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Welcome to the post COVID church podcast with your host, Stuart Kellogg.
Stuart Kellogg 0:12
Today we’re looking at how your church can be stronger, yes stronger coming out of the pandemic indies shut down. My guest, Dan Hall has a perfect mix for this subject. He’s a pastor and expert in leadership development.
for 35 years, Dan’s worked with churches, nonprofits and other organizations to help leaders in their teams maximize their impact his company on course solutions. He’s also pastored three churches from a church plant to a declining one to a bankrupt church, leading all of them, not just to impressive attendance numbers but also to increasing influence for Christ in their community.
In August 2016, dan experienced a dramatic shift in his life, when an accident on a business trip left him a quadriplegic. Since that time, Dan has continued to coach and consult, but he’s also spoken throughout the country sharing his experience and life principles as he lives his new reality.
Dan holds a BA in English from Baylor University and an MBA from Belhaven University. He and Hazel live in Madison, Mississippi, they have quoting here, six children, three fortunate sons in law and eight perfect grandchildren. Welcome, Dan to the post COVID church podcast,
Thanks to It’s good to see you again.
For a church that’s just holding on, what’s the first thing the leadership should do now, to get stronger?
I think there’s there’s a difference, I think everyone is experiencing the COVID effect right? Before COVID holding on usually meant a church that plateaued or maybe had gone through a difficult season and was trying to figure out how to mitigate their losses and maybe close the back door. In this situation, you know, we’re all in the same storm. I love the illustration, where people say we’re all in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat. And I think that’s exactly right.
You know, I’ve been fortunate because what I do, has not brought the level of devastation that I’ve seen maybe with other people in lost jobs and lost income and lost opportunity, and so forth. So I was in the storm they were in, but I had a different boat than maybe some of my peers. So I think the churches kind of the same way, I think churches,
many of the churches I’ve talked to haven’t been really desperately hit financially.
For it’s been very interesting, a lot of churches with whom I work there, people have remained generous and faithful in their giving.
But the attendance, almost every pastor I’ve talked to believes that their attendance will never be the same. They believe that there has been a psychological and emotional shift in people’s minds to say, maybe we don’t have to be there all the time. Because we seem to be doing okay, we’ve kind of enjoyed having more time with our family, we’ve kind of enjoyed having Sunday mornings, quote off.
And so I think there’s a little bit of that ripple that’s going through the body right now, that will have long term effects, but haven’t had a short term impact at this point. So I do believe that we’re going to see, I think we’ve seen a psychological shift. And depending on how your church is operating, depending on what the foundation is, will depend on whether they’re that long term impact is devastating, or whether it’s just an adjustment.
What about those that realize we need to rebuild their foundation?
It’s a great question. Without sounding too religious. It starts back in Scripture, it starts back at what have we built on? It’s just like, if you realize your marriage isn’t what you thought it was, and where are you going to go back and say, where do we start? If you start with what the other one did wrong, you’re already in trouble.
Even to the extent that you think well, what did I do wrong? That’s a great question. But the bigger question is, what are we going to build on so I think the church has to do the same thing.
I got deeply impacted about the base of the church, the foundation to me, obviously, Jesus, that is the cornerstone, the scripture is our absolute standard for what we do. But Ephesians, which is my favorite New Testament book, somewhat rivaled now by Colossians. But Ephesians is my favorite. And if somebody held a gun to my head, the hypothetical gun to my head, and made the hypothetical challenge, you can only choose two books in the Bible, and take those two books and go plant a church somewhere in the world. I would say give me any gospel in Ephesians. It doesn’t matter any gospel, but give me a fusions because I believe Ephesians outlines the church from start to finish more than any other epistle in the New Testament.
And in the middle of that, after going through the two chapters of just our incredible blessings, all we have in chapters one and two is how we’re blessed in Christ, believe there’s 19 blessings that we have without any reciprocity. Chapter Three is all about the blessings of the church and the calling of the church. And then in chapter four, we shift that now therefore, how do we live this out? Watch me call to sit, walk, stand. And so after we realize where we’re seated in heavenly places, how do we walk this out. And then he gets down into the very practical nature of the church very quickly. And here’s what he says. I do a lot of consulting with churches….
work really, I call it boutique, it’s very important to me to get in and know your church before, I don’t have a formula that I go in and use.
