Philip and Holly Wagner have learned much over the last 35 years as founders and pastors of Oasis Church in Los Angeles. A lot of what they have learned they have done the hard way, and they want to pass that on to other members of the ARC (Association of Related Churches).
The Wagners say they are grateful that God entrusted them to co-labour with him to build their church. They weren’t without their bumps and bruises along the way, but they made them stronger.
Here are some of the lessons that ARC church Lead Team Members Philip and Holly Wagner learned in leadership.
Leave the stress behind
Not worrying about what you can’t control is no easy task, but it’s an essential one if you want to leave the stress behind. In the Bible, Corinthians teaches us that you can plant and water, but only God can make things grow. In other words, there are parts of all aspects of life that you won’t be able to control.
Understanding this upfront will help ARC church pastors better deal with the ups and downs of building and leading a church. Prepare and work hard at what you can control, and trust God with the rest.
Feed your own soul
The Wagners explain that all people are three beings – their spirit, body, and soul – and each has a vote. The spirit will always go with God, while the body almost never does. It’s the soul that holds the swing vote.
When the soul is healthy, it votes with God, and when it isn’t, it goes the other way. It’s important, then, for all ARC church members to feed their souls to ensure it’s happy and healthy, as doing so will lead to your entire being going with God.
Not everyone will be around for the entire journey of planting a church with ARC (Association of Related Churches). Some may start out as full participants and then leave over time.
While the Wagners say that it can be highly disappointing and disheartening when people leave any church, especially in the network of ARC churches, attrition is normal. Being good leaders doesn’t mean keeping everyone on the bus forever. It’s about making the most of the time you spend on the bus with them before they get off at their stop.
No doubt, hard moments will come in every pastor’s journey of planting a church with ARC (Association of Related Churches). Much pain can come from loss and even betrayal you may feel along the way.
Just like trees in a forest, weathering storms will build your strength. So, while the storm may be uncomfortable and challenging to get through, know that it will make you stronger in the end.
The Wagners say that the challenges and pain you face leading 100 people will eventually prepare you for the trials of leading 500 in the future. The important thing to keep in mind is that you need to always love others, even in the middle of pain, and not allow yourself to lead from bitterness.
The greatest pain can sometimes produce the greatest lessons.
About ARC (Association of Related Churches)
ARC (Association of Related Churches) is a cooperative of independent churches from different denominations, networks, and backgrounds that strategically resource church planters and pastors to help them reach people with the message of Jesus. ARC exists to see a thriving church in every community, reaching people with the message of Jesus. Since its beginning in 2001, ARC has grown into a global organization and has helped plant more than 1,000 churches.