Understanding the Importance of the Critical Path in Your Next Ministry Project

The longest string of dependent, non-compressible tasks is the critical path.

Every complicated project is the same. Many people working on many elements, some of which are dependent on others. I want a garden, which means I need grading, a bulldozer, a permit, seeds, fertilizer, irrigation, weeding, planting, maintenance and time for everything to grow. Do those steps in the wrong order, nothing happens. Try to grow corn in a week by giving it a bonus or threatening to fire it, nothing happens…

Critical path analysis works backward, looking at the calendar and success and at each step from the end to the start, determining what you’ll be waiting on.

For example, in your mind’s eye, the garden has a nice sign in front. The nice sign takes about a week to get made by the sign guy, and it depends on nothing. You can order the sign any time until a week before you need it. On the other hand, you can’t plant until you grade and you can’t grade until you get the delivery of soil and you can’t get the delivery until you’ve got a permit from the local town.

Which means that if you’re the person in charge of both the sign and the permit, do the permit first.

That’s obvious, right? And yet…

And yet most organizations focus on shiny objectives or contentious discussions or get sidetracked by emergencies instead of honoring the critical path.

Thirty years ago, I led a team of forty people building an incredibly complex series of products, all of which had to ship in time for the Christmas selling season. The stakes were pretty high: if we missed by even one day, the entire company was going to fold.

We did some critical path analysis and pretty quickly identified the groups of people that others would be waiting on as each stage of the project developed. It’s a relay race, and right now, these four people are carrying the baton.

I went out and got some buttons–green and red. The deal was simple: If you were on the critical path, you wore a green button. Everyone else wore red. When a red button meets a green button, the simple question is asked, “how can I help?” The president will get coffee for the illustrator if it saves the illustrator three minutes. In other words, the red button people never (ever) get to pull rank or interrupt a green button person. Not if you care about critical path, not if you care about shipping.

Once you’re aware of who’s on the path, you understand the following: delaying the critical path by one hour at the beginning of the project is the very same thing as delaying the entire project by an hour at the very end.

Rush early, not late. It’s cheaper that way, and better for your peace of mind, too.

Read more from Seth here.

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Seth Godin

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Clarity Process

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Answering the “What Ifs” of Mentoring Young Leaders

There will be a whole new set of leaders in your organization in the next few years.  The leaders of today will be long forgotten.  Some will have retired, others moved on to new callings and others simply dropped out of ministry.  Regardless of the reason, the reality is the leadership picture of your organization will change. If we care about the long-term effectiveness and impact of our mission then leadership development must be a priority today.  That means we need to be looking among the next generation to see who can take up the mantel of leadership and give them the coaching and experience they need to lead well.

So what do tomorrow’s leaders look like today? This is an important question because while we may have a few good years left, our job is to identify and develop the leaders of tomorrow.  So back to our question- what do tomorrow leaders look like today?

They’re idealistic – Many young leaders haven’t had their first big humbling failure yet.  So they’re idealistic, have all the answers and quick with an opinion.  They believe they have a better way.  The only problem is they haven’t worn the shoes of leadership long enough to really know.  Once they get a few good failures under their belt they’ll be all the wiser.  But that’s not a good reason to hold them back from trying.  Why not allow them to get some “failure” experience under the watchful eye of a wiser experienced leader?  I love young idealistic leaders, they stretch me, and they challenge my thinking.  They remind me to trust God rather than logic. They remind me not to say, “We’ve never done it that way before.”  Yes, idealism can be dangerous, but it can also has its advantages.  They tend to think, “What if?’ more than a seasoned leader.  So what might happen if you intersect the wisdom and experience of a seasoned leader with the enthusiasm and idealism of a young leader?

They’re raw and unpolished –  Have you ever gone gem mining?  When my kids were young they loved going to the mountains of Tennessee to dig through the dirt looking for these hidden treasures.  They would spend hours digging, sifting, searching until they would discover the rare gem among the rubble.  It didn’t look impressive at first but once they spent some time cleaning and polishing they held a shiny prize in their hand that they would proudly display in their room.  Young leaders can be raw and unpolished.  It’s easy to judge them for their lack of discernment and discipline.  It’s tempting to put them aside deeming them unready. But those who invest development time and energy when these unpolished leaders are young will discover a strong leader they can trust and empower in a few short years.

