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Welcome to this week’s episode of the unSeminary podcast. We’re talking with Renaut van der Riet from Mosaic Church in the Orlando, Florida area. Passionate about making the gospel beautiful however they can, Mosaic is continually pursuing how they can serve each other and how they can serve their community. This heart has led to tremendous growth in seasons, which also has exposed areas where the church needs to work on its health.
As church leaders, we run into trouble when we become obsessed with measuring the health of our churches by the size of our churches, as our culture pressures us to do. But fruitfulness is the biblical measurement for what indicates health. Listen in as Renaut shares how to stay healthy as a leader and a church while you are growing.
- Stop growth for the sake of health. // Stopping growth momentum or slowing it down for a season can be a huge fear for churches. We may feel that we have to keep it going no matter what, even if it’s negatively affecting the broader health of the church and staff. Ultimately, growth without health will not be sustainable. Many large churches will grow and grow and grow only to then crash and burn, or have a major staff turnover. During one of Mosaic’s growth spurts where they doubled in size in a season, they found their DNA became diluted and they needed to pull back to work on their health and culture.
- Regular commitment to exposure. // When the pace of growth is going fast, things can look great in public so we assume that it is also going well behind the scenes. The reality is, when things are growing fast some things will fall through the cracks or not get the attention they need. That eventually erodes health without our even noticing it. Combat this drift by having regular evaluations of both your leadership and infrastructure so you can bring issues into the light and address them before they get out of control.
- Show your truth. // Secrets and shadows should be our greatest fear as ministry leaders. Just as we need to bring issues in our ministry into the light, we need to be honest about the state of our souls. As Renaut notes, the sooner we share our deficits, the sooner we’re free because then there’s nothing for people to find out! Whether you’re on stage in front of your church, or working with your staff, be honest about your shortcomings. Pastors’ lives are as messy and imperfect as anyone else’s. Let in the light on your life to protect yourself from making really big mistakes down the road.
- More fruitful, more health. // The bible doesn’t say: the bigger the church, the healthier the church. Rather fruitfulness is an indicator of health. We have created this belief that if you pastor a big church, you are a better leader. But that’s simply not true. Leading a church is a bit like gardening where each of us are given a plant to care for, and each individual plant is very different from other kinds. Each plant has unique challenges in its care and also gifts to offer. Be thankful that each different church can learn from each other and has something different to contribute to God’s mission.
- Cultivate healthy intimacy. // As church leaders, if we become obsessed with our positions, then church becomes an idol. As a result we won’t want our souls to be exposed to the light and an obsession with growth will override our church’s health, eventually causing things to fall flat. When church leaders fail, we see that intimacy with God, their spouse and biblical community has been eroded over time. It’s important to learn how to continually cultivate these areas of intimacy to stay in the light.
- Find What is Missing. // To help with these challenges, Jimmy Dodd of PastorServe and Renaut authored a book, “What Great Ministry Leaders Get Right: Six Core Competencies You Need to Succeed in Your Calling“. The book teaches church leaders how to care for their own souls well, how to care for their families well, how to not make the church an idol in their life, and how to cultivate good friendships, encouraging healthy relational intimacy. For years this material has been taught at Mosaic Church to their interns, volunteers, staff, and ministry leaders in order to cultivate health in the church as it grows.
You can learn more about Mosaic Church at thisismosaic.org.
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Thank You to This Episode’s Sponsor: Carey Nieuwhof
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