Shifts Hurt

Chris Knight - Senior Pastor | Wakarusa Missionary Church, Wakarusa, IN

Most shifts in our lives create stress, opposition or hiccups along the way. Shifting our ministries into a disciple making culture is no different and won’t happen without some measure of adversity. If a church has been operational for more than a year, it has already developed sacred rhythms and sacred cows. Moving away from these rhythms and cows are certain ways to raise the ire of congregants focused on the how of ministry and rather than the why of ministry. Sadly, some of the heartbreak we face in ministry will come from those who are closest to us.

To be clear, I hate conflict. I am a people pleaser by nature. My unspoken mantra is often, “let’s all get along!” However, when we lead our congregations through a necessary shift to better position our churches to make disciples, adversity is something we can count on. The enemy hates our shift towards effectiveness and many of our people hate being called out of their comfort zones into action.

Keep in mind that just because something hurts, does not mean it is not the right thing to do!

One reason our churches remain complacent and content with status quo is because we have become risk or adversity averse. So should we make shifts in the face of adversity?

Here are two quick thoughts:

(1) If the Lord is in it, the shift is worth it. If you have spent time seeking the Lord and wise counsel from wise leaders, then determine the necessary steps to bring your congregation along with you on the journey. There may be push back initially, but trust in the Lord and the shift he has called you to lead and love your people through it. My dad used to tell me, “Chris, don’t doubt in the dark what God has made known in the light.” In essence, when adversity or fear begin to press in, don’t forget what God has called us to do! Just because something is difficult or faces opposition, doesn’t mean God has not called us to it.

(2) When adversity comes our way, don’t waste the pain – grow from it. The Apostle Paul understood adversity. He even told us we can celebrate the adversity that comes in ministry. I find comfort in his words written in Romans 5:3-5. He says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” What we miss in these verses is the reason Paul is able to deal with adversity in ministry. He gives us his reasons in verses 1-2. “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have (or let us have) peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.” Paul is so good at keeping the reader focused on perspective. In essence, Paul is saying these issues are temporary, don’t let them ruin your day!

Pastors, adversity happens. It is to be expected. Don’t create unnecessary pain, but if the Lord is calling us to shift then by all means shift.

We grow as leaders when we choose to love people through change. Our congregations will mature as they find the courage and skills not experienced before. Our communities will change as our churches turn away from the silliness that often consumes us, towards making disciples, who make disciples, who in turn make disciples.

Shifts hurt, but they are worth it!

Chris Knight – Senior Pastor

Wakarusa Missionary Church
Wakarusa, IN