Getting Your New Church Unstuck
Your interview process is now complete. Soon, you will be moving to a new church and a new church leadership role. The church hired you because they realize they have been hoping (and praying) for different results while clinging to the same ministry approach they’ve used for years. The church’s vision is blurred and every individual ministry seems to have its own mission and agenda.
Your new church wants you to lead them to positive change. They are expecting to see new families and new faith. You have been hired to help them get unstuck. The fact is - change is hard, but necessary. There will be learning curves, old traditions, ineffective church team members and financial constraints to overcome. New pastors can get their churches unstuck by focusing on the following values:
• Value mission over methods - We live in a fast-paced society. The ministry methods you were using at your last church probably need to change. Don’t assume that all of your previous ministry successes will be successful in your new environment. Every church is very different. Sir Francis Bacon once said, “If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never attempted.” The mission of the gospel should never change but methods must always change. Clearly communicate to your team that they can expect to see methods changing on a regular basis.
• Value innovative breakthroughs over incremental improvements - Incremental improvements are good but why waste time only slightly improving the very systems responsible for getting the organization stuck? The real question you should be asking is, “What next steps can we take to create an innovative breakthrough that will help get us unstuck?”
• Value risk over safety - Your new church is probably stuck because they are afraid of failure. Church team members likely have innovative ideas but they don’t want to step out of their comfort zones. Make it clear from the beginning that you are going to reward people for taking risks.
• Value superteams over superstars - A church team generates better ideas and delivers better results every time. There’s a lot of power in “we.” And, when its “our” change, its easier to implement. Make your church leadership team a top priority. Consider a staffing and structure review to determine whether or not current team members are well positioned to accomplish the vision. This will help you evaluate whether or not each member of the team has the leadership ability to accomplish the vision of the church.
• Value alignment over individual accomplishment - Your new church needs a focused and clear mission for everyone to follow. Identify the strategy to accomplish the mission to keep everyone on the same page. This can be accomplished by creating a strategic operating plan. Embrace a commitment to unify communications and core values of the church. Make sure that no individual ministry is operating independently from the rest of the church. Each ministry should be working together in unity toward a common mission.
• Value action over analysis - Your new church has probably spent years trying to develop the perfect strategy or solution without actually moving forward. You
have a perfect opportunity to change this cycle. It’s very simple. Try new ideas and if they don’t work, stop.
God is giving you the opportunity to achieve results never before accomplished. Getting unstuck always involves change but fortunately, God loves change. He loves the fresh and new. Your new church hired you because they believe that you are the one who can help them get unstuck. Don’t be afraid to employ methods never before attempted. Be willing to change.
Tony Morgan is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of TonyMorganLive.com. He’s a consultant, leadership coach and writer who helps churches get unstuck and have a bigger impact.
Align to the Vision Tool, Gene Mitchell, Volunteer Leader at Centerpoint Church
Unifying Your Communications Strategy, Granger Community Church
Take the Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps to Building a Healthy Senior Leadership Team, Tony Morgan