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The 3 Non-Negotiables for Congregational Change

Every day, leaders wake up knowing that their congregation must navigate change or distance itself from being a vibrant community with wider influence.

Here’s the problem: Inertia wakes up even earlier every day and has already resolved itself to fend off any feeble attempts at desperately needed change that would challenge status quo.

So, here are 3 essentials the leader(s) must deliver for congregational change!

INSPIRING VISION

Give people an inspiring, motivating, uplifting vision that’s big enough to overcome the “just stay here” status quo. People are afraid to try new things…afraid they’ll fail…afraid it won’t work. Give them a picture of what could be.

DISSATISFACTION

Clarify why we can’t stay on the present path. Name reality. Don’t make excuses. Don’t call it something that it’s not. People need to have a burning conviction that it would be unconscionable for us to do nothing and to be content with status quo.

FIRST STEPS

Clearly articulate the first few steps down the path from “here,” where it would be unconscionable to stay, to “there,” the vision of a new and different reality.

So for congregational leaders this is not easy.

You need…

  • Clarity around your own identity and purpose.
  • A God-inspired sense of vision or direction…not a used, borrowed one from another congregation.
  • A team of leaders…the board, the staff, the ad hoc committee that can straighten their backs and summon courage and resolve to lead together.

Because…

  • Church members want stability, especially when the world around them is unpredictable and unstable. (Some of the others became frustrated and discouraged and have already left your church.) They’ll pursue status quo until they die, never realizing that status quo is killing them…until they die.
  • Initial, emotional resistance causes most leaders to flinch before a thoughtful consideration of facts can be made.
  • It’s more difficult than you think…some days gaining ground, other days slipping backwards.
  • These are areas that should have been resolved a few years ago. There are other areas that have emerged that you as leaders don’t want to admit even exist.

So? Go get ‘em, tiger! I have such deep conviction that God sees a so much better and brighter future for so many congregations than most allow themselves to see, or to lead toward. And the end product, what PLI is passionate about, is not better church organizations but more and more people being welcomed into the family of faith through the work of the Holy Spirit in healthy, God-following congregations like yours.

Let me suggest three things:

  • You already know something that needs to change in your congregation. Which of the 3 essentials needs more work by you?
  • Pick your “leadership group.” Pass this along. Roll up your sleeves together. It’s urgent.
  • Leadership Essentials fastens down the core leadership building blocks for leaders like you. Take a look. Contact Raechel if you want to know more.

Jock Ficken
Rev. Dr. Jock Ficken

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