There once was a District Superintendent who got It. He:
- Beat the bushes and found funding for emerging church congregations
- Built an accountability structure that supported and mentored his local pastors and CLMs towards effectiveness
- Taught his elders practical ways to make their congregations healthier
- Developed the language for speaking about evangelism in the particular culture and geography of his district
What happened? His bishop asked him to come on the staff of the conference, where he soon became another casualty of limited funding and intramural politics.
In any enterprise, getting It only gets you halfway. To succeed at local church ministry one needs to develop similar strategies to the above DS. You must:
- Support small groups and the fellowships that imitate first century Christianity
- Train all your members to use their spiritual gifts and be enthusiastic in their church work
- Teach your leaders and staff to prioritize holistic congregational health, rather than their pet project
- Develop a language for evangelism that works in your neighborhood
Once you got It, you must figure out a way to sustain It. This means that you must be spiritually healthy and self-differentiated. You should spend twice as much of your thoughts, your energies, and your prayers, on the concerns of your family than you do on your parish. You must example the humility that made Jesus take a towel and basin and wash the feet of his disciples. Even if you do all these things, you still will one day move on.
Then you must pray the prayer that Dag Hammarskjold taught us:
For all that has been,
For all that is to come,