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Leadership Crisis

In the case where the pastor is not leaving, but the church is on the verge of a split, for whatever reason, outside help is needed. I highly recommend a skilled consultant, or team of consultants with a good reputation be retained to help you get through the difficult waters. If you are part of a denomination, perhaps a denominational leader can step in to help.

Don’t make any major changes, but do go after “quick” wins.

This is similar to the earlier thought that crisis is the wrong time to develop a new ministry or invest in long term program design. It is the wrong time for major changes in existing ministry programs. The congregation is already polarized, a ministry shift of any magnitude would likely add fuel to the fire.

Crisis is the wrong time to develop a new ministry or invest in long term program design.

It is smart, however, to set your sails toward a quick win. This is different than something connected to an established ministry or launching a new ministry. A “quick win” is an all church effort to give yourselves away in a clearly New Testament endeavor. This kind of “outside” activity resonates with God’s heart and will draw the people together. A good example would be a ministry of compassion. There are many to choose from. For example, you could get involved in a food drive for the hungry, or a building project with habitat for humanity, or perhaps a special weekend for single moms and their kids. The key is actually getting involved, not just writing a check. These quick wins are short term, high impact, and close to God’s heart. The congregation begins to feel better about who they are, and starts to remember what is really important.

Communicate hope.

Image: Jametlene Reskp

The pastor (interim or not) and church board must deliver a clear message of hope to the people. This will help strengthen the church while you are in a short season without clear direction and long-term vision. You do have vision, but as stated it’s more toward unity, maturity, and community. This healing is critical, but you can’t sustain a church for long this way. Direction and forward-moving vision will be needed. Let the people know that it’s coming. It’s God’s church and He didn’t bring them this far to leave them in the desert! Speak often of God’s love, grace and power. Tell stories of previous successes. Tell about progress being made and invite them often to prayer with each other.

I trust that the words of this article will encouragement you and add value to you and your church if you are in a difficult situation.

From INJOY’s The Pastor’s Coach Volume 9, Issue 8. This article is used by permission from Dr. Dan Reiland’s free monthly e-newsletter The Pastor’s Coach available at

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Category: Ministry, Spring 2019

About the Author: Dan Reiland is executive pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He is the author of Amplified Leadership: 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime (Charisma House, 2012), Shoulder To Shoulder Strengthening Your Church By Supporting Your Pastor (Thomas Nelson, 1997), and From a Father's Heart: Letters of Encouragement to Children and Grandchildren (Thomas Nelson, 1999). Twitter: @DanReiland

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