Do You Trust Your Pilot?

Can you remember a time when you were flying in a plane and it made a sudden turn that made you feel scared, helpless, and wondering if you could trust the pilots to get you to your destination safely? Do you remember feeling out of control, as someone else was in charge and your fate was in their hands?

Working for an organization, including a church or ministry, is kind of like a plane in flight. The senior leaders are up front getting data from private channels and have a perspective out the windshield that no one else has. Most people on the proverbial plane are going about their lives without considering the competency of the pilots’ leading, until there is a hard turn and they feel it.

A commercial pilot in our church explained these turns as “bank angles” where one wing stoops down. He said that the response of the passengers directly correlates to the degree of the turn. For example:

  • 25–30 degrees: 1.1–1.2 g-force on the body, most people won’t feel a thing.
  • 45 degrees: 1.5 g-force, people start to feel it.
  • 60 degrees: 2-2.5 g-force, people really feel it and start to freak out.
  • 70–80 degrees: Around 5 g-force, people start getting tunnel vision as the blood rushes out of their eyes.

Ideally, an organization makes as many 25–30 degree turns as possible. If so, there can be ongoing changes and course corrections without people freaking out and panicking, running through the proverbial cabin. But, sometimes a really hard turn simply has to be made. Those on the plane usually don’t understand why, because they neither have the data nor see the reality that’s confronting the pilots flying the plane. Those on the plane have five basic options on how they will respond when the organizational plane makes a hard-banked angle turn:

1. JUMP OUT OF THE PLANE

Stand up, freak out, make a scene, grab a parachute, and jump out of the plane with your résumé in hand hoping to land a job somewhere else. If you are really freaked out and negative, you can try and take as many passengers with you as possible, which is in your mind some kind of heroic act.

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Mark Driscoll

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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