Ask The Experts: Leading Groups in Time of Church Transitions

Ask The Experts: Leading Groups in Time of Church Transitions

Keith Steiner is the Pastor of Community Life Groups at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI

Keith Steiner has served churches in Chicago and suburban Milwaukee. He’s a veteran small group pastor who has faithfully weathered more than one church storm. From moral failures of senior leaders to changing strategies and methodology, he’s seen it all. With a true pastor’s heart, Keith offers wise counsel on how to honor God and serve faithfully in the turbulence.

Every church faces obstacles. However, when a church experiences leadership turnover, scandals, or large shifts in strategies, congregations are often left reeling. You’ve weathered some storms in ministry and faithfully served a congregation facing particular challenges. What is different about this kind of ministry context compared to the run-of-the, typical challenges?

I don’t think it takes too long in church leadership to encounter obstacles. I have led small group ministry in two different local churches. In each setting, we walked through a variety of storms, including lead pastor transitions, staff departures and terminations due to moral failures, ministry strategy upheaval, widespread divisive rumors, etc.

Not all obstacles are bad, or the result of something scandalous. However, many times obstacles have an unsettling effect on you or the people you lead. It is especially painful when the storms in ministry reveal sinful behavior and its effects. Sometimes these obstacles, or storms, came as a surprise, and sometimes there was an awareness building up for what was ahead.

The crises that reveal hidden sin are often full of heartache and anguish. This sort of revelation exposes hurt and anger, as well as the hurts that people in the church have experienced in their own life. Each of these crises needs the shepherding care ...

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