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.
Retiring in April 2022, Mark R. Elliott served as a Director of Missions (Associational Mission Strategist) in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska for almost three decades. He is a strong advocate for obedience and Biblically based disciple making. As such, he knows that making healthy disciples requires Christian leaders to be constantly pursuing spiritual maturity—be lifelong learners. Because of the time constraints of ministry, most pastors focus their reading list on resources that assist them in teaching and preaching the Word of God. As such, books focusing on church health, leadership development, and church growth tend to find their way to the bottom of the stack. With that reality in mind, Mark has written discussion summaries on several books that have helped him to personally grow in Christ and that tend to find themselves on the bottom of most pastor’s stack. Many pastors have found them helpful as they are able to more quickly process great insights from other pastors and authors.
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