By Michael C. Mack
Elders and other church leaders often sense the need to change, to move out of entrenchment and inaction, but are unsure of what needs to change first. Where can one turn for new ideas and direction? Dr. James Estep, dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at Lincoln (IL) Christian University, listed nine ideas on e2elders.org:
2. Subscribe to Christian leadership magazines, such as the Christian Standard, to glean a broader perspective on church ministry.
3. Read books about ministry, leadership, Bible, theology, etc. Leaders are readers!
4. Conduct a demographic study of your area to better understand the specific needs of your community.
5. Attend conferences together to be encouraged, receive counsel, and hear new ideas. (E2 provides events for elders through the year. See the Events tab at e2elders.org. Also consider attending the North American Christian Convention.)
6. Assess your mission and ministries. Take a hard look: Are you doing what you say you’re doing?
7. Call a consultant. A fresh set of eyes is often beneficial. What you’ve come to accept as “normal” may not be beneficial.
8. Take a class. Check with local Christian colleges. Many offer classes on healthy churches, church administration, and effective leadership.
9. Listen carefully to guests, especially those who visit but don’t return. Don’t be defensive or try to explain. Just listen to understand.