ChurchPulse Weekly Conversations: Stephen Chandler on Finding Rest & Redefining Success


Articlesin Leaders & Pastorsin State of the Church 2020•June 29, 2022

In a recent ChurchPulse Weekly episode, Stephen Chandler (senior pastor of Union Church) sits down with Carey Nieuwhof to talk about how he responds to pushback as a leader, finding rest amidst the busyness of ministry and redefining success within your church.

Key themes from the episode:

  • The top current needs of pastors include a deeper connection to God (51%), more clarity on how to lead in today’s culture (48%) and vacation / sabbatical (48%) (1:30)
  • Many leaders are interested in new ways of conducting ministry (especially those who have considered quitting), but they believe their congregations will be less likely to consider new ways to conduct ministry (3:00)
  • Leaders who have considered quitting are twice as likely to say they want professional support in their job as a pastor (4:40)
  • “Winning” in church leadership is about more than keeping your congregants happy (9:45)
  • Being a strong leader who leads with conviction (12:47)
  • Responding to pushback to changes within the church (14:58)
  • Discerning which voices to listen to in times of criticism (17:36)
  • The underlying reasons behind drops in church attendance and volunteers (21:48)
  • Discipling your people towards inconvenience for the sake of others (24:17)
  • The difference rest and a Sabbatical can have on hearing God’s voice and guidance (29:08)
  • Moving from exhaustion to rest and connection to God (30:08)
  • Jesus’ response to his disciples’ ambition (34:45)

Key quotes from the episode:

  • “We have to understand that as leaders of churches, we have to define winning and we have to commit to winning, and last I checked in Scripture, keeping my congregants happy isn’t the Biblical definition of winning as a pastor and as a church. […] Winning is two things: it’s helping lost people find Jesus, and it’s helping found people become more like Christ.” —Stephen Chandler (9:56)
  • “Sometimes we’re afraid to be strong leaders because we don’t want to come across as controlling or manipulative […] We have to understand that we’re serving an audience of one, and that ultimately my responsibility is to fulfill the call of God in my life.” —Stephen Chandler (12:48)
  • “We have to do the work of making disciples, of teaching them ‘you get what you want by inconveniencing yourself for the sake of the gospel,’ that when we decrease and he increases, that’s when he’s able to add into our lives.” —Stephen Chandler (24:31)
  • “Jesus never rebuked them for their ambition. He never rebuked them for their desire to be great. His only rebuke was them wanting to do it the world’s way instead of doing it the kingdom way.” —Stephen Chandler (34:46)

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