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Large-Scale Change Requires Courageous Decisions

Large-scale change is all around us.

“Times of large-scale change call for courageous decisions. Without those decisions, time sweeps the surface clean, preparing for a new start.”

Dr. John Palka

Your congregation has decided to lean in to the change and adjust, adapt and improve without surrendering the ever-so-important essence of who you are. Or your congregation is dangerously flirting with the consequences.

There are 3 types of decisions:

  1. The Self-Serving Decision…for the sake of heritage or comfort
  2. The Procrastinated Decision…for the sake of, well, indecision
  3. The Courageous Decision…for the sake of the mission of God

I’ve led through all three types of decisions in congregational life and in my own life.

I champion #3 most obviously.

I practice #2 most naturally.

And I see #1 most frequently.

Our “large-scale change” culture is forcing congregations to be abundantly clear. They’re either learning to disciple leaders, engage in mission and look to the future…or they’re not.

So, could I be bold?

My guess is that 50% of you reading this post have a “courageous decision” that needs to be made by your congregation and/or by you.


It is your #1 leadership challenge! It’s entrusted to you and probably the board, body or team alongside you.

There are two things I need to say, if you’re a 50%-er, that I think you need to hear:

1. My guess is that there are a lot more good things happening in your congregation than everyone realizes… whether there are 17 or 1,700 people in worship this Sunday. I’d love to have the marker and white board in front of your leaders, to ask and then write the list:

  • What do we love about our church?
  • Where do we see God working among His people?
  • What’s the good stuff we can build around?

And then I’d like to celebrate that!

2. You need the graceful, powerful working of God’s Spirit to break through as you take action… maybe even more that you realize. Your decision needs to be accompanied with regular, “God, would you do more than we can even ask or imagine,” prayers. Right?

In PLI learning communities I see participants/couples/congregations making bold and decisive decisions frequently oriented around the mission of God. I think it might be the

  • Clarity
  • Community
  • Courage

…they offer each other that empowers it!

Here’s what I know, if you’re a 50%-er:

If you're facing a courageous decision...1. You need to tell someone right away what you're thinking. Or procrastination will win the day...again. 2. You need to commit to an action. Just write it down. Now. 3. You can't go alone. You need to say to the team/the board, "Read this. Let's take courage."

AND… You need to honor and recognize what you have, be it a little or a lot:

  1. A little boy’s lunch served thousands (John 6).
  2. A stuttering shepherd got in front of an exodus (Exodus).
  3. A shunned Samaritan helped with the harvest (John 4).
  4. Ezekiel let God decide to clatter dry bones together (Ezekiel 37).

Finally, could I make a request?

New enrollments in PLI continue to come in. PLI is deeply thankful. Leaders are finding traction. Building vibrant communities. Enjoying deeper connections. Experiencing wider influence. But all of that challenges our capacity to serve each pastor and spouse or team well. Would you and/or your congregation make a monthly gift…little or large…to build courageous mission decisions into our congregations?

Thank you.

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