Was asked in my Exponential session for a few book recommendations on the topic of church and organizational change. I've created an Amazon a-store where you can browse and purchase any of my recommendations.
This past Friday I announced a new coaching community that will be forming in January of 2010. I'm excited about opening this up to twelve lead/senior pastors who are currently leading their churches through transition.
As mentioned in the video, all coaching sessions will be web-based so there will be no travel necessary.
The deadline for applying is Friday, December 11th, so if you're interested in being a part of this first round, don't delay!
Really been enjoying Jim Collin's book How The Mighty Fall. In one of his chapters, Collins gives three important questions to ask when "making risky bets and decisions in the face of ambiguous or conflicting data." Here they are:
Seems like 2 or 3 years ago, most conversation about church change/transition was happening among SMALLER (100-300) to MEDIUM sized (300-500) churches who were seeking to move from a “traditional” format to a more “contemporary” style/approach.
Now.....in many of my conversations with pastors and church leaders, it seems like there are whole lot more LARGER sized (1,000-3,000+) “contemporary” churches who are now seeking to transition to something new & different.
Your turn. And I’m serious when I say this. I would LOVE to hear from you - ESPECIALLY if you are in the midst of a change/transition initiative.
(And since it’s likely that smaller sized and “less known” church leaders will feel more “freedom” to reply, please...BIG DOGS...feel free to comment anonymously because I know many of you read my blog. Or at least USED TO - before being referred to as a “big dog”. LOL.)
Also, I would love for you to include three pieces of info in your response:
Type of Transition (Philosophical or Stylistic? From WHAT to WHAT?)
What is the SINGLE GREATEST CHALLENGE you are facing in leading your church through this change?
Ok, I'm diving back in to the blog. It's been way too long. My lame excuse: I've been running 200MPH since a few weeks before Easter with writing, travel, etc... and blogging just hasn't been that high on my priority list. Sorry faithful folks.
So anyway... Rather than try to knock out a bunch of amazing blog posts, I thought I'd throw out a few random thoughts of what's been happening over these past few weeks. Here we go:
Easter. This year's Easter weekend The Orchard was a record-breaking weekend! Our teams did an amazing job and I think my head is still spinning after a HUGELY successful Helicopter Easter Egg Drop. All I can say is WOW. If you missed the video review, click here.
Orlando. Had a great time at Exponential in Orlando. Exponential is sort of a like a big family reunion (but without the weird uncle and the funky potato salad). This is actually the largest church planting conference in North America and one that I would definitely encourage all church planters to attend in 2010. Had fun teaching a session with Gary Lamb (did he really say "wanker"??) and then participating in some great conversations in the Exponential Lounge with guys like Erwin McManus, Francis Chan, Dave Ferguson, Craig Groeschel, Matt Chandler, and others.
Austin. After a couple of days home I found myself in the amazing city of Austin, TX to be a part of Q. Q is one of my favorite gatherings of the year. It's small and all about influencing and changing culture. Think TED format. Loved connecting with a bunch of friends - both new and old. People like Kem Meyer, Mike Foster, Jeff Shinabarger, Tim Stevens, Alan Hirsch, Kyle Zimmerman, John Burke, Rick McKinley, Chris Seay, Gabe Lyons, Mel McGowan, Charles Lee, and a bunch of other amazing people. Next year, Q will be here - in Chicago!
Atlanta.Orange. It's THE premier and the BEST family ministry conference in the flippin' universe. Loved being a part of this and having the opportunity to share The Orchard's story and some thoughts/ideas on the topic of navigating change with a room full of Lead Pastors and Senior Leaders. Just wish I could have stuck around for more than a few hours, but was glad to be able to hang with a few of our staff who were attending and introduce them to some killer Korean BBQ.
Uganda. In a couple of weeks. More on this later, but looking forward to getting my heart messed up by this trip.
Study. It's what I should be doing right now. So I'm done. Hopefully back in the groove of blogging. We'll see. Thanks for the encouragement folks.
The programs aren't sacred. The methods aren't sacred. The ministries aren't sacred. The service times aren't sacred. The communication style isn't sacred. The committees aren't sacred. The bylaws aren't sacred. The denomination isn't sacred. The style of music isn't sacred. The color of carpet isn't sacred. The font that's used on in the bulletin isn't sacred.
The only thing that's sacred is the mission of Jesus.
"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.
I'm sitting in my office getting ready to go out and speak at our 10:45am service, so I thought I'd throw out a bunch of stuff that's spinnin' in my head. It's been a while.... Plus, I noticed that I received the hatchet on Ben's blogroll. So I figured I better blog again SOON. :)
Very, very convicting talk this weekend... Teaching on the subject of "expectations" in our relationships - week #3 in our series, "Inked."
Had a great time at the Related Leaders event in Peoria, Illinois this past week. Talked a lot about change and expounded on three important questions for pastors: 1) Who has God best positioned us to reach?2) What is it going to take to reach them? and 3) Am I willing to pay the price?
Our Christmas Eve Candlelight service planning is well underway! This is one of our largest attended events of the year. Last year we had four services. This year we are planning five spread out over two days. It's a ton of work, but we see it as quite a privilege and an AWESOME opportunity to reach TONS of people who don't normally attend church.
Barack Obama is our next President. Wow... What a historic election! And let me just say... Christians who are freaking out about this election are getting on my nerves - BAD. Grow up and trust God! I don't remember seeing fear, anxiety, and worry listed as "fruits of the Spirit." Let's pray for President-Elect Obama and ask God to guide and direct him as our new leader. I think God can bless that a heck of a lot more than He can bless all the badmouthing and disrespectful attitudes.
Ok, with all that said....it's time to go teach! Have a great Sunday!