Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Figuring Out How To Figure Things Out

  • Jim Townsley
  • Nov 3, 2015
Starting and pastoring a church comes with many challenges that will test the fortitude of any pastor, therefore he must be well equipped for these difficulties. How can a young preacher know what to do when he faces one of these problems? The preacher must learn how to figure out what to do. While growing up on the farm I was taught how to figure things out when something broke down or something didn't work.  When you couldn't call someone to fix a problem you just had to figure out how to fix it yourself. I have found this skill extremely valuable in the ministry. The ministry presents many situations where we just don't know what to do and rather than quit we just have to figure out how to solve the problem. There are many problems a new church planter will face, but I have listed a few of the ones that I believe are most prominent.
Finding a suitable meeting place can be a huge challenge. In a small community the options may be very limited and in a large city the cost may be prohibitive. Often the choice of a meeting place means you must choose the place that has the fewest drawbacks. Your meeting place will seldom have everything you desire. Sometimes there is no choice because only one place is available. One way to help find the best place to meet is by asking a supporting pastor or a local pastor to help survey the area. He can be very helpful and sometimes he will suggest things you had not considered. God can work in an unusual way in direct answer to prayer.  Learn to seek God above all else, He is the one who can provide the right place.
What do you do when there isn't enough money to pay the bills? Almost every preacher has faced this problem. Fundamental churches do not store their money in the bank, but rather use it for ministry. Sometimes there just isn't enough money to do what needs to be done. The biggest budget item in a new church is the pastor's salary, therefore it will be a temptation to reduce or exclude it. In a new church when there isn't enough money to pay the pastor's salary there are three choices that can be made. 1. The pastor can get a job to provide his salary. 2. The pastor can go out and try to raise more support. 3. The pastor can go to the church and explain the financial dilemma and ask them if they can do more which would enable the pastor to be full time and not work outside of the ministry. I believe it would be a mistake to turn down the preacher's salary and keep track of what the church owes him. I have observed too many unintended consequences from this. It is best to either pay the salary or to not pay the pastor's salary.
            What do you do when the church is not growing? The most important task when the church is not growing is to do more visiting. Many hours of visitation must be a priority. Secondly, you must train others and challenge others through the sermons to be soul-winners. Having special days is another means to reach new people. Dr. Lee Roberson often stated, "Everything rises and falls on leadership." You are the key to make the church grow and you must accept that responsibility.
How do you deal with gossip and division? It is difficult to reach people and after all that hard work you can lose them through gossip and false teaching. Every preacher wants to think the best of everyone, however it is important to keep an eye out for those that sow division. THEY WILL COME! Avoiding gossip and/or division will only allow the situation to get worse. As soon as it is detected it must be dealt with lovingly, quickly, and firmly. Better to lose one or two families than to lose half the church.
How do you help dysfunctional families? As our culture evolves into a more humanistic society the family unit is filled with more problems. Drugs, alcohol, and crime are certainly more rampant, but personal struggles with emotional issues are on the rise. The medical answer is more drugs, but God has the real answer and that is to trust Him and live for Him. Direct them to the Bible. The truth is that people need to read their Bible, be faithful in church, and avoid worldliness. If they are serious about getting help they must recognize God is the answer.  If they are not willing to be obedient in the simple things they will not respond if you teach them deeper things.
There will always be something new that you have never faced. Just remember, you must figure out how to figure it out.