They’re unproven –  Young leaders don’t have much of a track record.  They’re experience is minimal and not well rounded.  They may have a success or two but can they repeat it?  However they do have energy, ideas, gifts and strengths that make them a high powered package of potential.  What if we saw it sooner rather than later?  What if we developed it today rather than tomorrow?  What if we went to work shaping them immediately rather than eventually? What if we got ahold of them before they were ready?  What if we gave them opportunities that were never given to us at that age?  What if we exposed them to great places, great organizations and great people while their minds are still moldable and impressionable?  What if we shared some of our leadership responsibility with them, passed along some of our credibility and shared some platform? When you invest in a young leader this way you not only help them build their character and competency but you’re also helping them establish their leadership credibility.

I’m always amazed when I think about how young some of the great biblical leaders were.  Joseph stepped into leadership as overseer of the Captain of the Guard in Egypt at age seventeen (Gen 37:2). Josiah was only eight when he became king!  Okay that may be a little to young, but he reigned for thirty-one years and “walked in the ways of his father David and did not turn aside to the right hand or the left” (2 Chron. 24:1-2).  We don’t know how old he was but Timothy was a young man when Paul began to entrust him with leadership.

So what are you looking for in young leaders? If you’re looking for maturity, perfection, experience, consistency, reliability you may not find it.  But if you look for their strengths, gifts and passion you can develop the other qualities that will one day make them great leaders.

Read more from Mac here.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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Clarity Process

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Don’t Let Fear Sabotage the Development of Your Ministry Leaders

What would happen if the Christ Centered leaders in your church began to pour into and develop new leaders?  The impact on your church and community could be massive.

You can’t argue with the power of multiplication.  It just makes sense.  We’ve all heard the mathematical logic for the development of leaders.  For example:  If one leader develops two new leaders over the next six months, then those two leaders join the first one in developing two leaders each over the next six months, you suddenly have 9 leaders.  If this continues for just one more year you end up with over 80 leaders in two years!  Imagine the possibilities of what might happen with 80 new leaders!

Yes that’s exciting.  Yes that makes sense. But why isn’t it happening?  Because we allow fear to out reason logic.  While leaders give many excuses I believe the one overriding reason they don’t develop others is fear.  Most leaders are so focused on growing themselves that they don’t feel adequate to develop others.

The truth is we can be hard on ourselves.  Our fear is nurtured by our leadership weaknesses, imperfections, and inadequacies.  We’re painfully aware of our leadership mistakes and failures.  So consciously or subconsciously we question: What qualifies me to teach someone else to lead?  How can I answer others questions when I have so many questions of my own?  How will they respect me once they see my weakness?  What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I fail them? What if I steer them wrong?  What if they know more than me?  A million questions can run through our minds.  And even though we know the math makes sense…fear out reasons logic so we avoid developing leaders.

The best leader developers I know acknowledge their weaknesses.  They use their failures and mistakes as teachable moments and a tool for others to learn from.  Great developers recognize that ultimately it’s not about their strength it’s about their surrender to the Holy Spirit to be used to help others along the leadership journey.  If you wait until you’re the perfect leader then you’ll never take the first step toward developing others.  But if you trust what you have, what you’ve learned and who you are to be used by the Holy Spirit then He can use you to start a leadership development revolution.

So replace the fear driven questions with faith driven questions:  What if I took a chance on ____________ (you fill in the name)?  What if I spent the next six months pouring into two new reproducing leaders?  What if I allowed a couple of potential leaders to take some of my responsibility?  What if I invited a couple of young leaders to shadow me throughout my week?  What if I faced my fear and started developing leaders instead of just doing the ministry myself?  What if I embraced Paul’s mentality when he said, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” What if I trusted the Holy Spirit to use my experience and my gifts to pour into the lives of others?

Imagine the possibilities.  Sometimes it’s not logic that helps us outwit fear…it’s allowing ourselves to imagine a better future.   Imagine what could be and determine to take a risk starting today.

What are your next steps to start a leadership development revolution in your organization?  

