Is 2015 the year you start leading like a Turnaround pastor?

If so, it’s time to start implementing those best practices Innovation. Changing it up. Doing things different. Breaking the mold.

These are hallmark behaviors of successful Turnaround pastors. It’s how they lead stagnant and dying churches into new life, time after time in church after church.

Now’s a great time to start leading like a Turnaround pastor. All you have to do is look back on 2014 so you can do 2015 different.

Here are 5 items you should check so you’ll know where to do it different – and better – in 2015.

Ready… Set…



If you’re on top of things the 2015 budget is well under way. If business professionals are in leadership positions it may already be set. Wherever you are in the process, take a few minutes this coming week to look at the budget.

  • Where did we over spend? Were these discretionary or were they surprise expenses over which we had no control?
  • Where did we underspend and why? If you’ve underspent in these categories for several years in a row, why these line items still in the budget?
  • Are personnel expenses taking over an unreasonable percentage of our budget? This is often a danger sign so you’d better identify the reasons. Shrinking income? Recent additions to staff?


Review your appointment calendar to see who took up most of your time. If enjoy the luxury of an administrative assistant, ask for an ordered list of names on 2014’s appointment calendar. Browse the list and evaluate whether you’ve been wise in the use of your limited schedule.

  • Did you spend too much time on under-performers and problem people?
  • Did you schedule too much time with people just because you like them?
  • How much time did you spend in pastoral counseling and how effective was it?
  • Which people are serving more effectively because of their time with you?


Grab a roster of staff members, ministry leaders and church officers. Often these people are your high performers who don’t ask for much. It’s a failure of leadership and stewardship to overlook them. Ask yourself some tough questions.

  • Who got the least face time with you?
  • Who didn’t you challenge to higher levels of productivity?
  • Whom did you fail to move into a new or more influential roles with a bit of coaching?
  • Who have you avoided this past year?


If you work with a preaching or worship planning team, pull them in on this one. Survey the texts and topics you’ve preached this past year and drill down into a few penetrating considerations.

  • What’s the major takeaway from my preaching this past year, what will people remember? And was this what I had intended?
  • Are there major themes that I’ve overlooked – again – that I need to pick up in the year ahead?
  • What theological hobby horses have I been riding?
  • How many different ways did I preach the gospel, how clear was I, and what more can I do to urge faith on people?
  • Have I muddled the distinction between believing in Jesus for eternal life and following him as a faithful disciple?
  • If you’re a book-by-book expositor, which passages did you skip over either because you found them challenging or because they didn’t fit your agenda?


Finally, take some time to look in the mirror. Take some time evaluating whether you’ve made personal and professional progress or whether you’re “stuck.”

  • How often and in how many different ways did you put your shared ministry vision before the congregation?
  • What did you do to improve your professional skills and acquire new ones?
  • How did you cultivate your spiritual life and draw closer to God?
  • Where did you do a good job caring for your family and where did you fall short?
  • Who have you spent time mentoring in ministry?

There’s nothing magic about turnaround pastors

It’s just that they do things different They don’t get stuck in ruts and they don’t let the past dictate the future. They change things up. They innovate. They experiment and they learn new ways of doing what God has called them to do.

Isn’t it time you started changing things up a bit? If you do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the transformation in yourself and your congregation.

You don’t have to be stuck. All you have to do is starting implementing the best practices that other turnaround pastors have proven.


How do you go about evaluating the year in order to make effective plans for the next one? Click here to leave your comments below.