If you’re a big-vision kind of leader, you know the excitement of getting people on board, excited, and moving together toward a vision. You also know you need to identify your obstacles beforehand so they don’t derail your plans. Identifying those obstacles and proactively addressing them also goes a long way toward helping more hesitant people get on board. Because we all know that if you don’t raise and address the obstacles, someone in your congregation certainly will. 

Discovering obstacles

discovering obstacles

I remember being in the early stages of leading my congregation toward a vision of church planting. We weren’t a particularly old, big, or established church ourselves, so there were certain to be some objections. I knew that hoping no one would bring them up was a losing strategy, so—after casting the vision with all of its positives, I asked some key leaders to participate in a series of dinners to help me identify all of the possible obstacles with the plan. 

I met with 60 people, over five dinners of 12 people each, with this question on the agenda: “What are all of the obstacles that need to be addressed before we begin our strategy of church planting?” The first couple of groups didn’t really come up with much. They were excited and happy to be supportive of my plan. They mentioned a few issues, but seemed certain we could overcome those objections. 

However… I had saved all of the most negative, most potentially difficult people for one group. When that night came, I got out my pencil (with some spares) and sat down to take notes. It was a very productive evening. They had a lot to say, and I showed excitement to hear it. “Slow down, I want to be sure I’m getting all of this down!” One guy came prepared with an 8.5 x 14 paper filled on both sides with all of his objections. It was like throwing bloody meat into the ocean. For 45 minutes I listened, asked follow up questions, and took copious notes. 

Building bridges

They had just given me something of great value: all of the blockages, strongholds, and fears that talk of church planting brought to the surface for people. (For the people in the other groups were feeling concerns too; they were just too supportive to really give voice to them.) I took those notes and sorted them into categories, asking God, “What do they not understand about you that gives rise to these kinds of objections?” 

They had just given me my preaching agenda for the next 18-24 months. Ignoring obstacles doesn’t make them go away. We need to address them head on. We need to preach the messages that really get to where people live, their fears, their concerns, and their blockages.


Get Excellent Coaching – Ministry is navigating a series of obstacles in the pursuit of the vision God has given you. It’s hard. Dr. Bob Logan understands—he has walked in your shoes—and he believes that God is ready to do amazing things through his people. If you are brimming with vision to bring the way of Jesus to your community, Dr. Bob would love to come alongside you and see that vision become reality. Email admin@loganleadership.com to request a FREE 30-minute conversation with Dr. Bob and learn how coaching can make all the difference.

Listening Effectiveness – There is arguably no more important skill than listening. It is essential to ministry. Trouble is, we all think we are great listeners. When is the last time you tested your listening skills? The Listening Effectiveness Profile is a competency-based instrument has been designed to help you understand more about your relative skills in each of these critical areas, and give you a picture of your overall ability to listen effectively. This will help you determine where to target your development activities in order to improve your skills. Once you know where you need to grow, the Listening Effectiveness Skills Builder contains wisdom and exercises to help you become a better listener.

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash