Resourceful generalist: a person who can speak into many various realms of church life with a level of understanding.
What is a resourceful generalist?
As has often been said, replanting is similar to planting in a number of ways. One way these two relate well is in an area we call “resourceful generalist.” In this series of posts, I hope to unpack what that characteristic looks like, share a few of the ways I and others have developed this skill set and relay some of the lessons I have learned.
To begin with, let’s define our terms. In the area of replanting or revitalizing a church, a resourceful generalist is a person who can speak into many various realms of church life with a level of understanding. For instance, in any given week I have to deal with areas of human resources, web design, marketing, design, guest relations, finance and leadership development, as well as preaching, spiritual counseling and other typical pastoral duties. For most men, this can be quite taxing emotionally and mentally. The replanter will be aware of this need and seek to develop the skills needed to walk in this role.
Some hope on the horizon
The great thing about this particular habit or practice is that in many cases it is a temporary role. As the church ages and develops, you ideally will have trained and godly people to turn many of these responsibilities over to. One example may be that of managing a website. In our culture, an active and updated website is very important. At first, this may fall on the replanting pastor to walk through the process of strategy, design, implementation and upkeep. As your church matures, you will hopefully be able to identify another volunteer or group of volunteers to shoulder this burden for you.
Our greatest strength is our weakness
Keep this in mind: In many cases those of us who thrive in a high-stress, multi-directional environment often are the most significant barrier holding the church back.
Let me explain. At first the small and weak church needs vision and clear direction on many fronts. This we can do. We are able to lead the various aspects of the collective ministry forward. However the time comes in every leader’s life in which he cannot personally lead some of the fronts. He needs to turn those over. In some cases, unfortunately, the pastor will not. He has read and believed his own press clippings and is convinced he is the only hope for forward progress. At this point the church will stall and grow weak in the areas where the pastor is not truly gifted or knowledgeable.
So as a precaution, make sure you understand: Handing over the reins to nearly every facet of the ministry not directly related to your specific skill set is a win. For me, preaching and design are my true giftings. This means that, over time, I have had to give up nearly everything else I could, when I could, for the good of the church. When I first came to my church, web design and upkeep was needed and I did what I could. Now that we have a great volunteer (my man David!) to oversee that, it is far better. Don’t let your short-term need become a long-term weakness.
Next installment: Becoming a Resourceful Generalist
Published November 17, 2023