But one of the things I do tell every church is that Ephesians 4:11, through 16, should be the foundation of every church. So he gave some to be apostles and prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and however you interpret that I work with every day, not just about every denomination, and they’re all going to have an interpretation of what that means. But however you interpret that, that foundation says this in order that we can equip the body of Christ,
to do works of service to prepare God’s people for works of service, that the body of Christ may be built up until we all come to the to, to maturity, which is kind of what he said, I’m going to wrap it up the next few verses, that tell people verse 16, ought to be over every church, in him or from him. from him, the whole body joined and held together by every supporting ligament grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work, that is church, that is the church structure from Him, Christ being the foundation.
Every part grows, in a healthy way, grows numerically, as each part does its work. So I try to teach those whole five verses and the foundation is I’ll go all the way back to 11. And 12, that he gave apostles prophets remains pastor teachers, to prepare, this is what he gave them to do to prepare God’s people for works of service, boom, there it is. That’s our job. The only place the word pastor is used in all the scriptures in Ephesians, four. Now we know all the derivatives if you want to go into the idea of elder and Presbyterian, Episcopal and all that. But the word pastor that we love to use, especially in evangelical churches, is the only places mentioned right there. And he says, here’s what you’re supposed to do, prepare God’s people for works or service.
That means using the talent in the pews, right? We still have such a view of hierarchy,
Whether we like it or not. And the real key is my number one job, and this really is an odd way of saying it. My number one job as a pastor is not to minister. That’s gonna let that sit in for a minute. My number one job is to prepare you to minister that’s my job. Now, as I tell some guys to try to sit in ivory towers and hide behind that. I said, there’s no way you can teach it if you’re not doing it. Okay, but I don’t do ministry because I’m a minister, I do ministry because I’m a believer.
I train you to do ministry because I’m a minister. And that’s where we get messed up. So we have everything backwards. The pew thinks we hire you to do ministry, now I should be doing ministry because I’m a believer, you hire me to teach you to do ministry, that’s you’re freeing me up financially so that I can now mobilize the body of Christ. So I think the churches that were doing that, back to our first question, the ones who were equipping their people to do ministry are going to be less impacted in the long term. Those who operated with a hierarchy that I every one of those pews existed to make my vision successful, are going to have to readjust significantly.Getting back to the biblical base that my job is to prepare you to impact the community.
My guest Dan Hall, church leadership, expert, and pastor. For those listening who want to strengthen their church, walk us through the steps needed to make those changes.
The first thing I do is I give everyone a vision of what it means to to impact the world they live in. Everyone wants a reason everyone wants a reason to live. But the problem is most of us have adopted the American dream as our reason. But that obviously hadn’t satisfied. We’re the number one drug use prescription drug use nation in the world. We’re the most prosperous nation that’s ever lived probably have exceeded both France, the French Empire and the Roman Empires, when they do all the financial and yet we’re the We are the most addicted unhappy, frustrated. malcontents in the world right now. I mean, it’s, it’s just amazing to me. And yet we still keep buying into the dream. I mean, the definition of insanity is keep doing the same thing, expecting different results.
So we just keep spending more and trying to do more trying to end and the real question is we want meaning we want there we were created. Go back to Genesis one we were created in his image. And in his likeness, to advance his kingdom, his first commission was rule the earth. And if you translate that all biblically which we don’t have time to do a Bible study, bottom line is that the kingdom of God would be demonstrated in the earth as it is in heaven. That’s why that’s in that prayer that we all follow. And so we were tasked from the very beginning in our very creation, to show what God’s nature and what God’s image looks like in the earth. We were to demonstrate that that is, that’s what your creative purposes. And so when you get back to your creative purpose, that’s when you find fulfillment, that’s when people say, Well, I found why I was created.
So my first goal is I always raise the vision. I don’t start with a rebuke, I start with a vision, just like Jesus and john did, he preached the kingdom, he came through, they didn’t know what to do, because he kept raising their attention and kept trying to rebuke them. He said, Look, you’re still not getting where the kingdom is. The kingdom is way up here. I don’t have my hands to show you my illustration, since I’m quadriplegic, but I used to use my hands all the time. Look, the kingdom is is is you guys are looking down. When the kingdom is up, you guys are looking backwards when the kingdom is in front of you. You guys are looking at the kingdom and the natural what is in the supernatural. And it’s within you, but it’s above you. It’s it transcends you. It’s not confined to time and space. And so what would happen, if you could look, look above the horizon and see the kingdom the way God sees. And that’s why we pray that we would see as he sees it.
