Second, raise the quality of associational meetings so that they are on a par with the conferences and events at the larger churches. If there is a big quality gap between what the association does and what the larger churches do, you will have a hard time bridging the divide with those larger church pastors. For example, enlist your best associational Music Ministers to lead worship at annual meetings and conferences, not someone just because they want the position, or because they have served in that role for years.
Third, establish and build relationships with the pastors of larger churches as much as possible – as with all pastors. If you have a prayer list, and you honestly pray regularly for each pastor and church, let your pastors know that. You will be surprised at how appreciative they are.
Fourth, if a large church pastor is keeping you at arms-length (and even if he is not), seek to build relationships with associationally-minded staff and/or key lay ministry leaders such as the WMU, Women’s Ministry, or Men’s Ministry Leader. I have found that many staff at larger churches came from smaller churches, so they have a heart for the smaller church. Invite these staff and/or key lay leaders to serve on the association’s standing ministry teams.
Fifth, ask your larger churches to host your biggest and/or most important events. The credibility and perception of quality that the larger church has tends to carry over to associational events – especially if the previous quality has not been so good and you need to raise the bar. Plus, by hosting key events, it connects the pastor/staff/church with the association in a tangible way – even if the pastor never attends associational events otherwise. You are sowing good seed with that pastor and church that will bear fruit later.
Sixth, intentionally sprinkle larger church pastors/staff/key lay leaders as members of associational teams to help the teams realize the expectations, quality, and resources of the larger churches. For example, your Personnel Team and Finance Team need at least one member from larger churches. They often have expertise that would be lacking without them as part of the team.
Last, be friends with as many of your pastors as possible on Facebook - but especially with the pastors of larger churches. This will enable you to keep up with them and to be able to pray for them better because you will know what is going on with them and their churches. Through Facebook I sometimes find out about special church events that I would not know about otherwise.
Your brother in Christ,
Quotable Quote: If you focus on the things you can’t do or problems you can’t solve right now, you will get frustrated and discouraged. You may even consider resigning before it’s time.
- Improve the things you can improve.
- Solve the problems you can solve.
- Help the people you can help.
But the remedy to the stress that results from feeling like things are out of control is to focus on the forward-moving things you can do.
Dan Reiland’s blog, 12.7.20, How to Lead When Life Seems Out of Control