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10 Learnings to Lead Change and a Plan for if Next Year is not 1989

In my early leadership years, Lyle Schaller, a mentor from afar, used to say something like:

If next year is 1989, there’s a lot of churches that are primed and ready to go! But if next year is 2019….

1,000 Young Leaders will deploy missionary disciples from your congregation to help you take on your 2019 greatest challenge of reaching a generation that’s regularly prayed for but mostly absent in most churches.

It’s true most churches are desperately locked somewhere in the past forcing them to serve tired programs and abandon the Mission of God that should be central to their life! That God in Christ longs to reconcile a world to Himself.
In a small or medium sized church, a recalcitrant couple of folks can block most efforts toward 2019. Alternatively, a few mission-passionate influencers with some leadership fundamentals can launch a new direction.
Large churches? It’s more complex. Not necessarily more difficult, just more complex. Senior Leader  starts in May and offers the necessary tools.

Here are 10 Learnings to Lead Change and Live to Tell About it

Here’s a simple tool!

If it’s time to reset your congregational direction or you’re new in leadership, this will work. It builds congregational engagement for change. You can listen for your “congregational code” and build your “this” is “that” vocabulary.

  • Gather people in groups of 20+/-. (You can invite them or let them sign up for a convenient time.)
  • You as the leader? Listen a lot and talk a little.
  • Share a simple meal together.
  • Here’s the program…
    • Offer a prayer and Scripture that briefly frames your expectations for the gathering.
    • Ask each person to share a time, an event or story they recall of our congregation at its best. (Listen for the code. Affirm their stories. Remember them so you tell the stories yourself.)
    • Collect three different lists (one at a time) on paper on the wall from the participants:
      • What would you like to keep and not lose in our church?
      • What would you like to change?
      • What would you like to add?
    • Prioritize. Give everyone 5 or 6 sticky dots to pick those they regard as most important from any of the lists.
    • Tell them that the priorities from every group will be compiled and reported back before being given to the congregational leaders to propose actions.
    • Ask for observations about the experience before you close with prayer and then ask God to do something miraculous in us and as a result of this. (Seriously, you need God to do what only God can do!)
    • And, ask them to tell their friends who aren’t sure they want to come.

Too many churches stopped dreaming what God might want to do through them a long time ago.

So, here’s a simple request:

  • There are probably 2 or 3 people that could raise your leadership game in your congregation. Share this with them. Tell them so.
  • 1000 Young Leaders. Lend your influence. Sign up or talk to someone who should sign up. (Use one of the videos and the information to introduce them. Contact our connections team.
  • Pray with Gail and me and the team for God to do what only God can do. Seriously!  Pray for God to do what only God can do.


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