Why Recentered Group?
A few weeks ago, I was talking to two awesome men who share a deep concern for the Christian community in their city. We were on a zoom call when I realized there was something they wanted to ask me. I asked them how I could help them best when one of these friends asked, “Ed, those statistics you sent us in your last Recentered Newsletter (you can subscribe to that Newsletter here). I’m wondering if a few pastors I’m close to are feeling this way.”
I probably should bring you up to our big news. Last Sunday evening Judy and I were officially recognized as missionaries from our beloved Church of the Open Door. It’s pretty exciting to be the first former Lead Pastor to be sent out as actual missionaries during our over 100-year history. Our mission is to pursue our vision for Recentered Group full-time — helping churches get healthy and thrive.
This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.
What started off as a consulting service (and there will still be some of that), has become primarily a mission endeavor. The reason for that is that the churches that need me the most are often out of options financially, so we’re beginning to build a support base so the we can help hurting and wounded pastors, leaders, and churches not only here in the US, but worldwide.
Well, back to my statistics. They’re staggering, and I thank my friend Kevin Butcher for sending me this study by the Fuller Institute of Church Growth. Concerning Pastors, this is what they found:
· 90% say they are lonely and 78% say they have no close friends
· 80% believe that pastoral ministry has negatively impacted their families
· 90% report they feel inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
· 70% constantly fight some form of depression
· 50% say they want to quit the ministry but have no other way to make a living
· 50% won’t last 5 years – and only 1 in 10 will retire in some form of ministry.
I asked this dear man to simply ask these pastors he loves if any of these are true of them.
The results? 100% said that every sad category resonated with them. A few of these men are in the prime of their pastoral life having the most impact they will ever have, but they’re so discouraged they admitted they didn’t know if they could last much longer.
The exciting result is that we’re in the middle of putting together an extended time when I can encourage these pastors, their staff, and elders, and maybe even love them toward trusting God and one another enough to concentrate on Jesus’ two priorities — making disciples and loving one another.
Here’s a tough lesson I’ve learned.
Most church leaders won’t know how tired and wounded they are until they’re ready to throw their hands up and quit. Everybody’s journey is different and everybody is wired differently, so programs and quick fixes are virtually useless. What each needs will be different. But we won’t know until we get started.
What if we just stepped into their journey slowly and lovingly and figured out how someone with my experience and care could love them and help them best? What if I could build long term relationships with them, their leaders, and church as they needed me?
What if you felt so strongly about this need that you joined us by investing in them through our ministry and praying for them often by name when they give permission?
Now that we’re officially missionaries, we sure could use your help. If this moves your heart at all as you picture these lonely pastors, their lonely brides, their lonely children, their wounded churches, and how close they are to giving up, please ask God if He would have you invest in Recentered Group.
You could easily donate either one-time or monthly on our website by navigating to this page: GIVE.
What if the first part of a pastors journey toward health and more influence than he or she ever imagined was simply starting a conversation with Recentered Group and listening to a voice that she or he feels they can trust?
If I’d have known these sustaining truths forty years ago, about a hundred talented church and missionary families I’ve watched walk away from their dream may still be on mission, building the kingdom of God by sharing His healing grace and truth.
Does anybody really need a consultant to barge in and tell you what you’re doing wrong and what they’re doing at the first-church-of-what’s-happening-now down the road (that pastors probably ready to quit too!). I found it works better just to show up, ask questions, and talk about the love of God for His shepherds. Also, I have some challenging truths and teaching to help them return to their first love and build high trust leadership communities. And I’ve got the credibility that I clung to these truths through three difficult pastorates, the last one turning around a church on life support as it moved from survival to kingdom significance.