Churches sure can have their turnover. Regardless of what denomination or religion you may be devoted to, many church leadership structures are designed on results of the moment and on personality rather than a continuation of solid-ground spiritual leadership.
There's not a better chance to grow the church and it's leaders than by planting seeds at all levels, helping them grow and when the time is right, harvest them. Students and children see so much in action and so much of it is by accident. Instead of thinking of them as a demographic that we cater to - how about we think of them as the future, by placing more importance on living a life of high example, gathering them along side to walk the walk with us. There are so many opportunities to see first hand what works and what doesn't work in life, in worship and in leadership of the church. The opportunities of teaching moments are numerous.
Such a technique involves the young at early stages in life. Shepherds then nurture and grow them over the years. The teacher/shepherd can provide opportunities to try, be there to see it through, and to help pick up the pieces when it fails. Shepherding is not just a technique for raising up people in positions but a raising up of teaching and discipleship.
So many churches fall victim to: we're too big to be effective at discipleship like it is demonstrated by Jesus, so we'll try to "shotgun it" to the masses or to those that read about our "opportunities" in our bulletins and worship guides. When we skip crucial discipleship steps, it's too easy for people to "fall" into positions for the wrong reasons and become a victim to temptations that they weren't prepared for.
A generational strategy in worship and church life is the most prevailing thought in my mind these days. I've never heard it more clearily defined, in ideas or philosophy than I did today from Darlene Zschech when listening to a keynote on "Generational Transitions."
It's so common that leaders and ministers of the church rotate in and out, where the congregation stays steady. Is there more turnover in the congregation or in the leadership? Usually its within the leadership. So often "callings" for some involve a better situation, better compensation. Wouldn't it be beautiful if the calling was for the church instead. What I bring up is not a personality-created and maintained church, but one that involves a natural turn over based on the generation passing on the torch from generation to generation.
This is not a unique struggle, just today I had this very conversation with a worship pastor friend who shared that his church's strategy is solely based on programming: events and activities for the generational segments we think are worth investing in. What this friend described can be seen everywhere and we wonder why people are not engaging in church more?
Moses and Joshua were on the same journey together when the torch was passed. Joshua wasn't an outsider who had two-weeks to learn the heritage and culture...