My last church took a church down in South Florida, and they were running about 1800 when I got there, but they had been in precipitous decline, the last pastored left under lots of questions and the church was actually in bankruptcy. It was being run by Jewish judge was our receiver. And so I just began to preach I began to preach through, didn’t take me long to do Ephesians, which is a pretty long series. But I want to raise their attention at church grew to probably about 5000 attendance, we didn’t do real good and counting. But among children and youth and everyone in the auditorium between 4500 to 5500. And we never increased our staff. One time we had 27 staff. When I was in Indiana, we had a church of about 1900 2000 and attendance just under 2000. And we had over 45 staff.
We actually had almost less the staff, and three times two and a half times the attendance because we empowered the people to do the ministry. I had entire ministries that were doing work with, with adoption agencies that I mean doing adoption that we’re doing, working with mud, with, with women, single parents who were abused or abandoned. We had people working and mission trips and taking mission trips to Haiti after the earthquake down to New Orleans after the Katrina. And so all these people would just be in a race look, you have a calling God’s got a calling on your life, you were created for a purpose. And as you began to raise that standard up, they began to see it. Then they began to ask God, “Well, what is that for me?” And obviously we’ve got some that are in Scripture, you know, be holy and love God love your neighbor and we have all these but what does it mean for you? What does that translate for you? So then I began to help them see:
Well, what are your gifts? What are your strengths? What are your interest? How does that translate? I don’t believe God, once you are called into ministry, everyone is called to ministry. I was raised in a time where a man if you were called to preach, that was the greatest calling in the earth. And I appreciate the value that we put on preaching the word. Certainly Paul elevated that himself. But I think we missed the point. When we missed that, that Paul was the one that said, the the one that seems the least lifted up is really the most important. That was his whole teaching in Corinthians. And yet we as preachers sometimes really get we say that out loud. But we really see ourselves as the linchpin. So if you can ever raise people saying, look, as soon as when I knew you, you were a TV station manager, whatever that title was.
I was just impressed because I didn’t know many people on TV. So I had the privilege of knowing guys like you and Dan Modisett set and others that I’d never met anyone that it was a general manager, run a television station, and I thought, “What an incredible position to be in.” I know your hands were tied in some ways. There’s only so much you could do. But I watched you meeting after meeting trying to figure out how can I get this message through my station? What can I do legally and within my areas of influence, and I believe if I remember you did you are what you did PSAs. And, and you would offer to try to use your station the best you could, you can’t buy that kind of stuff from a pulpit. That’s the that’s the stuff that happens with influencers and people who move and shake down share with the listeners, the time you realized, as a senior pastor, you had to change your approach to leadership.
My number one job as a pastor, we were talking about leadership on the phone, you and I were just chatting the other day. And I thought about the first time I realized, when I just really felt an impression from the Holy Spirit, that I had led my whole first church around this idea, I have a vision. And God’s gonna bring me all these people to fulfill this vision. And one day, I just had this incredible realization. God’s not bringing me these people to fulfill my vision, which was how most of the pastors around me thought.He said, I’m bringing these the I’m bringing you these people, so you can help them find their vision.
And my whole preaching change that day. From that day on, it was never about here’s my vision, who all wants to go. And if you hear a lot of pastors today, especially the big names they’re talking about, this is what God’s told me to do. And if God’s called you to come do this come to us with I’m not gonna say that’s wrong. That’s between them and God. I’m going to say for me, there’s a whole other breed of us that go, “You know what, I’m tired of being the Pied Piper.” That’s not really a great illustration, because he a meanie. But I’m, I don’t want to be I don’t want to be Moses. And I don’t want to be I don’t want to be the guy. I want to be the voice. I want to be the guy that does something in you, that makes that voice come alive and you at free you and empower you.
And so it just shifted my preaching and from then on every church I’ve pastored has grown not by me coming and bringing a vision, but me coming and helping you unlock yours.
I met you as part of Mission Mississippi. And I was in a group and that’s how I met you in the group. And it’s the first time ever prayed out loud. I had never prayed in front of people before. And just because of your inspiration in our small huddle. I don’t know if you remember.
Well, apparently you didn’t screw up because I’ve never used that as an illustration.
I’ve been talking to Dan Hall, church leadership expert, and pastor. Thank you, Dan, for being so open. So transparent and sharing practical steps the post COVID Church must take to be stronger and fulfill its mission.
Well, thank you.
And thank you for listening to the post COVID church podcast. Our vision: Helping churches share more of the good news in the face of persecution, hostility and disinterest. I’m Stuart Kellogg.
Thank you for listening to the post COVID church podcast. You can find much more at the Post COVID Church group on Facebook or on the website, www.thepostcovidchurch.com
Transcribed by https://otter.ai