Why are people at your church? What causes them to think that your church is, well, their church?
Last time, we looked at PLACE–the first reason people are at your church. The reasons people make a home at a local church are critical to keeping them there. And reason #2 is important to understand as well.
PERSONALITY is the second reason people call your church their home. Here, we are speaking of a leadership personality. Perhaps they really connect with the pastor or the youth pastor has made a large impact on their students. Maybe it’s the worship leader, whose style or sincerity have helped capture their heart. Someone in a visible leadership role has connected, helping the individual develop a loyalty to what that person is leading.
Now, some of us in church leadership get nervous with the whole idea of people feeling attached to us. After all, our real goal is to help people connect with Jesus, and we’d prefer that connection prove to be the strongest. But, there is a natural connection to be made with those who lead us too. As the Apostle Paul said, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” In other words, it’s okay to feel attachment to someone who is going the right direction. And that’s what will happen quite often.
So, pastor is truly becomes “my pastor.” People admire and appreciate their spiritual leader and feel connected to the church because of that leader. And PERSONALITY is an okay reason to connect to a church, until there is a change in leadership. If that youth pastor leaves, or someone is begins leading worship in place of the one I feel so engaged with, well, now I feel disconnected. Church doesn’t feel the same. As with PLACE in our previous discussion, change reveals the inadequacy of my church connection.
Often those most connected to a leader are the ones to struggle most when transition comes. That’s why even the most involved people in the church can have a really difficult time when leadership change occurs, while those more on the edges of the church might now become more connected. When a leader has built significant influence, those that leader’s life have affected most will have the hardest time embracing such change.
Yes, there’s an answer to this challenge and a way that we can minimize the impact of change for our PERSONALITY folks. And, it happens to be the same answer we need when dealing with those attached to our church by PLACE. But we have three more attachments to discuss before we start solving this dilemma so join us next time.