First Steps in Leading toward Change

During these two weeks, I have tried to help you assess your church by providing ten questions about each of the purposes of the church: worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, prayer, and fellowship, with other questions about your church’s biblical foundation and global commitment. I trust these questions have been helpful to you. Today’s suggestions are designed to help you get started in addressing any issues raised in your analysis.

  1. Recommit your life to the task of leading your congregation. Like the Hebrews at multiple times in their journey (e.g., Joshua 24), renew your covenant and commitment to the work of God. It may not hurt to tell your church about your renewed spirit.
  2. Build a relationship with a non-believer. One serious risk of internal congregational evaluation is the tendency to turn inward in the process. Find a non-believing friend, and pour your life into him during this process. Doing so will help you keep one foot in the church and the other in the world that needs Jesus. 
  3. Get somebody on board to work with you. You need not be tackling issues by yourself. Find someone in the church who will walk with you, pray for you, pick you up when necessary, and rejoice with you when God gives victory. Knowing you are not alone is huge when leading a church.
  4. Celebrate the positives. I assume you found some positives in your church during the last two weeks of evaluation. If so, thank God for them. Tell the church about them. Note them in the worship bulletin. Celebrating victories will make tackling change easier.
  5. Gently help your church see room for improvement. Until a church is concerned about their status quo, they will be unlikely to change. Lovingly show them reality (e.g., introduce them to a changing community, show them their growth patterns, etc.) while also casting vision for what God might do. 
  6. Pray through any obstacles you face. Obstacles can either (a) discourage you so you give up or (b) challenge you so you pray. Obstacles that cause you to turn to God for His strength and guidance are not bad. Trust Him as you march forward on your knees.
  7. Fix the easiest “fixes” right now. My guess is you know some things that can be corrected quickly, with little risk or cost – but that simply have not yet been completed. Look for some easy wins, and then just do what you know you need to do. Even the smallest victory will encourage you to press ahead.
  8. Consider the most important “hard” fixes right now. Some changes will not be easy, but they are still necessary. Based on your analysis through the last two weeks, what “hard” fixes are most significant in the life of your congregation today? Work with your team to determine the wisest steps to deal with the hard fixes. Even having the discussion is a step in the right direction.
  9. Invest in a next generation church leader in the process. On one hand, you need the person described in #2 above. On the other hand, you need to be investing in the next generation at the same time. Let somebody walk beside you and learn from you in this renewal process.
  10. Plan to evaluate again six months from now. Evaluation is a never-ending process. In fact, somebody will be evaluating your congregation even if you don’t. Take the lead. Make assessment a regular part of your process.        

What steps would you add?


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