One of the essential characteristics of an effective replanter that the Replant team has identified is what we call a “resourceful generalist.” By that, we mean that, as a replant pastor, you need to be prepared to do whatever needs to be done to see the church come back to health.
You need to possess, or develop, a wide range of skills to meet needs in the church building. Does your church need a new sound system? Do research and see what gadgets and gizmos you need to build an appropriate sound system. Is there a toilet that’s running constantly in the ladies’ restroom? Go to the hardware store, get the parts and fix the innards of a toilet. Your worship leader is going out of town for the weekend? Grab a guitar and lead your people to the throne in worship.
In my five years at my current church, I’ve worn the hats of worship leader, Sunday School teacher, video operator (sometimes while preaching!), ceiling-tile replacer (especially after major roof leaks), webmaster and many others. In the spirit of being a resourceful generalist, you must be ready to put on whatever hat fits the need at the moment.
But, over time, this can be both exhausting and addicting. Exhausting, because in some cases you may be the only person who is available to do things when they need to be done. Addicting, because there can be a certain rush that comes when you are the go-to person whenever there is an issue.
While it is vital, especially in the early days, that a replanting pastor is committed to doing whatever needs to be done, it is of the utmost importance that you don’t allow this to become an always-and-forever arrangement. As soon as possible, you should begin looking for others who can take on some responsibility. I remember the great freedom I felt as I was able to hand off the Sunday school class I taught for almost two years. I loved that class. I felt a great sense of ownership in it. It was, in some ways, very difficult to release that to someone else. But it was also very freeing to know another leader was being raised up in our church.
Even five years in, I’m still the only full-time staff person our church employs. By nature of that position, it means there are things that need to happen that will only get done during the week if I take care of it. But I’m finding more and more things to hand off. We recently appointed a man to serve as the point-person for all building-related issues. That means if there’s an issue with the building, I’ll call him first.
Part of leading a church back to health is getting others on board to serve in various capacities. This may look like raising up greeters and ushers. It may look like raising up men and women who can fix ceiling tiles and leaky toilets. It will mean raising up Sunday School teachers and nursery workers. Don’t buy the lie that a replanter has to be a one-man show for years and years on end.
If you’re new to replanting, commit yourself to two things immediately. First, commit yourself to doing whatever needs to be done and learning whatever skills are necessary to meet needs within the church. Secondly, commit yourself to identifying potential leaders you can train and release to do the work of ministry in those areas, so you can increasingly focus on shepherding your people and proclaiming the Word of God as pastor.
You can read more about what a Resourceful Generalist looks like in this post.
Published February 16, 2021