Our theme for this year in the Peninsula Baptist Association is “Life on Life” or LOL (not original to me). God has put it into my head as I visit from church to church that many churches are dying because somewhere along the line they stopped training up a new generation of leaders. Of course, the verse I have chosen to accompany this theme is 2 Timothy 2.2. In that verse, Paul encourages his young protege to take what he has learned from Paul and pass it on to reliable people who will in turn pass it on to others.

I firmly believe that the church that takes this approach to leadership development will continue to renew itself indefinitely. The reasons that many churches don’t have any young people are many and complex. But one of the biggest reason is that the church chose not to do anything with the young people when they had them. Oh, they baby sat them, entertained them, preached at them and basically bored them to death. But the leaders failed to take these young people one on one and coach them into leadership roles in the church – and them give them the reins of leadership.The church leaders weren’t willing to let go of the authority or take a risk on a young leader. And now, they look around and the young people are gone.

I learned a long time ago that the best way I can multiply my leadership is to spend real time one on one coaching potential leaders. It is the most important (and most fun) thing I do in ministry. I plan to offer opportunities throughout this year for our people to learn skills in coaching, mentoring, apprenticing, etc. I will be bringing in outsiders as well as providing training myself. It is going to be a great year!


Visionary Pastors

It was very refreshing this morning to worship in a healthy, growing church with a visionary pastor Lynn Hardaway has been a very effective tool in God’s hand to turn this church around and get it moving in a great direction. What I was struck with this morning was the clear vision that Lynn was communicating to his congregation.

Most sermons I hear are directed at individuals (you need to get right, do this, believe that). A visionary pastor, on the other hand, communicates where “God is calling us.” His message is clear, understandable and challenging. It is corporate and personal.

A visionary pastor has won the trust of his people so much so that the vision has an authentic ring to it. It’s not rhetoric or hype. This doesn’t necessarily mean that his whole congregation will immediately jump on board. The vision will need to be cast and recast, and communicated in various ways. Slowly, as small victories are won and momentum is gained, the vision will come to be owned by more and more of the congregation.