Eight Steps to Lead Change in Your Church

  • 14 November 2016
  • Randy Wollf

Geese flyingIn their book The Heart of Change, John Kotter and Dan Cohen outline eight steps for leading change within an organization. I have adapted their framework for leading change within the church which I will outline in this blog (an extended version of this content is available through video on MinistryLift's YouTube channel). This entire process is one that must be bathed in prayer as we seek to discern and surrender ourselves to God’s priorities.

1. Increase a Sense of Urgency

People are unlikely to engage in significant change initiatives unless they feel an urgency to do so. Crises can help people realize that change is necessary, but this isn’t the only way to ignite a sense of urgency. You can also do this by communicating a compelling vision and sharing stories that motivate people to take action.

2. Build a Guiding Team

The purpose of this step is to pull together a group of people who have enough capacity and credibility within the congregation to implement the necessary change. One of the key roles of this team is to facilitate widespread participation in the change discussions. The extent to which people engage meaningfully in the process will contribute to their long-term commitment to the plan (and their willingness to make sacrifices to implement it).

3. Get the Right Vision

Are You Doing Ministry Like An Angry Tourist?

  • 8 November 2016
  • Geoff Kullman

Angry TouristAre you doing ministry like an angry tourist? It’s a serious question and an important one to answer if we are to have any hope of effectively communicating to a new generation of millennials.

Let me explain:

Imagine yourself on vacation in a foreign country. Maybe your mind’s eye takes you to an urban metropolis where you take in the sights and sounds that only a place like Paris or Shanghai can offer. Or perhaps your dream destination is a nearly-secluded tropical villa serving umbrella-laden drinks all day long.

Got your vacation destination locked in? Good.

Next, imagine yourself browsing around some of the local shops. It’s probably one of those tourist trap places filled with cheesy “I went to [insert location] and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” shirts and stuffed animals embossed with whatever the city’s tourist slogan happens to be this year.

You’ve found a few items that pass the grunt test and you go to the cashier to pay—only, there’s a problem with your credit card machine. Suddenly, you and the cashier are trying to communicate with each other to solve this life-defining transaction of plush toys and tourist apparel when you realize that they don’t speak a word of English.

And that’s when it happens: you become an angry tourist.

In this moment of frustration at the inability to effectively communicate, you start to yell, scream, and insult their intelligence simply because they don’t know how to speak your language even though you are in their country.

It can be difficult news for people of faith to admit, but we now live in a post-Christian era, a time in history when the gospel narrative is no longer the story that our culture or country holds in common. In many ways, we must now consider ourselves foreigners speaking a different language even within our own country.

How to Avoid the Summer Collapse

  • 8 June 2016
  • Keith Reed

Dads and grads receive a lot of attention during the month of June. But this is also the season when many church programs near their finish line. For some ministry leaders, this means added responsibilities. This can also mean more hours and more stress. 

June might feel like the final leg of your ministry marathon and your lungs might be screaming for you to stop. You might find yourself dreaming of a post-marathon collapse, but if you choose to jump off the treadmill before cooling down, you will feel the effects of this decision for the rest of the summer.

Cooling down is essential for the well-being of yourself and the people around you. The discipline of gradually slowing yourself to a stop will help you recover from what you just completed and also prepare you for what’s next. The result is better short-term health with the added bonus of long-term sustainability.

Your mind, body, and spirit need adequate recovery time and slamming on the brakes after exiting the highway is a dangerous idea. I’m not suggesting that you cancel your vacation plans or ignore the urge to recline your chair. These are critical components to the leadership cycle. Just make sure that you ease into your recovery time so that when you fully disengage from your ministry responsibilities you can recuperate more restfully. 

Here are some suggestions for your cool down cycle:

  • Use your rear-view mirrors 
    Look back on the past season of ministry. What went well and why? Did you reach your goals and accomplish your ministry objectives? What will you do differently next time?

  • Check your blind spots
    Is there a critical issue or challenge that will require additional attention over the summer? Think of scenarios like leadership needs, technology changes, new initiatives, or approaching deadlines.

  • Express your gratitude  
    As you evaluate the past season, pay attention to the contributions that your team members have made. Find creative ways of thanking them and do this in ways that they will most appreciate.