’t be done. If our faith has taught us anything, it is that in God all things are possible. Small churches are small because they choose to be small and large churches are large because they choose to be large. My grandmother used to say, “Where there is a will, there is a way.” She was right. It just takes someone with passion.
3. It’s not my fault. We are all good at pointing the blame. “It was that preacher’s fault.” Church isn’t growing, so it’s the preacher’s fault, when in reality 80% of church growth happens because of the leadership of the laity. When we point the finger, three fingers are always pointing back at us.
4. This will just take a minute. Change takes time. If I have learned anything in ministry, it is about patience. Can I just say, that isn’t my strongest suit. “They that wait upon the Lord,” the Bible says. God’s time just isn’t our timing.
5. I don’t need any help. Ministry is a team effort. Jesus could have done it all by Himself, but He chose twelve men to work with Him. We may very well be able to do it ourselves, but what does that teach the next generation? It is also a lot more fun when we work together.
6. It’s not fair. No, a lot of things that happen aren’t fair. But they happen anyway. We learn from our mistakes and we learn from our failures. As Christians we don’t hold grudges, we forgive. The ones who hurt us the most are the ones we least expect it from.
7. This is the way it’s always been done. This is one of the deadliest sins in the Church. The Church has to be ever changing.