Read more from Mac here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mac Lake

Mac Lake

I am the Chief Launch Officer of The Launch Network, a new church planting network based out of West Ridge Church in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. My role is to get The Launch Network up and running, networking with churches and planters to establish healthy church starts across the U.S. and the world. Our goal is to plant 1000 churches in the next 10 years. My passion is growing leaders for the local church. Every time I hear Bill Hybels say “The local church is the hope of the world” my heart comes out of my chest and it increases my sense of urgency for developing leaders who produce leaders.

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Jon Pyle — 03/24/14 11:52 am

What would you say about performance-based fear? Like "I'm afraid to take time to invest because so much needs to be done on a high level?" I'm somewhat familiar with Mac's writing, so I've read that he encourages to always take another leader along, etc. I totally agree with the principle. But speaking practically (and as transparently as I can), I struggle with managing the tension of performance and development. Particularly at the start, when starting a leadership development process. Thoughts? Insights?

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Clarity Process

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6 Steps to Identify and Engage Your High Potential Ministry Leaders

The engine for your vision is your leadership. Period. Neglect it and you neglect your vision; lead others well and everything else will take care of itself.   – Will Mancini

Your ministry team members aren’t another resource — they are unique and talented individuals entitled to respect and the pursuit of purpose in their lives. They belong to your organization in order to perform meaningful work in a community with others of like mind to achieve their own goals and to make a difference in the world or in other peoples’ lives. And they like to feel good about and enjoy the time they spend working in those organizations.

If we truly want to bring out the best in the ministry leaders working with us and for us, we must pay attention to them, their efforts, and the results of their labor.

Michelle Smith, VP of Business Development at OC Tanner, offers six tips leaders can use to identify, re-engage, and more effectively manage high-potential team members:

1. Stimulate. Emerging leaders need stimulating work, recognition, and the chance to grow. If not, they can quickly become disengaged.

2. Test.  Explicitly test candidates for ability, engagement, and aspiration to make sure they’re able to handle the tougher roles as they develop.

3. Manage. Having organizational department leaders oversee high-potential team members only limits their access to opportunities and encourages hoarding of talent. Instead, manage these high-potential team members at a higher level.

4. Challenge. High-potential team members need to be in positions where new capabilities can—or must—be acquired.

5. Recognize. High-potential team members will be more engaged if they are recognized frequently, so offer them appropriate recognition.

6. Engage. Incorporate high-potential team members into strategic planning. Share future strategies with them and emphasize their role in making them come to fruition.

The bottom line is, don’t take your team members for granted. While engagement may be hard to sustain, it’s infinitely easier when you nurture, recognize, stretch, and develop your team.

 

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VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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Clarity Process

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8 Habits of a Highly Effective Campus Pastor

I’ve had the privilege of seeing a lot of multisite campuses over the last 10+ years of leading in multisite churches. During that time I’ve had the opportunity to see dozens of Campus Pastors up close as they lead their locations.

Over the last few months we’ve been launching our most recent Campus at Liquid Church and I’ve had a front row seat to see Mike Leahy lead as a Campus Pastor. I think Campus Pastors from any multisite church should learn their craft from Mike.

This is the fourth campus that Mike has lead and it shows … the guy is a real professional! Here are a few habits I’ve seen him repeat time and time again that I think drive his effectiveness.

