Managing Change in a Change-Averse Church

Managing Change in a Change-Averse Church

People want the results of change without the pain of change. Most churches want to reach more people and make more disciples. The frustrating reality is that at least 65% of churches in America are not growing. They aren’t reaching more people. They rarely baptize an unbeliever. Families are leaving their church in droves—or left years ago. What most pastors know, and what most congregations suspect, is that massive change is needed in order to see different results. But most churches are simply unable to make the necessary changes. Note the word “unable.” This is different than unwilling. My consulting experience informs me that the majority of struggling churches have no serious qualms with theoretical change. It’s actual change that they struggle with. It’s taking the step from admitting the need for change to committing to change where congregations stumble. As leaders, we have to stop assuming that churches don’t want to change and start assuming that they do. Because then our focus shifts from criticizing to building the bridge for implementing strategic change. So how can you manage change in a change averse congregation? 1) Win support of some key players. Pastors often believe that to implement major change that they have to get the buy-in of the whole church. This is false. You couldn’t get your whole church to agree on what flavor ice cream is best; why would you think you could get them all to agree on a change process that will be undeniably painful for a season? Instead, target a handful of people in the church who have influence with others. Very often, the...
Sears and the Church Are Losing Influence

Sears and the Church Are Losing Influence

“Put on your Sunday’s best, kids, we’re going to Sears!” Even in 1995 when The Brady Movie came out, this scene was more than a bit silly. Today, it’s tragic. There really was a day in America when Sears was the pinnacle of retail, and taking a trip there was family fun. These days, walking through a Sears is usually depressing. They’re doing their best, but the company has just lost touch. When you need tools, you probably think about Lowe’s, Home Depot, or a local hardware store. When you need electronics, you probably think of Best Buy. When you need clothes, you think of Gap or Old Navy—or even a place like Target. Truthfully, you probably think about Amazon for all of these things. Right? Sears used to have a place in the American mind and culture, but it just doesn’t anymore. The same is true about the church. Many Christians do not see the church as necessary for spiritual growth.People understand spirituality to be personal, and they think that they can grow on their own. The church bleeds fastest among its youth. The problem is not that the church isn’t “cool” enough. But young people recognize the dissonance between what the church says and what the church does If the church is not really going to be about making and growing disciples, there are a thousand different ways young people would rather spend their time. They will not keep coming just because of habit or tradition, and Sunday morning church does not hold the cultural weight it once did. I don’t think we can really blame young people,...
Church Leaders Are the Problem

Church Leaders Are the Problem

BREAK THROUGH BARRIERS. MAXIMIZE YOUR IMPACT. I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours.   I work with The Malphurs Group to help your church grow the right way.   Download my free guide and learn 10 Simple Secrets that keep guests from leaving through the back door (and attract more first-timers). Yes! Send It Now More than 80% of churches are plateaued or in decline, and church leaders are the problem. That’s harsh, but it’s the truth. As a consultant with The Malphurs Group, I hear a lot of the same questions: How can my church grow? How can we reach millennials? How can we do better at discipleship? How can we increase the number of volunteers? How can we better impact our community? These are great questions. In Strategic Envisioning with TMG, we spend six to eight months to address these topics and more. But the greatest barrier to your church’s success is not your strategy, it is your church leaders. Some of the churches we work with are able to implement strategy development and see genuine growth and revitalization. Some churches cannot. The difference–always–is the effectiveness of the church leaders. Here are five symptoms of church leaders that are a problem: 1. Church leaders at the highest-level are making decisions at the lowest-level. When church leaders are making decisions about carpet, paint, bulletin design, and facility upkeep, they have become derelict in their role as the spiritual and vision leaders of the church. If the church lacks systems and teams to handle tactical decisions, the board will assume the duty. It has to be done....
Megachurch Resignations: 10 Lessons for All of US

Megachurch Resignations: 10 Lessons for All of US

BREAK THROUGH BARRIERS. MAXIMIZE YOUR IMPACT. I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours.   I work with The Malphurs Group to help your church grow the right way.   Download my free guide and learn 10 Simple Secrets that keep guests from leaving through the back door (and attract more first-timers). Yes! Send It Now Add Pete Wilson to the growing list of megachurch pastors who are no longer in their positions. Pete Wilson is unique. Ostensibly, he has resigned of his own volition, outside of the recommendation (or demand) of his board. Other recent removals had a different flavor: – Perry Noble for alcohol dependency. – Darrin Patrick for leadership abuses and boundary issues. – Tulian Tchividjian for an affair. – Israel Houghton for divorcing his wife, followed promptly by a questionable relationship. – Mark Driscoll for leadership abuses. My guess is you might have a local pastor to add to that list–who was leading a growing church (if not a megachurch), but isn’t anymore. What you won’t find here is a condemnation of any of these pastors. There is enough of that on the Internet, and it is not helpful. Even if the criticisms are legitimate, as they sometimes are, the bully pulpit of an article isn’t the best place to air them. What we do need to understand is how this series of high-profile resignations is actually a bellwether moment for all of us. Resist the temptation to see this as a megachurch resignations problem, and understand its implications for you. At your church. In your position. So what are the implications—for pastors and...
Maximize the Church Summer Slump: Part 1

Maximize the Church Summer Slump: Part 1

BREAK THROUGH BARRIERS. MAXIMIZE YOUR IMPACT. I'm Scott Ball, a strategy and leadership consultant for churches like yours.   I work with The Malphurs Group to help your church grow the right way.   Download my free guide and learn 10 Simple Secrets that keep guests from leaving through the back door (and attract more first-timers). Yes! Send It Now The sun is up, the breeze is cool, and the pews are empty. Let’s be honest with each other: the church summer slump is a real thing. It’s not uncommon for churches to experience a 15-30% reduction in attendance in June and July, and it can be a bit depressing. Resources are harder to come by in every way: fewer volunteers, fewer band members, fewer dollars in the offering. Less. So it begs the question: How can we maximize the church summer slump? The reality is that people will continue to travel, enjoy nice weather, and take advantage of extra family time in the summer. Let’s not fight it. [Note: If you’re worried in particular about how to keep financially viable through the summer, read this brief article from FellowshipOne with a few tips. Don’t worry, I’m not an affiliate for them; it’s just a good, short article on how to tackle giving during the summer.] Instead of attempting to reverse the church summer slump, let’s get more this summer by focusing on what we have less time for during the busy season. This is going to be a five-part blog series. Each post will be relatively short, giving quick tips on how to maximize one area of focus during the church summer slump. —...