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I recently heard Dave Travis give a talk to church planting pastors entitled, “10 Things You Should Know (But You Probably Don’t).” I enjoy Dave as a friend and as the CEO of Leadership Network. He always has great insights. Most of his points had a relational component:

  • Dave led with the comment that illicit sex will bring down your ministry, but far more ministries have been destroyed by the pastor being one or more of three As: Arrogance, Anger, Donkey (think King James version).
  • It’s not your preaching that builds the church, but rather your winsomeness (do people like you?).
  • Remember to say “Thank you” to your staff, both paid and volunteer. The relationship means more to them than their paycheck.
  • Relationships are more important to church growth than media and music — friends tell friends (and people from large churches are three times as likely to tell their friends).
  • But the one that I have continued to bounce around in my mind is “Pastor the church that you’d want to attend.”

The changes that are taking place locally and globally are nothing short of seismic, and the church finds herself in the midst of them. Some pastors trained and entered the ministry for a role entirely different than the one they find themselves in today. A pastor once told me, “I got into ministry because it was a calling, but it’s become a job. I want it to be a calling again.”

The good news is that you can lead your church through the adaptive changes necessary to become the church you’d want to attend. You are capable of making the changes needed to develop necessary leadership capacities.

I don’t think there’s ever been a more important time in history for the U.S. church, because it is a historical “hinge” time that charts the course for the future. These are difficult but exciting days that are calling us to new work of God!

Bill Couchenour has a fervent desire to help ministries improve their effectiveness at connecting their communities with Christ. He has served as President of Cogun, a company committed exclusively to helping churches develop the right ministry space, since 1994. From 1982 to 1994 he launched the Florida District of Cogun and served as District Manager. Bill has a business degree from Youngstown State University, an MBA from The University of Tampa. 

He has served in various capacities for his local church and other organizations including Youth for Christ, Heartland Christian School and BeTheChangeProject. Bill is the author of the book Churches... Before You Build.

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Talk about it...

David Buffaloe

commented on Jan 31, 2013

Interesting points

Keith B

commented on Jan 31, 2013

I'm in my first year as a pastor. When I was in school, a co-worker in my computer job told me that my ability to teach deep theology was less important than my ability to relate to people. The longer I'm here...the more I'm beginning to realize that. Yes--I need to exegete the word accurately...but they also want a pastor they can know, trust, and that loves them.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Jan 31, 2013

The last paragraph of Bill's essay seems to me ambiguous ; and how does Bill know these things ; and do you understand what Bill is saying ?. As for the other sentences , I like some of the ideas . But is Bill saying the minister/preacher has to be an entertainer and showbuisy effusive ?.

Keith B

commented on Jan 31, 2013

Not sure I see that he's advocating just putting on a good show (if he is I vehemently disagree with him). I htink he's suggesting that people need a relationship with their pastor...to be discipled...as well as just given a sermon every week.

Bill Williams

commented on Jan 31, 2013

@Michael, I agree with kb. I don't know where you got the idea that the author was suggesting that the minister has to be an entertainer. In fact, he suggests the opposite when he writes that relationships are more important to church growth than media and music. The emphasis is clearly on the relational aspect of the pastoral ministry, which is a solidly biblical idea.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Jan 31, 2013

Another Bill .This time Williams says he doesn't know how I got the idea the other Bill MAY have been suggesting the minister ought to be an entertainer . Perhaps it was his downplay of preaching in favor of being 'winsome '? . Winsome is 'blithe ,bonny,buoyant debonair lighthearted merry etc etc . Perhaps full of christian love may have been better ?.

Mh Constantine

commented on Jan 31, 2013

I remember reading something by Eugene Peterson concerning the pastoral calling. He realized that he could not be all things: administrator, professional counselor, etc. His call was to pastor: feed, care, discipline, love, guard. I rejoie in that limitation, too. Althought I am serving internationally, I am principally pastoral. The need for that never goes away.

Jeff Combs

commented on Feb 1, 2013

I have learned in my 13 short years in ministry to remember three R's - relationships, relationships, relationships. When I am forgetful of the power and importance relationship has in ministry, my ministry suffers. Great article and I believe the reason so many pastors are unhappy where they serve is that they would outside of their minsitry would never dream of attending the churches they lead. I am not a church planter, so I have always worked hard to help the churches I lead become like a church I would want to attend outside of ministry.

Bill Williams

commented on Feb 1, 2013

@Michael, well, I guess it depends on how you define winsome. Merriam-Webster defines it as: "Generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence." The second part of that definition certainly has strong biblical endorsement. Here's the definition from Oxford: "Attractive or appealing in a fresh, innocent way." I don't know where you got your definition from, although it kind of sounds like what you are quoting is a actually a list of synonyms, which is not the same thing as a formal definition. Forgive me, but I'm an English teacher. Words mean things. You can't just pick out a word, read your own meaning into it, and then attribute that to what the author intended to communicate. Especially when the meaning you have read into the word does not fit in with the overall context of the article. Again, it is clear that the author is speaking about the relational aspect of pastoral leadership. Granted, perhaps if he had written "full of Christian love," it would've been clearer to you. But I feel that using the term "winsome" in its context was appropriate enough. And I don't think he's "downplaying" preaching, but I do think that the relationship a pastor has with those he leads has a much greater overall influence in the growth of a church than the preaching itself.

Michael James Monaghan

commented on Feb 1, 2013

Thanks Bill W for your explanation and defense of 'winsome ' I ought defer to you as an 'English teacher ' . I looked in a Websters Thesaurus so 'synonyms ' . In a debate you 'win some' or you lose some . :) God Bless .

John E Miller

commented on Feb 4, 2013

"What is desirable in a man is his kindness" (NASB) "The charm of a man is his kindness" (Darby) Proverbs 19:22

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