  • Replication Focused // Mike is incredibly focused on raising up the next round of leaders to take over the ministry. Not only is he modeling that with his own associate campus pastor but he pushes to see training happening in every area of the campus. Effective long term multisite churches unlock the ability to replicate leaders and Mike pushes our campuses to always be raising up the next level of leaders.
  • Sweat the Small Stuff // There are thousands of details that make the launch of a new campus great and Mike does an amazing job of digging into the details and making them work for our guests. From the layout of our main auditorium to the flow of parking to how our team fill out name tags … each of those details is sorted through and then documented so it can be replicated at this new location.
  • Pocket Briefcase // If you followed Mike for any time on Sunday you’d notice that he’s constantly pulling out a small note pad and making notes about every interaction he has with people. Each note represents a follow up item for someone from our church … prayer items to loop back on, important milestones coming up, connections to be make. He uses a notepad rather than his phone because he doesn’t want to give the impression that he’s goofing around on his smart phone. This small tactic gives Mike the ability to turn every Sunday into a follow up treasure trove for the rest of the week.
  • “Pollinating” the Audience // At the front end of our service you’ll notice Mike meeting and greeting people through out the audience during the musical worship part of the service. He’s attempting to make as many personal connections as possible with people … during the service! I love the site of our band cranking on stage and Mike is focusing on individuals in the room. This sort of personal care to connect draws people into our community.
  • Embedding the Vision // Mike is constantly looking for ways to reinforce the vision of our church. Although he’s not the “main communicator” he doesn’t miss an opportunity to explain the “why” to our team. Listen in on a voicemail he sent out to our campus team on launch Sunday recently. It’s classic Mike … “pastoring” our people at where they are at on a “big day” like that while helping them understand the vision one more time!
  • Central vs. Campuses // Mike understands that the central support team’s role is to generate content and lead the development of the church while the campus teams’ responsibility is to deliver the content and craft community connecting experiences. He consistently comes back to that fact with his teams and articulates the “division of labor” and works to ensure the lines don’t get fuzzy in this approach to doing church.
  • Ombudsman // A part of the role of a campus pastor is keeping an eye on a wide variety of areas and ensuring that they are functioning at a healthy level. Mike does this in an elegant manner and is always working to draw in other members of our team to improve the ministry of his campus. He resists the urge to solve the issues directly while focusing on leveraging the skills of other members on our team to help make his campus great!
  • Connection Triage Machine! // Above all else Mike is amazing at constantly helping our people get connected to the community of our church. He is always moving people onto their “next steps” … helping them find a place on a team or in a small group. Every conversation with people in his campus points towards how can we see this person get closer to being fully connected to our church.

Mike is a gift to our church … he’s a big part of what God is using at Liquid to see people get connected to Jesus! I’m thankful for his leadership and friendship!

Read more from Rich here.

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Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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Josh — 05/02/17 4:34 am

Great list of focuses and skills

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

How Do You Resolve the Tension of Enthusiasm vs. Oppression in Your Staff Position?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many naturally wired leaders and driven types rise to the helm of our churches. Each one is following the call of God in their lives and comes with a mixed bag of healthy leadership traits and “type-A” hang-ups.

That leaves you feeling the tension. Some days you are excited to be a part of something that is moving forward. Other days you may feel like you are working for a dictator who is building his own kingdom.

So what do you do when the primary unstated value of your ministry is “No growth, no glory!” How do you resolve the tension of enthusiasm vs. oppression?  You will probably never resolve it completely, but here are a few tips to help you keep sane and develop your own strengths as you lead.

#1: Cultivate your own progress orientation.  Believe it or not, you have a lot to learn from the healthy side of pr0active leadership. Remember, Jesus ran a lean-mean tight ship as the twelve-turned-seventy-two forged ahead city to city with urgency and focus. Where is God teaching you to cultivate a godly sense of urgency? Are you developing the willingness to take more initiative? How can you practice a bias for action even more?

#2: Tie all “push-back,” back to progress. It’s important to move past hasty disagreement or quick pushback. Don’t disagree out of emotion. It may be that you have better ideas. You may have key insights for sustainability and integrated efforts. You probably see the need a better system or process to define before launching the next ministry initiative.  The key is this: When you share you ideas or when you have to push-back, make sure you “connect the dots” back to progress. Don’t share your idea until you can demonstrate why it makes growth eventually better, stronger or faster. Many times I use the phrase “slow down to speed up” or “squat before you leap” to help a leader appreciate a season of “no new visible progress” in order to prepare for the next visible growth run.

#3 Play for pie even if your slice suffers. You must think big-picture as you manage your part of the organization. I was in a conversation yesterday with a leader who was struggling with a talented player who only sees his silo in the ministry. Nothing is more irritating for a leader who must steward progress for the whole organization. You will be surprised how this kind of thinking will come back to bless you. You attitude will not go unnoticed. Leaders desperately need “slice managers” who care about the pie.

#4 Create a scorecard that shows different forms of progress. There is probably something that you are passionate about that you lead pastor can’t real feel or see. The problem is not his passion. The problem is that you haven’t helped him see the progress of what you are excited about. What kind of scorecard or goal setting can you lead-up with? For example, a student pastor may take the time to show percentage growth in student camps over the last three years. Or if the student ministry is not numerically growing, you might show the growing percentage of students who are engaged in daily bible intake over the last 2 years.

