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Two wings your ministry needs in order to fly (w/ Scott Wilson)

podcast Feb 24, 2022

Scott Wilson is a former pastor. He intentionally handed his church off when he was 51 to pursue the next phase of his calling.

Now, he coaches.

(His story is a lot like the CourageToLead / Courageous Pastors story!)


Scott attended the same church for 30 years— 10 with his dad, and then 20 as a leader. In the process, they planted 20+ churches and launched over 600 people into full-time ministry.

This experience created the climate where he began to feel that call to coach. And, it provided a place where he grew a passion for helping others move forward into their calling.

He sees himself, during this season, as a father— to help other pastors, people who are spiritual fathers to others.

Uniquely, he stayed at his church— after handing it off to another pastor. Now, he helps coach the global community.


What does he tell leaders?

What does he most often see as a coaches pastors?

“Pastors don’t need a buddy,” he says. “They need spiritual fathers…”

That is, they need a “Paul” in their life who looks back over their own history and reminds that new leader— like a Timothy— that they have what it takes, that they believe in them and that God believes in them.

He also reminds pastors to keep their top influences engaged.

Many people have diverse ideas— especially in a politically-charged atmosphere. We can achieve a lot by connecting people who might have fallen through the cracks, becoming disjointed over the past season.

That is, in the same way pastors have grown weary over the past season of uncertainty so also have many other leaders. They’ve— in their own space— faced the same challenges we’ve weathered in our own.


Respect and relationship 

Scott talks about “two wings” all leaders need in order to move their organization forward: Respect and Relationship.

In the same way an airplane won’t fly without two wings, you can’t “fly” your church or ministry without these two…

If you have the respect wing but no relationship wing, you won’t be able to lead people. They might respect you (for who you are, what you know, where you’ve been, etc.), but they won’t follow you because you lack connection.

This leads many leaders to develop a “buddy syndrome” with the people they’re called to lead. When that happens, they forfeit respect.

Here’s the problem that creates…

If you have the relationship wing but not the respect wing, they’ll connect with you— but they won’t follow.

You need BOTH in order to move the organization— that is, the church or ministry— forward.


Work on both wings

Thankfully, you can work on either wing, shoring up the weak points.

Respect = build it by…

  • Character. Get your heart right. Nurture the inner life. This always overflows to the people around us.
  • Competency. Gain the skill to do things well.

Relationship = build it by…

  • Time. Sure, we say that “quality time” is better than “quantity.” But the quality moments most often happen amidst the quantity in the most unlikely places.
  • Trust. This is a result of consistent follow through— of people knowing us so well, and seeing us interact enough, that our behavior becomes predictable.

The good news is that we can build either of these wings. That is, we can forge forward.

The “bad” news— and this isn’t really bad at all— is that working on either requires time and intentionality. That is, the results don’t come automatically.


Post-quarantine lessons

Scott observes that a few things have happened post-Covid, issues with which we need to wrestle.

FIrst, we’ve learned that it’s OK if the ministry doesn’t happen in a building that’s leased, mortgaged, or owned by a congregation. We’ve practically discovered what we’ve mentally assented to all along— the church is a people not a place.

Second, we’ve learned that we can’t be mad at people for not coming back. We’ve got to meet them where they are, understanding there are so many layers with each decision people make.

This leads to a third observation…

Third, ministry— and the “call”— isn’t confined to the church building. This makes sense, for if the “church” can’t be contained to the property, why should the very call of the people who comprise that church?

This means, then, that perhaps we need to help people discover their passion— and then propel them towards than— rather than begging them to serve ours.


Grieve and go

His final word for people who are hurting right now?

Grieve it.


Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4).

To receive comfort almost REQUIRES that we first acknowledge the pain of loss, mourn it… and then receive the promised comfort.



Scott’s book = Impact, Releasing the Power of Influence = free at or buy it at

See the post “Every pastor is an interim pastor” = 

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