Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday Meanderings on Church and Leadership VI

Any organization, when given the option, will choose to settle. It is both human and organizational nature to get to a place of comfort and stay there.

But comfort and settling are antonyms for growth and transformation.

In order to experience breakthrough, sometimes we have to change the way we do things.

For instance, the church that I serve in hit a growth barrier at around 350-400 people in attendance 7 or 8 years ago. This is a common plateau point for organizations, particularly of churches.

And business as usual will create business as usual.

There are barriers at 75 people, 150 people, 350 people and more on down the road that demand a culture shift in order to breakthrough to new growth. Churches who settle will plateau and then decline.

Here are a few culture shifts that I think are vitally important at the 350 person barrier.

-You have to be willing to move from a family oriented church to a mission oriented church. You no longer can concern yourself with making sure everyone knows everyone in the church. You need to have a God given Mission and Vision and it needs to drive everything you do.
-Your leader has to move from a pastor to a preacher/visionary. This transition can be hard for either the people in the church or the pastor. The people have to go from a mindset of "I'm in the hospital...Pastor better visit me" to "I'm in the hospital and my small group will care for me." The people need to want their pastor not to come see them for minor, routine surgeries. Equally as difficult is the pastor's transition to a new role. The pastor must be constantly visioncasting and dreaming of where the church needs to go and spending the bulk of their work week designing worship that will inspire and empower people to live their lives for Christ. The pastor has to let go of being the point person for every committee, group and team. The pastor has to let go of the pressure they feel to be the pastoral care for every church member (those who are fully committed and those that are on the fringes of commitment). And the pastor has to defer and refer to others for the majority of counseling. If people in the church want to meet with the head pastor...the head pastor has to think "No" first. Not that the person isn't important, but that the vision and mission is more important. The people who get this will be glad the lead pastor says no and be glad to pursue other church staff who can offer counseling and care.

You want to settle where you're at and so does your church. And when you cease to live with purpose and risk, you will become stagnant and eventually head towards death.

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