Pulling the Trigger

Why Churches Can't Pull the TriggerTwo Axioms for Pulling the Trigger

Why is it so hard for pastors to pull the trigger and institute something new like a new worship service? Why do so many resist doing what they know needs done? Let me take a stab at it responding to these questions of mine.  I think there are two prime reasons.

Distractions dilute desire.

Don’t kid yourself. Distractions can de-rail even the most focused person especially in a church setting where so many members are still in spiritual diapers and expect the pastor to help change them.

Focus fuels desire.

The more a person focuses on something the more that person desires to see it fulfilled and the quicker that person pulls the trigger and takes action.  When desire for something consumes a person’s waking moment the odds are that something is going to happen either good or bad. When the desire is not all consuming the odds are the trigger wont get pulled.

So how does one become consumed with desire for a particular action to the point that distractions don’t get in the way?

I have put together the following principles that lead to pastors taking action.  Here they are:

  • You get what you look for.
  • The more you look the more you see.
  • The more you see the more options you see.
  • The more options you see the more excited you get.
  • The more excited you get the more impatient you become.
  • The more impatient you become the more likely you are to pull the trigger.
  • But it all breaks down if you don’t first look beyond your nose to see what might be out there.

Now that sounds simple doesn’t it? Well, let me explain why the principles break down.

The principles begin to unwind with the first two principles. When the idea of an additional service surfaces most people will not, notice I did not say cannot, set aside enough time to focus on the idea.  After all, there is soooooooo much to do – so many meetings; so many people to care for. The pastor knows what needs to be done but isn’t willing to focus on it to the point that it becomes a reality.

But consider Pastor X who knows that an additional service is essential to the future of the church. The more he/she thinks and prays about it the more he works toward the completion of the project even at the expense of other important duties.  At first he hasn’t a clue how, when, or where this service will take place.  All he knows is that it has to happen.  The more he focuses on the service the more options he sees.  The service could be in the worship center or the fellowship hall, or in a strip mall down the street. It could by remote or the pastor could rotate speaking at one service early and the other service late. With so many options staring him in the face the pastor now gets excited.  This service is a possibility. We can do this!  He gets so excited he bypasses the committees, gathers the musicians, prints the flyers and pulls the trigger.

Keep Pulling the Trigger

But pulling the trigger is really the easy part; keeping your finger on the trigger and continually firing is another. Most leaders let up on the trigger before the transition or the new ministry is mature.

The best example is the “worship wars” experienced by churches that implement a new form of worship to match the new transition. It is impossible to give preference to one and ignore the other.  The old service pays the bills and yet the new people are the future.

But what do you do when the transition has gone on long enough that there are just a few people left from the last transition? Leaders haven’t as yet had to deal with this question, but it is just around the corner.  In twenty years there won’t be enough people left from the third transition to make any impact on a church.  Do we ignore them altogether?

But that is just the tip of the iceberg.   About the time a church becomes good at one form of worship another one crops up.  How is one to manage such rapid-fire change where pulling the trigger is the easy part?  That is part of my next blog.

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  1. This article may be filled with good information for churches. But I cannot get past the title. Pulling the Trigger. With 30 Americans dying by gunfire every day, 8 of them children, I am surprised by the insensitivity, however unintentional. Christians and leaders in their faith institutions are called to be peacemakers as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.

    I write as a local church pastor who has my congregation through school shootings at Nearby Chardon high school when some of our families were directly affected. All of my church youth have been on school lockdown at some point in their young lives.

    Gun language has no place in church consulting language.

    Rev Kristine Eggert.

    • Bill Easum says:

      I had no intention of referring to actual guns but to an act that leaders must do and try to avoid. pulling the trigger is a normal way of talking about executing a new idea. I’m sorry it offended you.
      bill E

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