The unique skill set of revitalization pastors

The unique skill set of revitalization pastors

Keith Doornbos Fresh Ideas 1 Comment

The skills of established church pastors and church planting pastors are distinct.  Established church pastors have skill sets that lean towards pastoral ministry while entrepreneurial skills are of greater importance to church planters.  The skills set of revitalization pastors, however, reflect a unique blend of talents from both established church pastors and church planters.

Here are three skill sets from each.

Revitalization skills from established church pastors:

Skill 1: Quality Preaching

Like established church pastors, revitalization pastors preach high-impact, Gospel-centered, biblical, Christ-focused and interesting sermons week after week.  Preaching is the bread and butter of their ministry.

Skill 2: Organizational Navigation

Like established church pastors, revitalization pastors get things done through a maze of complex volunteer led systems and structures.  Patience, persistence and good timing are required.

Skill 3: Intergenerational Ministry

Like established church pastors, revitalization pastors are skilled at walking with people through a multiplicity of life circumstances and challenges cradle to grave.  They must love the young and old alike.

Revitalization skills from new church planters:

Skill 1: Casting a compelling vision

Like church planters, revitalization pastors are skilled at casting a clear and compelling vision for where the church is headed and why others should be part of this amazing journey

Skill 2: Neighbor-focused

Like church planters, revitalization pastors live beyond the walls of the church making connections with people and organizations in the community in order to love those who are on a journey to God.

Skill 3: Persistently adaptive and creative

Like church planters, revitalization pastors regularly introduce creative change into ministry for the purpose of increasing Gospel impact. These pastors like to ask “What would happen if…?”

These are just a few of the skills that revitalization pastors must possess.  Turn-around pastors are a unique breed of leaders. They have the capacity to work within existing structures while never being limited by those structures.  They celebrate the past but never let a community get stuck in the past.  They love people but are also willing to disappoint those people in pursuit of a God-preferred future.  They bring comfort while demanding courage simultaneously. Hats off to these kinds of leaders who skillfully guide congregations towards their God-preferred future.

Comments 1

  1. Hi Keith, this is Pete VanderBeek commenting. I am a Specialized Transitional Minister (STM) who enjoys reading the posts here. My wife forwards them to me. She is in a Renewal Lab team, and I have seen much good come out of the process. The posts are relevant to the work I do in churches, sometimes even getting reposted to the congregation I am currently in.
    This week I have a slight caution or quibble with one point you make, namely “Skill 1: Casting a compelling vision – Like church planters, revitalization pastors are skilled at casting a clear and compelling vision for where the church is headed and why others should be part of this amazing journey.”
    If I tilt my head a bit I can read it to mean what I hope it to, but I catch on the word “Cast.” Whereas founding planters can indeed shape the vision of the congregation, sociologically that does not easily continue into the next pastorate. Likewise for established churches that are revitalizing. My problem is that the expectation that “‘the new minister’ will bring us a vision” has created a lot of work for STMs. There are many stories of how that view is a setup. Pastors get sucked into bringing a vision and then are frustrated at resistance and lack of ownership of it. Over time and experience I have come to see the value of working with a congregation to identify “their” vision and only then beginning to think about what kind of pastor can help them work towards it. So my catch is that the Pastor should be on board with the vision, and re-cast it to the congregation, but only in exceptional cases does the Pastor do the original casting.
    One last thing, the pattern I’m talking about conforms better with Reformed Ecclesiology as “council run” church, not Pastor run. Those who know me are now chuckling to have read Pete VanderBeek pointing to a traditional way of doing things being good.

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