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April 12, 2018Leadership

20 Truths from Leading Major Change in Your Ministry

God has an amazing capacity to use leaders in their present situation
20 Truths from Leading Major Change in Your Ministry
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1.God has an amazing capacity to use leaders in their present situation, while at the same time using that present situation to train them for future ministry challenges. (p. xvii)

2.When leaders serve their followers—meeting personal needs in practical ways—word gets around, your reputation for caring for followers is enhanced, and trust grows. (p. 10)

3.While meeting every need is impossible, showing concern and caring for someone in need is almost always possible. (p. 10)

4.Major change, like beauty, is often in the eye of the beholder. Like describing surgery (major on me, minor on you), what seems like a small change to one person is perceived as major change to another. (p. 14)

5.When people passionately devote themselves to mutual purposes, amazing progress is possible because supernatural results occur. God camps around people who embrace his mission and share his mission with each other. His presence was palpable as we went through the journey together. (p. 17)

6.The final question to answer when diagnosing the need for major change—“Am I willing to see the change to completion?”—is a gut-check for every leader. Major change takes time—often years—to plan, execute, and fully implement. The onerous part of major change is not the dreaming or launch phases; it is the completion phase. (p. 50)

7.Foundational to helping people through major change is this seminal idea: change is different than transition. Change is the new circumstances introduced into organizational life, i.e. a new staffing plan going into effect on a specific date. Transition, on the other hand, is the emotional, psychological, and spiritual adjustments people go through when change is implemented. (p. 53)

8.Some leaders feel any opposition—like asking questions about costs or timetables—is evidence of disobedience to God. It may, instead, be a natural part of processing the change. (p. 55)

9.Some leaders mistakenly think a longer presentation always carries more weight. Not necessarily true. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address—only 272 words—is still more powerful today than thousands of longer political speeches given by lesser leaders. Shorter can be better than longer. (p. 67)

10.As a younger leader, insecurity caused me to internalize and personalize opposition, usually interpreting it in black-and-white categories. People were either for me or against me. Reluctance and reticence equaled opposition—not just to my ideas but to God who had revealed his will for our ministry. Actualizing my security in Jesus Christ and was fundamental in helping me overcome this misconception and develop some discernment about the reasons people were reluctant to embrace change. (p. 68)

11.Many Christian leaders are pastors or pastors-at-heart. We want to shepherd a flock, not scatter the sheep. People are our business and they are not expendable. Yet, for the good of the whole, there are times when a leader has to make the difficult choice of separating someone from their church or ministry when their opposition impedes the organization’s mission. Courageous leaders are willing to make those tough decisions and live with the painful consequences. (p. 70)

12.Asking for the filling, controlling, and guiding of the Spirit is simple. Just do it. Make words like these part of regular devotional praying: “Lord, fill me today with your Holy Spirit. I confess my inadequacy and weakness. I need your sustaining power. Guide me today. Make me sensitive to your promptings and pliable to your leadings. 88)

13.To ensure risks are considered carefully and entered into with eyes-wide-open, major change mandates a thorough planning process. Winging it, even couched in spiritual language like “we just have to trust God,” is not sufficient. Yes, God must be trusted and plans should anticipate his intervention (see chapter 8). But trusting God should be part of a strategic plan—not its sum total. Hope is not a strategy. (p. 111)

14.When people are going through change, they crave (and that is not too strong a word) certain things from their leaders, which make the change more palatable. The more significant the change, the more intensely each of the following needs will be expressed. Followers need and want clear, consistent communication about the change, resources to help them accomplish the change, and recognition of the sacrifices they are making for the mission. (p. 121)

15.Since followers actually get the job done, wise leaders supply the resources necessary to accomplish major change. As a leader, make your followers more effective and maintain their morale by creating a realistic time line, laying out a reasonable plan, and supplying them with the tools needed to complete a major change. (p. 131)

16.God is not elusive, but our egos and sinful imperfection make sorting out his spiritual direction difficult. Good leaders are resolute, however, in wrestling with God (and themselves) until they have the clarity they need. It is a price leaders pay before leading others into major changes with such profound implications. (p. 157)

17.Conflict among leaders trying to decide about a major change can be a healthy part of the process when it engenders honest debate. As long as the debate remains focused on core issues, it will lead to greater insight and unity about the final decision. (p. 159)

18.The chief responsibilities for ministry leaders related to attacks from outside their organizations are two-fold. First, protect the ministry organization. Corporations, which most churches and ministries are, have legal rights and privileges which must be protected. It is within the ethical and moral purview of Christian leaders to use every legitimate means to enforce those rights. Second, minimize the influence of detractors on daily operations. Some leaders mistakenly focus too much public attention on their detractors. (p. 165)

19.Another common mistake is addressing conflict in a public forum—like preaching about it, mentioning it in a blog, or discussing it in a hallway conversation. Doing so is cowardly and deceitful. If a conflict needs to be addressed with a person or a group, meet with them directly and intentionally. (p. 168)

20.Focus on the ultimate objective—people transformed into a diverse, global community for God’s eternal companionship. With that end in view, major change becomes a joyful, obedient step in the right direction on the adventure of doing ministry in the twenty-first century. (p. 183)

Ed Stetzer holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College, is executive director of the Billy Graham Center, and publishes church leadership resources through Mission Group.

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