I called them “Non-company men” (or women)…
You know who I’m talking about. They are those members/attendees in your church who are in your church but not fully with your church.
Their primary focus and passion is not the vision of the house or the well-being of the house, their focus and passion is about their agenda, their ministry, and their passion.
They’re not into church policy or organizational structure and chain of command.
They’re not that interested in supporting the ministry game plan; they’re focused on their plan.
They’re not interested in raising the budget or supporting the mission/ministry initiatives of the house; they’re interested in raising funds for their ministry or pet project.
They are often some of your most influential and hard-working people. They’re the ones handing out flyers (and donation envelopes) promoting their favorite cause. They’re the ones pestering you because you’re not championing their cause more from the pulpit. They’re the ones getting up a group of the faithful to skip church next weekend and go to some special event or “get-away” that they’re passionate about.
You get the picture—you’re probably putting faces to the picture right now because every church has them.
The question is, what do you do with them?
I suggest the following…
(1) Manage them loosely. Most often these are not bad people they’re just wired differently. I liken them to entrepreneurs who chaff under close management and having to conform to the establishment. Managing/pastoring them with a heavy hand will only alienate them and many of your people who love them.
(2) Celebrate what matters to them and weave what matters to you in with their agenda. Most often, it is not that they’re against you, they’re just for what matters to them. However, if handled right, they will be glad to support you on their terms—be humble enough to take those terms.
(3) Bind them to you with cords of love. They may not be loyal to structure and organizations, but they are often willing to be loyal to you.
I have found that some of my most productive and faithful workers and supporters have been “non-company men”; I believe the same can be true for you.
Churchmen are great. People loyal to their church whoever the pastor is or whatever the church is going through are the backbone and bedrock of the church. However, everyone will not be that way. No matter how hard you try, everyone will not be not be a “company men” and tow the party line. But they can be great assets to the company if handled correctly and even end up being life-long friends.
After all, our own particular assignment is not the only thing that matters to God. Sometimes he sends us partners instead of members, and that can be a good thing.