Today is the day!
You can now buy a copy of my newest book, 100 Days To A Healthier Church!
Here’s an excerpt.
Chapter 2: What Can Be Done in 100 Days?
Turning a church from unhealthy to healthy is a daunting task.
It starts by working smarter, not harder.
Here’s an example.
The Paint Can: A Parable
In the 1990s, I led a small group of church members on a missions trip to Bucharest, Romania. The country was just a few years removed from one of the most oppressive, violent and evil regimes in modern history.
One afternoon we were taking a short break in our hotel. While we were talking, a hotel employee was painting a wardrobe in the hallway—one of those portable closets they use in Europe, like the one in C.S. Lewis’s classic book. But there was something about the way he was doing it that was strange.
The employee would brush on a few strokes of paint, disappear into the hotel room for thirty seconds or so, reappear to brush on a few more strokes, then disappear again. This kept repeating. Why?
Then it hit me.
Although the wardrobe was in the hallway, the can of paint was in the middle of the hotel room, so the painter was walking into and across the room for every single dip of paint! But why would he do that? Probably because that’s where everything was placed when he arrived. This painter was nearing retirement age, and he had been raised under an extraordinarily repressive regime in which you kept your head down and did the job you were given, no questions asked. Conformity was rewarded, and innovation was frowned upon.
This painter was taking three or four times longer to paint the wardrobe because he had been socially, mentally, and emotionally programmed by a corrupt system not to think for himself. It didn’t occur to him to perform one simple step that would have made his job exponentially easier, faster and better: move the can.
What is true of that painter is also true for far too many pastors and other church leaders. Many of us are pastoring under systems that were in place long before us, and it hasn’t occurred to us that we can move the paint can.
Like the tired painter in that hotel hallway, it’s tempting to leave things where they are right now and keep going through the motions. Turning an entire church around is like getting the entire room ready—far too big a task to even contemplate at the moment.