I recently was given a book written by Don Ross (Team Leader of the Northwest Ministry Network and Coach from Turnaround Church) titled Turnaround Pastor (a truly compelling collection of his personal stories and proven strategies). Some of my favorite quotes can be found on Instagram.
Honestly, I always thought that I would be a turnaround pastor – playing an instrumental part in reviving and redirecting a church back onto a Christ-centered mission. Years ago, I actually set out on my continued educational journey with the intent of writing a thesis centered on such subject matter. It was not until I was two classes away from completion that Jesus grabbed my attention and affection for a church plant in the Tri-Cities instead. That being said, our church holds the conviction that we are disciples who make disciples and a church that plants more churches. I honestly would not be surprised in the least bit if at sometime (and somewhere) down the road that we take part in adopting a declining church and breath fresh air within that particular work. I truly believe that the question is not if we multiply but how. I am fairly certain that our future venues, sites, and plants will arise and flourish under very different means and methods. I am excited as I think of the possibilities of truly going where the people are rather than expecting them to come to us!
My favorite chapter (as it relates to the second part) was the “Turnaround Pastor Profile”. Ross proposes several hard-hitting questions (such as):
- Mission: Do you use your mission statement as both a compass for direction and a filter to know what to say yes and no to (89)?.
- Vision: Do you have a clear picture in your mind of your church’s preferred future? If yes, could you list some of the critical features of that vision 92)?
- Leadership: What situation in your church or life requires you to make a courageous decision (94)?
- Pain: Where do you feel pain in your life and/or ministry (96)?
- Endurance: What are the top three things that steal your ability to endure and persevere (98)?
- Money management: Does your church have any financial conflicts in its past? If so, how will you or how have you dealt with them (100)?
- Facilities: Do your facilities enhance your church’s mission or impeded it? Explain (102).
- Tenure: How long are you willing to give to the church you serve? Will you give three years, five years, ten years or more (104)?
- Peer support: Do [trusted pastors] have permission to ask you the hard questions? Do you have permission to ask them the hard questions (106)?
- God’s word: It if is true that we reproduce after our own kind, then your church will feed on God’s word as you do. How does that make you feel (108)?
- Spirit: What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life? Your church? Your future (110)?
- Prayer: How can I praise God my Father (113)?