This is the last of a series of articles on making changes in the church. I have emphasized that it must be the right change, done at the right time, and in the right way. I even threw in an example of Community Bible Church in Crofton where an established church recently voted unanimously (with one abstention) to make major changes. Church leaders laid a solid foundation and did it at the right time and in the right way.
When I talk about doing it the right way, I am emphasizing the fact that even if you have the authority to implement the right change and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is the right time for that change, you can do it in an arbitrary way that alienates those who are needed to implement the change. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “It might have been the right thing to do, but it was done the wrong way.” Or, “I’m not upset about what he did, but how he did it.”
I have discovered that the right way can have a lot of moving parts that need to be identified and addressed. Here are a few of them:
A skilled leader will throw out ideas in informal settings, say over a cup of coffee. The Holy Spirit can filter the bad ones and reinforce the best ones. Then when a good idea is suggested, the leader who planted the seed of thought can say, “You know I think that idea has some promise.” Effective leaders create an environment where people are granted the freedom to suggest new ideas. That is an environment where multiple ideas are regularly discussed, evaluated, and prayed over. Then when changes are proposed, church members know that the idea has been thoroughly evaluated and prayerfully considered.
My prayer is that this series of articles will help you as you identify the right changes, implement them at the right time, and do it the right way.
Mark is in his twenty-seventh year of serving as an Associational Missions Strategist. He served in western Iowa for almost eight years, and is in his nineteenth year with HCN. He has a passion to see pastors and church leaders grow in their abilities to lead their churches. He continues to have a heart and desire to see new churches planted and God continues to use his strategic thinking skills in this area. Mark also has a wealth of experience in helping churches clarify who God has created them to be, and what they can do best to reach their community. He has had ample opportunities to help churches in times of conflict, and has seen God do exciting things to restore a spirit of harmony, returning churches to a time of fruitfulness. He also helps churches in transition by working with search committees. Mark and Phyllis who were married in November of 2018 have four children and three grandchildren. They will enjoy their combined 87th anniversary in just a few days.