A seasoned pit master will tell you it takes several hours to smoke a beef brisket because of the amount of fat and connective tissue. Done right, the result is tender, pull-apart, savory, smokey goodness with a well defined smoke ring. Any short cut in time can reduce the quality of the meat to leather-like jerky. Patience is required for the desired outcome.
The Way I See It… In a revitalization setting, when trying to change a church culture, a patient leader is a more effective leader. Here are three groups of people that need you to be patient with them.
- Be patient with your parishioners. Only 16% of people are innovators or early adopters of a new direction and typically come around to embrace the new direction within the first year. Another 34% of people are middle adopters and embrace new vision in year two. That means only 50% of the congregation accepts the new direction within the first two years. This is another reason it’s important for a pastor to stick around longer than a couple of years.
- Be patient with baby boomers. Change doesn’t come easy to them. They love the church but struggle when too much changes too fast. Leading them to embrace changes, especially changes to Sunday mornings, will take time.
- Be patient with volunteers. In single or multi staffed churches, the pastor relies heavily on volunteers, both on Sundays and during the week. When a volunteer doesn’t fulfill his/her commitment it’s easy to get frustrated. It’s important to hold them accountable in a loving way and let them know their role is important in the body of Christ. But it’s equally important to show volunteers appreciation. When they know they are appreciated, they are less likely to let you down.
Patience is the fruit of the Spirit and should naturally flow out of a Christ follower that is walking in the Spirit.
So what would you add to the list? Do you have an example of when you were patient? How do you appreciate volunteers?