Here's a recent question I received via email:
"Most of the times, established churches are set on tracks that move in one direction. No matter how much you turn the steering wheel, you cannot change the direction the church is moving. What things did you do/change to help the organization adapt to moving in a new direction quickly?"
Ok....a few thoughts I'll throw out.
First of all, the only person who can really initiate change in the direction of the organization/church is the senior leader. The staff, the leaders, the volunteers, etc... can turn the wheel all they want, but if the senior leader is not fully committed to taking things a new direction.......then forget it!
(And on a side note - if the senior leader is NOT committed to change, DON'T try to bring it! All you'll do is bring chaos and division - and that is WRONG.)
But even if the senior leader is committed to change, there is still a very important question that needs to be considered before making the leap. Here it is:
Is our organization structured for change?
In other words, do the current bylaws, structure, governance, etc... allow us to make the necessary changes?
The last thing a senior leader (and the church for that matter) needs during a tough season of change and transition is dissension among a pastor and the elders, deacons, or key decision makers.
The bottom line is - if you're not structured for change, it doesn't matter how passionate or committed you might be to it - there will always be a chance that the wrong people could step in to infiltrate, hijack, or sabotage what God is leading you to do.
Another thing... The number one concern shouldn't necessarily be to get the church members or even the staff 100% unified on the transition. The MOST IMPORTANT THING is having a strong, unified leadership team. For us, it was my dad (the lead pastor at that time), me (his executive pastor at the time), and our elder team. Without all of us being united and on the same page, we knew that there was no way we would be able to push through the resistance and pain of turning an 80 year old church an entirely new direction.
Well thankfully, we were united. And believe it or not, today our elder team is made up of the SAME guys who were on it PRIOR TO our transition.
Now THAT'S a miracle! :)