“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.”– Niccolo Machiavelli
Resistance to change is often rooted in fear. It’s the uncertainty of how the new future will affect our lives. Leaders who are effective change agents realise that it is not good enough to simply administrate change, but to avoid standing alone atop a charged hill, people need to envision a better future day for themselves or be able to attribute a worthwhile value for their sacrifice.
When unwanted change is thrust upon us from uncontrollable forces, then authenticity, clarity, and transparency in communication win the day to unite people behind the sacrifices needed to navigate the futures uncertainty.
lasting changes aren’t made, they are are led.
For the past eight years I have had the privilege to be a part of VitalChurch Ministry team. VitalChurch exists to serve those churches that find themselves in transition or crisis.
• Transition: A church that is stuck and needs redirection. Often a healthy church. • Crisis: A church that has experienced trauma and needs intervention. Often an unhealthy church.
We believe the gospel changes things, so our goal is to invite people to return to a place of intimacy with God through Christ and community with each other so that there is overall outcomes.
• A church healthy enough for people to come, meet God, grow, serve others, and offer the gospel to the greater geographic community.
• A church safe enough for a new pastor to come/stay, meet God, grow, and equip the church to serve and offer the gospel to the greater geographic community.
• Churches large and small operating in unity and effectiveness through a movement of the gospel that creates pockets of blessing, and that change the spiritual landscape for good.
I love the church….and I love my job.
Schedule the work not just the due date.
Meetings, Meetings, Meetings… Due dates and timelines. I have at times felt like I was drowning in meetings, and the pressure of projects. I would wake up on a given day and just react to whatever was next. Anxiety, stress, sleepless nights plagued my week.
I have been on a journey from being a “reactor” to responding to the time needs in my life. One of the key ways I have increased productivity while lowering stress while being more prepared for meetings and on time for projects has been one simple trick. Schedule when you plan on doing the work.
The due date is too late.
If you know you have a staff meeting on Monday morning, how much time do you need to be adequately prepared for it? Are you leading the meeting? are you presenting? Do you want to be stressing all weekend about it?
Schedule a “staff meeting prep” block days before the meeting. If it’s a reoccurring meeting then have a reoccurring prep time block to do the work. Show up ready, prepared, and able to respond rather than react.
Scheduling the “work time” rather than simply the due dates will reveal how much time you have to add new work or say no to other requests. It also prioritises your time to be more efficient with your week, resulting in higher productivity on things that matter most, while lowering stress.
Win the week.
Just days before the lockdown, I was in Orlando, Florida, at our VitalChurch Ministry Intentional Interim Pastor Training event. On the first morning when I went down to the lobby of the hotel for my breakfast, on the front page of the USA Today newspaper was the headline. The Tongue is Fire – Southern Baptist church fractures over secrets and spiritual abuse. With all that is going on in the world, a story of a small church and the pain and emotional distress caused by conflict, misuse of power and idolatry made the headlines.
Unfortunately in the United Kingdom this story is far too familiar, although it might not make the headlines anymore, this is an experience that impacts too many lives here in our own country.
Not all is doom and gloom, there is a resurgence in gospel centred church planting, and new expressions of church are popping up everywhere. During this time of Covid – 19 Pandemic bible sales are up, online church attendance is increasing, people are looking for comfort, truth, and answers to life’s big questions . So now, more than ever, there is a real need not only for new churches, but for the revitalisation of existing churches in the UK. With a rich history and resources, long serving churches have real potential to have some of the greatest positive impacts on people and the communities they live in. This is not a season to wait, it’s a season of opportunity and action.
How can the Church best serve your community today?
Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, and twenty four hours in a day. That’s what we get. no more, no less. We can’t make more of it, speed it up, slow it down. We got all we’re going to get.
If something needs to get done we cannot “make time” to do it.
If something on your list isn’t getting done; family, work, or fun, it might not be a product of time but of priority.
Re-evaluate what is most important and start allocating your finite time there. If something doesn’t get done make sure it is of low value, not the thing you value most.
Woke up Monday morning feeling pretty good about the church services on Sunday. Things went smoothly, the team was working well together, and it felt nice to get a few compliments and positive feedback on the sermon after the service.
The next day I can feel a little drained so the morning ritual takes a little longer with that extra cup of joe helping shake the fog. Open the email and there it is, pages and pages of “feedback” and it’s filled with smiley face emojis that just don’t seem to cover the cantankerous tone.
Of the two, which type of feedback keeps you up at night? Encouragement or criticism?
Leaders are always getting unsolicited feedback. Some positive and some less so. Process the negative for any lesson to be learned, acknowledge receipt, respond with grace, but move on.
Save the good stuff!
Create a folder for the encouraging emails. Shoebox for nice cards. Take a picture of a gift and make a note.
Leadership and feedback go hand in hand, and it can help to have a place to go to help reorient during those times when the bad outweighs the good.