“Don’t ignore your family for the applause of people.”
We asked pastors of some of the nation’s largest churches to share their thoughts on church growth, discipleship, outreach and faithful ministry.
Robert Riedy, Senior Pastor
Church of the Open Door
Our church grew, in part, because we sought to pay attention to church health issues. In 2006, the church hadn’t grown for 30 years. We began to root out weeds and disease that were causing the church not to thrive. When the church got healthy again, it began to grow and has quadrupled in attendance since then. We also worked on making sure our staff and lay leaders were aligned, not just biblically, but also with our DNA and values.
Due to our growth, we were planning to relocate and invest in a new facility. When another church approached us to merge, we were challenged to think about multisite. It wasn’t on our radar at all, but God led us to start our East York Campus with 200 people. A few years later it has 550 worshipers.
If you’re going to be in spiritual leadership, there will be some pain. But if you are putting into place emotional and spiritual healthy practices, by God’s grace that pain will translate into growth.
The kudos of people means a lot and is appreciated, but you can’t live for or by them. Don’t dwell on them, be motivated by them or live for them. Don’t ignore your family for the applause of people. When you leave a church, your family goes with you.
Something that has really helped me is taking July off from preaching and administration to read, reflect, go on vacation, study and envision the future. I’ve been challenged by Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Leadership to pursue emotional health by taking a weekly sabbath. I also take a day each month to get away and read, journal and reflect. These practices have helped me stay healthy and be committed to lifelong learning.
It’s very important that the church not take sides in the polarization of politics. We’re called to minister to liberals and conservatives alike. As a church we’ve sought to minister to the practical needs of our city through our #forYork initiatives. Personally, I’m involved in a group of pastors and police chiefs that meets regularly to listen to each other, support each other, learn from each other and speak to our community. It’s been a very healing endeavor.