Every Church Is A Challenge

I often hear pastors talk about the challenge of this church or that church.  Some churches even get a reputation for being a big challenge. Some church leaders feel like they are constantly being sent to churches that are a “challenge” or that their ministry has been one of going into churches to help turn them around.  Truth be told, every church is a challenge.

I picked up a great little book written by Rev. David F. Cripps who was a pastor in the Southern Georgia Conference from 1936 – 1980’s. The book detailed out his thoughts about the various churches he served and what he learned in the midst of his ministry.

One theme for him was that a pastor ought to be immersed in his current church. A pastor should deeply think about and study the church to see what would help it most, then contribute something to it that will have a lasting effect.

This won’t be the same for every church.

Your current church may be a challenge, but you are committed, until God calls you elsewhere. Your attitude must be: “This is my church, my people and it’s right place for me right now.”  You will do more here if you are fully invested, not looking to what’s next. God will take care of the future.

The first thing a leader needs to do is pinpoint where the church is. Determine if what you are dealing with are problems or obstacles.

There are no easy answers to these six challenges listed below, but we strive to grow in them. Often, frustration and chaos is catalyst for change.  


Challenging People

Every pastor and ministry leader can tell stories of challenging people with whom they have dealt. It’s not easy being a pastor. You must exemplify kindness and patience as you are working with your teams, leaders, members and community. Often, one great way to get through the issue of long term church members who are causing some issues (usually around changes) is to work hard at bringing in new people. Bringing in new people is a way of reminding people of the mission and it helps smooth out petty issues. If you are dealing with paid ministry staff leaders, you must act clearly and decisively. Be sure they know the goal and invite them to improve. If it can’t be done, you must make a change.

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Jesus Relied On People And You Should Too

People Cannot Be Organized, But Work Can Be

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Challenging Finances

Ministry opportunities almost always surpass enough resources. In short, churches will always be living in a manna state – enough for today. God’s economy is something we can’t understand. Finances are tied to the heart of the church.  Is there vision and health in the church?  Are members growing in faith and stewardship?  Leaders must model a tithe, be a good steward of the money, and trust in God’s provision for the vision.

Ministry of Fundraising

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The Gift of Resourcefulness (and why it should matter to church leaders)

The Reason Christians Should Tithe

Challenging Attitudes

One of the difficult things to overcome is attitude of a congregation. It takes time. It requires a change in language. It involves leadership in small groups and in large groups. The leader must not let the attitude of the church become his or her attitude. One of the best ways to begin to help change the attitude of the congregation is through opportunities for service to the community. An ingrown church will have overall attitude problems. Help get your people looking up and looking out.

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30 Inspirational Quotes To Share With Your Ministry Teams

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Challenging Building Constraints

Building constraints can be a definite challenge. If it’s not too small, too large, too old, too outdated, too landlocked, then it’s probably too expensive. The building challenge can be overwhelming and often very easy to overlook, because after about four weeks, regulars look past what’s wrong. In our culture, more than ever, guests want a clean, attractive, nice place with great restrooms and quality childcare areas. Some may say we’re feeding consumerism when we focus on buildings. But in reality, we are helping to open doors and decrease hindrances. Excellence is defined as doing the very best with what you have.

What Does Your Church Building Say About God?

7 Ways To Overcome Church Building Constraints

5 Little Known Guest Service Training Tips For Any Church

Is Your Church at a Growth Barrier? Ask This Simple Question.

Challenging Perceptions

The perception of the congregation is difficult to overcome. They may think of themselves as a small church that can’t compete. They may think of themselves as a poor church. They may have had a string of pastors in the last ten years. They may feel like a dying church. The list can go on. Help them change their perception by changing their story. Remind the church of their purpose. Help the community get a different perception by doing some small things that attract attention – outside work around the building, fliers, personal invitations, community events. You can change the perception of your church – without costing much money!  How do you want the church to be known?

Mindset: A Larger Obstacle Than Money

Combat Institutional Paralysis With Creativity

11 Indications Your Church Has Shifted From Battleship to Cruise ship.

9 Indications Your Church Is In Trouble 

Seven ways to shine in the community

Does Your Community Know About Your Church? (25 Ideas To Make It Happen)

Challenging Staff

Most pastors don’t get into ministry clamoring to give oversight to staff teams, dealing with expectations, HR concerns or hiring and firing. Additionally, lines are blurred in most church staff roles.  A few people wear many hats. Clarity of job focus can blur after a while. But one key challenge that pastors must figure out is how to effectively lead their staff team members (whether it’s a large number of team members or just one or two).  Determine the systems that allow for the needed time to meet with and help move the team forward in serving together.  You want to be working through your ministry staff.  Sit down with your team in planned times to work on your ministry, not just in it.  And be sure to help your church staff grow through training, conferences, articles and webinars.

How To Get Outstanding Performance From Your Church Staff

Pastors: Why You Should Talk About Leadership At Every Staff Meeting

10 Characteristics of Church Staff

8 Ways The Church Can Influence The Church Staff

The ABC’s Of A High Performance Church Staff

Four Crucial Attributes For Your Church Staff And Leaders


Some good news

A challenge is often just what we need to be motivated to work hard. Just as every church may be a challenge, every church has potential. Each church is equipped with the right people for this time and season to do something significant in the Kingdom of God. What potential do you see in your church?

As you are growing personally, you will be helping our church grow. When the leader gets better, the church will too.  That’s good news because you do have control over yourself – though some may say, you’re the biggest challenge of all!  Take some action steps: commit to a Sabbath, start some healthy habits, pray intentionally and often, wake up early and work hard, and be in accountable community with other leaders.

I write with church leaders in mind and I would be honored to have you join me by subscribing to the blog. You can take a look at the top posts here. The posts are categorized: pastors, worship leaders, student ministry and kids ministry. In case we’re just meeting, here’s little about my life.




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The ABC’s Of A High Performance Church Staff

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