Rules of Engagement


We’ve all heard the real estate mantra: Location, location, location.

We’ve all heard the relationship mantra: Communicate, communicate, communicate.

Have you heard the church health mantra? Engagement, engagement, engagement.

As much as I enjoy reading leadership/church growth books, I’ve become convinced that there is a missing ingredient in the recipe: engagement with our people. Is clarity of vision important? Absolutely. Proper systems in place? Of course. The right people in the right places? No doubt.

But I sense that church leaders are operating on a different plane than the people they are supposed to be reaching. It is increasingly becoming an us vs. them dialogue. Church leaders are devouring leadership books; church growth conferences are standing-room only.

And yet…


When was the last time you took a walk with a senior adult, quietly listening to the wisdom of their years? Allowing them to share their fears of aging. Hearing the heart-breaking narrative of how they lost their spouse of 60 years. Engagement.

When was the last time you sat on the sidewalk with a second-grader and allowed them to tell you every silly riddle they’ve ever learned?  And laughed with them. Engagement.

When was the last time you helped your unchurched neighbor spread some mulch, listening as he shared his struggles with his marriage, or with his work? Engagement.

Leadership principles are exactly that: principles. Contextually, some are more effective than others. Church growth strategies are exactly that: strategies. For you, some will work and some won’t; you are a unique leader in a unique environment.

Engagement always works. No matter who you are. No matter where you are.

So put down the latest and greatest tome from the latest and greatest expert. Walk out of your office, down the hall, and out the door. When your staff asks where you’re going, simply say, “I’m going to get engaged.”

That should give them something to talk about while you’re gone. 

How intentional are you when it comes to engagement?

About pastoroftheprez

Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Kings Mountain, NC.
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