Rich Birch has been on staff at multiple churches in both Canada and the United States. He currently serves as Executive Director of Camp Mini-Yo-We north of Toronto, Canada. He also writes a blog, hosts a podcast and coaches church leaders around the world. Rich has a heart for leaders, and especially young leaders. Today he talks about his journey in ministry and gives his best advice to young church leaders.
Welcome to episode 3 of the Young Church Leaders Podcast with Grant Vissers!
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Takeaways from the Episode
1. Manage Expectations
As church leaders a big thing we need to do is help people understand what to expect, especially of a Sunday morning. Rich’s challenge to church leaders is simple and yet profound: we need to get better at helping people know what is going on and speak in a language that connects with their reality and their world.
Simple statements like, “we’re going to be here for about an hour,” “if you need lyrics for songs they’ll be on the screen in front of you,” “someone will speak for about 30 minutes, and we’ll be out of here shortly past noon,” go a long way in reducing people’s stress from the outset.
Managing people’s expectations is not just for team members, it’s for everyone.
2. Unreasonable Churches
94% of churches in North America are losing ground in their communities. The communities are growing much faster than the churches. Unreasonable Churches is a look at churches in North America that did something different than the typical name brand churches. The goal is not imitation, the goal is to give church leaders permission. This is incredibly important for young church leaders. Don’t just copy other churches and church leaders, figure out where God might be calling you to be unreasonable and innovative. God has wired you and your team for a specific purpose in your community, your job is to figure out what that purpose is.
3. Advice for Young Church Leaders
Expose yourself to other leaders; both inside and outside the church. Innovation and trying something unreasonable is about pursuing what is on the fringe. What is working elsewhere that could work here? For example: Facebook Live. It has never been easier to include video in your weekly message delivery and podcasts than ever before. What are some of the innovative things that could change your church’s impact?
Avoid legacy thinking. Don’t get too tied down to the way you do things today simply because you raised money for it yesterday.
Young church leaders have the opportunity to fearlessly try new things. So be fearless.
4. The Grass is Not Always Greener
The grass is not always greener on the other side, it is green where you water it. The simple fact is that most of the leaders with tremendous impact have been in their communities for long periods of time. The temptation as a young church leader might to think that you have to have high impact now, and if not, think that you might have better impact somewhere else. The truth is that impact requires trust and trust requires time. Invest in the relationships and community you find yourself in.
5. Build Rhythm
Often times leaders can become really focused on what we do, and forget who we are and who we are becoming. One thing I loved about this interview is that Rich made it clear, we must remember that our relationship with God is not dependent on what we do, it’s dependent on who God is. Building rhythm into everyday life helps maintain energy, but not only energy, spiritual health and your relationship with God. A healthy rhythm including; rest, exercise, personal time with Jesus, family life, and work all help remind us to not give one area undo time and energy.
our relationship with God is not dependent on what we do, it’s dependent on who God is
Quotes from this episode
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Join us next time on the Young Church Leaders Podcast with Grant Vissers. In episode four with Micaiah and Brian Tanck, we talk about finding Sabbath rest as a pastor, navigating significant life change in the midst of ministry and what it looks like to co-pastor together with your spouse!