Escape Velocity in Church, Knowing, Loving, and Leading

12 Sep

Know your folks

  • Who are the influencers… it could be the loud and vocal, but it could be the proverbial quiet little old grandma who appears the wallflower, but behind the scenes is the most massive prayer warrior you could ever meet.
  • Who are the champions? Who if given a vision will grab hold, latch on and run with it? Maybe not the exact vision you have, but likely something better, or very close to where you want to go.

Love your people

  • Who could experience the most growth, the least growth? How do we love them?
  • Who could be negatively impacted? How do we show them the love of Christ through this?
  • What if the change leaves people behind? How do we love them…. what do we do proactively knowing that such will happen to some.

Lead your people

  • Expect adversity…. its not human nature to embrace change. In some cases, things can get pretty ugly, its not unexpected. Its not that adversity in and of itself is to be avoided, but how one reacts and leads in face of it.
  • Be rock solid. Just as Jesus is your churches rock… be solid like one in leadership. This does not mean being like a mack truck as concerns the opposition… do listen, do engage those fearful of change, do not hide, do not waver. But, if a course correction is needed midway, do not let pride get in the way, or other factors. Better to have egg on face in front of congregation, than egg all over entire congregation as you blew it.
A couple methods
  • Seed influence…

This is one way to propagate change in a larger organization, but its slow, and requires a ton of effort and care. I’ve never done such on a small scale, but I think it would work their too.. but ymmv.

Invisible Change starts and must propagate from the top. Ie, if sr pastor is not on board… its not going to fly. If only sr pastor is on board, and the rest of the leadership team is wishwashy… making change without 100% buyin on leadership is like working in molasses. Possible, but a bear… but far too often results in interpersonal conflicts and fiefdoms building on other than the matter at hand resulting in significant distraction and disfunction.

Visible Change starts and must propagate from the bottom, but does require invisibe change support and infrastructure ready to roll. Leadership in such cases is loving, supporting, and encouraging… they have prebuilt a path during the night, but its filled with debris, scary stuff, and is messy. The path is not dictated by any means, and some plodding here or there is expected, as members see bits and pieces here or there, but as folks see fewer and fewer barriers, momentum starts to build. If given a chance, visible change from the bottom leverages the momentum of the masses, and that can be pretty powerful, in many cases, much more powerful that the resulting casualties due to dictatorial change.

The Priesthood of all believers is where visible and invisible change come together, pretty much irrespective of eccliesiastical structure. Leaders and followers exist, not so much as a means of social strata, or caste, but more so gifting, and order. Each person has different gifts. Just as the quiet wallflower type may not a dynamic sr pastor make, nor should an exhuberant yongster be expected to fill the needs of chaplaincy for the post 70 crowd. Yet… within a change in a congregation, all play a role, as they all become ministers of one type to one another. Even the gruff old type best exemplified by Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino is a huge part of this. As such, this is where knowing and loving end up being nearly as big a deal as traditional leadership.

Plan, dictate, and roll with it

A traditional approach, sort of like ripping off a band-aid or for my friends in the EU, a plaster as quickly as possible to minimize the pain. Expect some collateral damage… otoh, in small groups, or even in leadership teams, often times attacking change head on is the only way its going to happen. Otherwise the naysayers will put up new barriers everytime you take down another one… and such has derailed or plateued many a visionary idea, it doesnt matter how scriptural or devout one is… a few individuals can make a real mess of things, and in the process drive a pastor to dispair. On the other hand, eccliesiastical structure may preclude plan dictate and roll…

No matter the approach, knowing, loving, and leading is key


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