Reflections On The Top 100 Meeting

I got back Wednesday night from the meeting of the pastors of the 100 largest United Methodist Churches in the country. Monday’s post described the meeting and its leadership.

Some highlights:

  • The leadership team gave a call to large church pastors to take the lead in launching new churches. The best way for Methodists to grow is to start new congregations (like Good Shepherd was not so long ago), either by establishing satellite campuses, “adopting” struggling churches in the same vicinity, or even starting a “church-within-a-church” — a gathering that targets a different language group or age demographic than the main worshipping body. Large churches have the resources and the organizational DNA to give birth to new congregations.
  • The leadership team gave a second call to us: take the lead in raising up the next generation of pastoral leaders. This means that we look within our churches at teens, college students, and young adults for people who may well have the call to full time ministry — and that we help guide them through the process to get there. It’s an area to which I have not given much thought through the years.
  • Staffing issues dominated much conversation. Most pastors at the meeting struggle with finding and keeping the right team members for the church.
  • We had some conversation about how large churches might leverage their influence to move the entire denomination towards health. No real consensus emerged . . . yet.
  • The line that convicted me: one pastor told us that he stepped into more of God’s blessing when he moved from being driven to become a successful pastor to having a passion to be a spiritual leader. Ouch. Successful pastor vs. spiritual leader. I know which one I should aspire to be.
  • The group will re-convene next year. I’ll again be honored to go.