Torch, Fall 1988

An interview with Dr. Paul Tassell , National Representative of the General Asso– ciation of Regular Baptist Churches and a member of the Cedarville College Board of Trustees. Q • When does leadership need to be revitalized? A. When there is apathy, both on the part of the leader and the led, revitalization is needed. Apathy can bring a leader, an or– ganization, even a whole movement into a period of stagnation. In a church there are two answers to apathy: new converts and revival of "rut dwellers." For a pastor or a deacon or the congregation, nothing is as thrilling as seeing people born again and joining the church. Pastors and people who win souls dispel apathy. Reviving "rut dwellers" is almost tougher. Someone said a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out. If the church leadership doesn 't revitalize the deadwood in the pews, who will? Q • How else can leadership be revitalized? A. I suggest five ways , all of them dependent on an attitude of willingness to: 1. See the need for revitalization. I meet leaders in churches, schools, and businesses who don ' t know they are their organization 's biggest problem. 2. 3. 4. 5. Change the methodology. We live in 1988 so we ought to use 1988 methods in our work - not 1928 methods or even those of 1978. We are all confronted with new competition, technology , and customers. Past success does not ensure future progress. Leaders content to live in the past become last in their field. Involve new people as well as retraining willing workers who are older in the work. Change is scary and uncom– fortable , but it agitates, stimulates, and motivates. Listen. Closed ears surround a mind closed to new ideas. Pray. Leaders in touch with God stay in touch with themselves. Ask Him if you are becoming apathetic. He 'll tell you. Q• Why do leaders stay in ruts? A. Because it's comfortable and secure. They are afraid of the unknown. Also, if they are in a rut they can put their mind in neutral and do not have to think of new ideas or accept new challenges. Some people like that. Q • Are some leaders beyond revitalization? A. No, personal revival can revitalize anyone. Even though sometimes resignations must precede revivals , I am optimistic because of the purpose and power of the Holy Spirit. "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you... Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up ." James 4:8-10 13