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...
Church Vision: 5 Benchmarks and Evaluation Guide

Church Vision: 5 Benchmarks and Evaluation Guide

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 “Where there is no vision the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18 How many times have you seen that verse thrown around in church without any context? Did you know that this oft-quoted sentence is really only half of the verse? Did you know that the King James Version (translated in the 17th century when there was little to no concept of the word “vision” as we understand it in contemporary language) is one of the very few translations which uses the word vision in this verse? Take a look at the more modern English Standard Version of the entire Proverbs 29:18: “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” “Prophetic vision” is certainly different than what we normally mean when we say “vision.” As a consultant, no one wants this verse to be about strategic planning more than me. But it’s not. The point of this verse is to say that without Divine direction, Godly wisdom, and insight from the Lord people tend to run wild. Only when they have been given boundaries through instruction do they experience truer joy. A more accurate paraphrase would be this: where this is no Biblical, convicting preaching, sin will abound. This article isn’t about...
What to Do When Vision Leaks

What to Do When Vision Leaks

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  “Some leaders believe that if they fill people’s vision buckets all the way to the top one time, those buckets will stay full forever. But the truth is, people’s buckets have holes of varying sizes in their bottoms. As a result, vision leaks out.” – Bill Hybels, Leadership Axioms   I don’t know if you’ve ever heard Bill Hybels speak before, but the man loves buckets. I must have heard three or four different messages from him that included some sort of a bucket analogy. But, I have to admit, this is one example where it truly works. Those of us who serve on church staffs are fully immersed in church culture every moment of every day. So when our church decides on a vision, staff have smaller “holes” in their “buckets” and so vision leaks much more slowly. It still leaks. Have you ever spoken with a burnt-out pastor or staffer who has lost touch with his passion? Vision has totally leaked out of his bucket. But for those who are outside of the day-to-day ministry grind, vision leaks even faster. Hybels continues from the quote above: “You or I could deliver a mind-blowing, God-honoring, pulse-quickening vision talk on Sunday that leaves everyone revved up to go change the world, but by...