#5 Let the weakness of others develop your convictions. There is no wasted experience in God’s economy, even in a culture that is unhealthy in it’s drivenness. The bottom line is that you will be in charge some day and that day is coming sooner that you think. You might not be the lead pastor, but you will have more responsibility and more people to care for. Now is the time to let those convictions stir. Don’t be afraid to name them as your personal values or your future team guidelines. In the end, having clearly stated values is the governor on how fast you pursue your vision.

What are you not willing to compromise in the character of the organization for the sake of progress?

Answering that question is the essence of  values-driven leadership.

Read more from Will here.

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Will Mancini

Will Mancini

Will Mancini wants you and your ministry to experience the benefits of stunning, God-given clarity. As a pastor turned vision coach, Will has worked with an unprecedented variety of churches from growing megachurches and missional communities, to mainline revitalization and church plants. He is the founder of Auxano, creator of VisionRoom.com and the author of God Dreams and Church Unique.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Science Behind Effective Ministry Leadership: 3 Tips to Help You Navigate the Crossroads of Results & Relationships

Effective leaders shoulder a lot of responsibility. They are responsible to shareholders for financial results. They are responsible to clients for quality and service. And they are responsible to employees for guidance, support and recognition. Mangers are presented with a leadership crossroads when asked to balance external expectations with anticipated results. It can be stressful; even the best of us sometimes shift from coaching and supporting to anger, judgment and blaming.

But there’s a better way for leaders to deliver results and strengthen relationships than exerting tighter control, conveying disappointment, or taking over projects that have failed to meet targets. How?

Get closer to your team, engage it in problem solving, be transparent, and share your concerns.

The Science Behind Effective Leadership

Anger activates our fear networks and releases the hormone and neurotransmitter cortisol, which blocks access to areas of the brain that govern advanced thought processes like strategic thinking. Fear engages the amygdala, the primitive part of our brain responsible for memory and emotional reactions, which triggers a “fight or flight” response. A leader whose actions provoke fear in others may unwittingly shut down team members’ creative and strategic capacities.

Healthy relationships serve to release oxytocin, another hormone and neurotransmitter. Unlike cortisol, which closes neural pathways, oxytocin opens up the networks in our executive brain, or prefrontal cortex. Cortisol enables leaders to successfully manage the expectations, motivations and efforts of all stakeholders and to co-create optimal solutions. That allows teams to experiment with new ways of doing business—and to grow together.

So, the next time you find yourself having to decide between results at all costs or aligning your energies with others on the road to mutual success, consider these leadership tips:

  • Manage disappointment by seeking to understand shortcomings without judgment and by enlisting your team in collaborative problem solving.
  • Set goals and expectations with your team. Discover where they want to go and make sure they have an opportunity to weigh in on the plans and commitments they are going to be held responsible for. Make it safe for people to be honest—to freely share their thoughts, concerns and perspectives.
  • Allow others to shine. Hang back, listen up, and let others jump in to take the lead. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Leaders that are guided by both their heads and their hearts—and the energy and aspirations of their team—are more likely to optimize outcomes, even in the face of tough challenges and underperformance. It’s not rocket science, it’s neuroscience.

Choose the constructive response the next time you find yourself at a leadership crossroad between results and relationships.

Read more from Judith here.
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Judith Glaser

Judith Glaser

Judith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications and the chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of six books, including Creating WE (Platinum Press, 2005) and Conversational Intelligence (BiblioMotion, 2013), and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
— VRcurator
 
The hypertext link is broken for the pdf download - can it be fixed? Thanks!
 
— Steve Elliott
 
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
 
— Debra
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Seven Suggestions for Dealing with Differences of Opinion in Your Church

At a recent conference the three of us on the panel (all pastors) were asked the question, “As a layperson, should I start a grassroots movement to change my church?” All three of us basically said, “No.” Following the conference I got a long and heated email from someone who was very upset with my answer. He thought I was guilty of clericalism and gave no place for the laity to know anything, do anything, or ever question the pastor. That was certainly not what I said, nor, so far as I can tell, what most people thought we were communicating. But his concerns got my blogging juices flowing. The initial question about forming a grassroots movement to change a local church is one I’ve gotten in one form or another several times in the past five years. So perhaps it would be helpful to spell out my answer in a little more detail.

