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Exposing Conflicting Values… The 3 Bold Steps of an Adaptive Leader

  • We live in a highly secularized culture. Often dismissive. Sometimes hostile.
  • Churches face the choice of adapting or disconnecting from their worlds.
  • The Spirit still works through the Word of God in all manner of contexts.

As a result, leaders need to expose conflicting values in our collective hearts if we’re going to take on the adaptive challenges before us.

1000YL is a response to congregations desiring to reach the 20’s and 30’s that are absent from our churches.
I spent the morning with a delightful retired entrepreneur earlier this summer. He explained with a smile…

14 years ago the Cooper Clinic gave me an attitude adjustment.

  • Stop drinking hard liquor
  • Stop drinking diet coke
  • Stop chewing tobacco

I stopped then and there. I’m alive today as a result. 75 pounds less of me. Attitude adjusted!

Everyone needs an attitude adjustment from time to time.

We all have stuff where we think we can beat the system or even cheat death. Right?

  • Lose weight
  • Invest in my marriage
  • Feed my own soul
  • Exercise
  • Build deeper friendships

…but we don’t.

Churches need an attitude adjustment.

So, no surprise that churches do the same. Right?
You could walk into any one of thousands of churches today and hear them say…

  • We need to reach more people. More new members.
  • We need to reach more young adults/families.
  • We need more money in our budget to pay the bills.
  • (Most of the times these have less to do with fulfilling mission and more to do with organizational well being.)

…..but churches and their leaders make no changes, make no efforts to do anything about it… or their efforts are blunted by inertia or opposition.
We should always challenge closely held values when they conflict with faithfully living out the Mission of God!

Leaders facilitate attitude adjustment when they expose conflicting values.

Let’s be honest. You have church members who choose to ignore the Mission of God to reach a world for whom Christ died because they value…

  • Personal comfort
  • Familiarity
  • Preservation of heritage and tradition
  • Their sacred worship hour
  • Donuts with their after worship coffee

Here are some high stakes conflicting values:

An immigrant church with immigrant members (Ethiopia, Liberia, Hispanic, etc.) values worshipping in their familiar, heart language but also values their 2nd generation English speaking “American” children (who reject their parents language) being discipled in their church, too.

We value an ordained pastor leading worship in our sanctuary but we also value reaching a millennial generation, including our own sons and daughters, that refuses to enter our sanctuaries (they’re disgusted or disinterested with some of the things that happen in churches).

A changing neighborhood church values its historic building and refuses to adapt to the new people in its neighborhood. They also refuse to say goodbye to their building and relocate to a community that the church might be better equipped to reach. And, they want to grow.

So, what conflicting values in your congregation need to be named and explored?

Most churches fail to take on their greatest challenges because they lack the leadership capacity to address them.

And, most churches are never positioned to take on those challenges because leaders don’t expose conflicting values and struggle through the conflict attached with addressing those conflicting values.
Finally, here are 3 bold actions:

  1. Identify the conflicting values in your own leadership life.
  2. Share this blog with your own leadership circle. Ask them to help you make a list of the “conflicting values” needing to be named.
  3. Prioritize the “conflicting values” critical for your congregation to take on its greatest challenge and take action.

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