Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A.
23. The best place to begin when re-defining a congregation’s role relative to the community is, “Who are the people who are largely overlooked or ignored y the other churches in this community whom God is calling us to reach with the good news?”
Activating The Passive Church, p. 95.
24. New members are perceived as threats by existing long-term members; perceived as irresponsible; tend to be disproportionately represented in large numbers in ministries; are “assimilated by works”; are less tied to the past; generally more creative and enthusiastic about the congregation and its projects; are often the best evangelists; most aware of the needs the church’s ministry meets; tend to be the best source of leaders for new small face-to-face groups; should be most disproportionately represented on the pastoral support committee since they are most supportive of the pastor.
Activating The Passive Church, p. 130
25. “In general, every pastor should view that group of new members as 9a) persons with spiritual and personal needs that must be identified, surfaced, and met, (b) creative allies in combating passivity, and (c) potential members of a support group for the minister.”
Activating The Passive Church, p. 130.
26. “Since the first year of a new pastorate is the critical period in combating passivity in a congregation .the evidence strongly suggests that in the majority of cases the newly arrived ministry should accept a more active leadership role ..The most common exception is the severely divided congregation [or the sudden termination of the predecessor].”
Activating The Passive Church, pp. 132-134.
27. An intentional strategy for the first year of ministry in a passive congregation emphasizes 1) discipleship intentionality; 2) that leaders, including the pastor, lead, 3) the initial months of ministry set expectations of what members can expect over the tenure of the pastor; 4) the pastor is not one who has brought a program with him and will implement it (by himself) for the passive congregation; and 5) that the pastor’s role is to cause things to happen not “doing it.”
Activating The Passive Church, pp. 135-136.
28. The results of pastors who successfully concentrate on the weakness of a congregation include: 1) congregational admiration of the members for the pastor’s work; 2) blaming the predecessor for congregational short-comings; 3) increased congregational flattery for the pastor given in direct proportion to the increased congregational passivity; 4) increased aging and alienation of leaders; 5) burnt-out pastors who, each year, must exceed the previous year’s accomplishments; 6) increasing members’ conviction that getting the “right minister” is the secret to building a strong church; and 7) placing a heavy burden on the next minister who will be expected to top that act.
Activating The Passive Church, pp. 137-138.
29. “The best strategy for the new ministry facing a passive congregation is to identify, affirm, and build on the complementary strengths of both the pastor and the congregation.”
Activating The Passive Church, p. 139.
30. “The longer the median tenure of the members, (a) the more difficult it is for a recently arrived minister to win the allegiance of the members, (b) the easier it is to launch a movement to seek the pastor’s resignation, (c) the higher the level of financial support by the members, especially in emergencies, (d) the greater the probability that the membership roster includes the names of several alienated and angry older ex-leaders who are dissatisfied with today’s state of affairs, (e) the stronger the resistance to change, (f) the less likely that the congregation will be able to reach, attract and assimilate new members, (g) the stronger the attachment to that meeting place; and (h) the more likely the congregation will display several of the characteristics of passivity .”
Activating The Passive Church, p. 28.
31. “One of the most effective means of undermining the trust level within a congregation, of lowering morale, of increasing passivity, and of creating disharmony is to create a situation that causes members to believe they cannot trust the financial accountability system of that parish .Once something has happened to create this distrust, the best response is full disclosure.”
Activating The Passive Church, p. 111.
32. First-born children tend to be conscientious, task-oriented, persisted, serious, high achievers and are drawn to senior pastorates in “statistically disproportionately large numbers. Middle-born children tend to be more person-centered, relaxed, and diplomatic. Last-borns tend to be relaxed, casual in dress and appearance, light-hearted, able to concentrate on those tasks which concern them, willing to accept a sub-ordinate position, and often express great interest in change.
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 101.
33. “The clearer the expectation [for ministry staff] of this distinction between ‘doing it’ and ‘causing it to happen,’ the better the quality of staff morale and relationships.”
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 101.
34. A key difference between senior pastors and associate pastors is that, among other things, an associate pastor must often be burdened with the sense that he must be perceived as “good enough” to get promoted to the senior pastorate. The weight of tenure, the impact of titles and rank, age, varying degrees of experience, lay expectations, the origins of the associate pastor position in that congregation all play a major role in shaping the associate pastor position.
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, pp. 126ff.
35. The least happy staff arrangements “tend to be those that include two or more first-born staff members or an only-born senior ministry and an only-born associate .The happiest staff combinations tend to be those that include a middle-born senior minister and a middle-born associate minister .The most relaxed and the least competitive staff teams include a last-born senior pastors and a last-born associate minister .The most effective ministerial teams tend to be composed of a middle-born senior minister and a first-born associate.”
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 102.
36. “The larger the congregation, the more important it is to build a staff that complements and reinforces the priorities of the senior minister.”
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 81.
37. “In the smaller congregations the role of the patriarch, or tribal chief, usually is filled by an older lay person. The minister is the visit medicine man. Tribal identity is in the laity, not in the pastor. By contrast, in congregations with a multiple staff, and especially the huge and mini-denomination size churches, the role of the tribal chief is filled by the senior ministry. Frequently the corporate identity of the very large church is in the personality of the senior ministry who has served that congregation for a decade or longer.”
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 41.
38. “The larger the congregation, the more vulnerable that church is to an inappropriate match of pastor and people.”
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 25.
39. “The larger the congregation, the greater the expectations that institution placed on the senior minister to be the initiating leader.”
The Multiple Staff and the Larger Church, p. 19.
40. “The ability to understand, accept and enjoy the ambiguity may be one of the most important characteristics of the happy and effective pastor of the middle-sized congregation.”
The Middle-Sized Church, p. 17.
41. “In the best of churches leaders have created, sometimes over a period of several generations, a rich tapestry of symbols, parables, folk sayings, favorite expressions, beliefs, legends, stories, rituals, customs, and festivals which reinforce the feeling that indeed this is a unique congregation. By contrast, the weak churches are swathed in layers of gray cloth-ready for their funeral. The congregational culture gives meaning to life for many of the members.”
The Middle-Sized Church, p. 30
42. The greatest measurable difference that distinguishes congregations is whether they are accumulating capital or living off the accumulated capital.
The Middle-Sized Church, p. 33.
43. “Don’t Be The First Associate! Be The Third!”
Survival Tactics in the Church, Chapter 6, pp. 166ff.
44. “Very few chapters in an effective pastorate extend beyond three or four years.”
Survival Tactics in the Church, p. 29.
* All of the works referred to above have been published by Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tennessee. Items not in quotations are compilations of Schaller material from the resource cited.