The Situation

Here’s the kind of situation I’ve been presented with many times. It’s what I assumed was behind the question at this recent conference.

You are at a church that doesn’t share your theology or seems to be heading in the wrong theological direction. Naturally, you are concerned and want to do something about it. You are sad to see your church change for the worse or sad to see your church less than what it should be. You wonder what you can do to help get things on track.

This situation usually arises for one of two reasons. Either you have recently come to a better theological understanding yourself and now see deficiencies in your pastor and in your church which you didn’t see before, or your church recently brought in a new pastor who is setting things on a different theological trajectory. There are, of course, variations to these two scenarios. Maybe you were brought on staff at a theologically weak church. Maybe your pastor has been drifting in recent years. Maybe your church just allowed something you disagree with (or just disallowed something you agree with). There are several permutations to the problem, but the basic contours stay the same: either you’ve changed or the church has changed, and the result in both cases is that the two aren’t lining up like they used to.

So what should you do?

Seven Suggestions

1. Pray for a humble heart. Make sure you aren’t being censorious. Check for plank-in-eye syndrome. Be sure you are giving your pastor and your church the benefit of the doubt. Ask the Lord for an open heart and an open mind.

2. Take note of your position. How you think about laboring for change in your church, and how you think of whether to work for change at all, has everything to do with your position in the church. Have you been at the church for decades or did you join two months ago? Have you proved yourself as a faithful servant in the body? Are you one of the official leaders of the church? An informal leader? A staff member? One of the others elders or pastors? The more designated authority you have–either by virtue of office, by virtue of maturity, or by virtue of years of service–the more you should do to work for change. The less you have, the less you should try to do.

3. Try to discern the relative importance of your concerns. Are you upset about preferences or about something more serious? Are your concerns about the character of your pastor or his personality? Are your theological concerns weighty or trivial? And if they are weighty, are they up for discussion in your church? If you’ve come to the Reformed faith in the midst of a Wesleyan church you have no business trying to make that congregation in the image of the Westminster Confession. Likewise, people in confessional churches (e.g., Reformed, Presbyterian, Lutheran) should not be surprised when their pastors teach the faith expressly laid down in their historic tradition.

4. Don’t talk up your concerns. Beware of building up an ever expanding circle of discontents. You may have to talk to a few persons for counsel. You may even know many other likeminded persons in the congregation. But your goal must not be to create a church within a church.

5. Consider encouraging your pastor with positive reinforcement. Find what you can commend and commend it. If your pastor is in need of more theological precision and development you may be able to give him good books to read–not usually polemical books championing your agenda, but positive devotional and theological works that give him a taste for sound doctrine. Maybe you can nudge your pastor toward a good conference or even take him to one yourself. If he is young or simply drifting a bit, your pastor may be open to gentle strengthening and redirection.

6. Consider prayerfully the course of direct confrontation. The pastor is not beyond correction. He can make mistakes. He can fall into error. He can get off track. He can grow proud. If after prayerful reflection you conclude that your concerns are serious and the trajectory worsening, set up a time to talk to your pastor or elders directly. I’ve never begrudged anyone coming to me with thoughtful concerns in a kind, humble way. Sometimes I agree with them. Sometimes I disagree. But I’m glad when they come to me or one of the elders directly.

7. Consider when it is time to leave. If your new theological convictions are out of step with the entire history and identity of the church, it’s best not to strategize for underground change. If a new pastor has come in and is moving things in a very different direction–with the full knowledge and blessing of the elders and with enthusiasm from most of the congregation–it’s best not to start a grassroots movement for reformation. If you’ve tried direct communication and the pastor or leaders tell you, in effect, “Thank you, but we see things a different way,” it’s best not to fight them tooth and nail. If David did not lay a hand on Saul as the Lord’s anointed, we should be very cautious about launching a guerrilla movement to take down our duly-appointed pastors and elders.

