According to the source, the phrase “Everything rises and falls on leadership,” can be attributed to Phil Strickland.

I don’t know if he said it or not.  However, the phrase has stuck with me through the last seven+ years of pastoring.  When I first got here I was told by a Bill Swank – friend and mentor, “Nothing is your fault for the first year.  Everything, good and bad, will probably be a consequence of the previous pastor’s work.  You own everything after the first year.  It all becomes your fault.”

Everything rises and falls on leadership.

I had a meeting on Sunday.  Our church has “church council” who holds the unenviable task of calendaring.  There is a lot of power in that.  They get the ultimate veto on many things.  When I first got here, a lot was micro managed through the council and church business meeting.  We used to vote every year on whether or not the kids would even go to camp!  It took four years, but now camp is the expectation; not the exception based upon finances.

But, some things still linger.

We are hurting financially.  Our treasure said we lose around $200-$300 a week.  We have had a large source of reserves, which has stood us well.  But now, any extra cash we have is about half gone.  The tendency is  cut spending and reserve as much capital as possible, hoping that it is enough until things get demonstrably better.  There is a problem with that though.  Things usually don’t get better, because the things cut are exactly what is needed for growth to occur.

There is a reason that the denomination I’m affiliated with is in decline, loosing around 2000 churches a month to institutional death.

So, I brought the ideas I’ve been working on before the committee.  Funds would soon be needed to reserve locations, and other expenses, and I needed to have those funds released.  I want to do a Men’s Retreat and a Ladies Luncheon.  The estimated cost for the retreat is around $500+.  The estimated cost for the Luncheon is about $100.  Needless to say, the Luncheon was given full approval; and the retreat was shot down.

That is to be expected.  That is how systems in the midst of decline function.  It wasn’t a surprise.

My question is, why didn’t I fight harder for it?  I’ve been here a little over seven years.  I could have twisted some arms, spent a little emotional capital to get it through.  But instead, I let them kill the idea.

Everything rises and falls on leadership.

I’m still wrestling with this.  I believe that the Holy Spirit is able to speak through everyone at the meeting.  I highly value everyone’s input.  But, in that meeting I heard more fear and doubt than anything else.  The Spirit doesn’t bring fear and doubt.  He brings peace and faith.

I’m not asking for people to give donations so that I can have a retreat for the church.  A part of me thinks that may feed into the groups inaction, and lack of faith-full thinking.

I would appreciate some prayer, though.  For our church, and for my own sense of leadership.