In rare occasions where the theological differences amount to heresy (or are clearly out of bounds with your confessional documents), or when your personal concerns relate to scandalous behavior, you may pursue church discipline and file charges, but only if you are following the steps of Matthew 18. In most cases where members are concerned with the direction of the church, the issues are important but not so egregious as to merit a formal process of discipline. In these instances, after working through steps 1-6 (and doing so with patience, not in a fit of passion), the concerned church member can either peaceably submit or quietly leave.

Summing Up

Please hear what I am saying and not saying. I’m not saying you shouldn’t talk to your pastor or work for change. I’m not saying the local congregation is the personal fiefdom for the pastor. I’m not saying pastors can’t learn much from laypeople in the congregation. What I am saying is that practically you should not spend your life trying to do what has very little chance of success, theologically you should obey and respect your leaders, and spiritually you should not be divisive.

And lest this sound like I’m trying to protect my turf as a pastor, let me make clear that I am not addressing this question because it is a live issue in my congregation. I’m thinking of good folks in other churches who largely share my theology and have the very good desire to influence their local church for good. That’s what I took to be the context for the question at the conference. I want to commend these brothers and sisters for their discernment and encourage them in prizing theological depth and integrity. But we should also remember that seeking the things that make for “unity, purity, and peace” (as our membership vows put it), sometimes entails being peaceable enough to find unity with another body that has the purity you are looking for.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin DeYoung

I am the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church(RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, near Michigan State University. I’ve been the pastor there since 2004. I was born in Chicagoland, but grew up mostly in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. I root for da Bears, da Bulls, da Blackhawks, the White Sox, and the Spartans. I have been married to Trisha since January 2002. We live in East Lansing and have five young children.

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Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Tracking an Emerging Role in Church Leadership: Pastor of Innovation

What may be emerging is a new role in the church: pastor of innovation. (Granted this may not become mainstream where every church would have one, since most churches have more pressing operational day-to-day needs.) I’ll do my part to keep this list updated. (Please do add to this list.)

How much of their job is pure innovation and experimentation? Would you like to know? Me too!

There are over 30+ definitions of innovation and over 6000+ definitions of leadership. Organizations, especially organized churches in the 21st century, need more innovation and more leadership, not less. What’s worked in the past is not working as well as it used to, so we as the Church capital-C must make room to develop new ways of doing things.

Peter Drucker has said, “Any time an organization fails to change at the rate of the world around it, that organization is doomed to failure.” and ”innovation is change that creates a new level of performance” and ”All organizations require one core competency: Innovation.

The chart below (from Leadership Network) illustrates how church innovations get adopted over time. As an experimenter, I’ve had very limited resources to experiment in developing innovations; I’m praying for more resources to do more. [disclosure: I do contract work with Leadership Network]

Innovation curve - LN

Rob Rynders makes a case for innovation in his denomination – Why The UMC Needs an Era of Innovation –

We need an intentional, grassroots, movement of innovators willing to put new ideas into action, fully realizing that many of those ideas will fail, but some will be successful. Even the failures will allow for immense learning, evaluation, further experimentation and adaption, ultimately leading to success. As successes and failures build, over time, we must apply those learnings from those models to other contexts and allow easy ways for others to learn, model, and adapt.

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are 4 levels of innovation, so not all innovation has to be risky and be revolutionary game-changers. Pastor Karl Vaters provides a helpful list for key questions to consider when preparing a church for change (and innovation) @ 10 Questions Every Innovative Small Church Pastor Needs to Ask.

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D.J. Chuang

D.J. Chuang

D.J. is a Strategy Consultant for non-profits & churches with a focus on web strategy, social media, and online education.

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RON M WEEKS — 05/13/13 7:21 pm

Faith in Various Expressions is now over the first year of being a forum on the internet. I am glad for all of those who shared and read the blogs and ideas offered and what next? I am confident that the next year will bring much more on how to bring forth information on faith growth.

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More Collaboration is Better for Your Ministry – Until It’s Not

Collaboration is an important part of innovation.  The days of the lone genius are gone (if they ever really existed at all) – now, it takes a network to innovate.

But how much collaboration do we need?

In his new book To Sell is Human, Dan Pink talks about some interesting findings in the research of Adam Grant.  Grant looks at sales results relative to a person’s level of extraversion.  Everyone knows that extraverts make the best salespeople, right?  Well, wrong, actually.  Check this out:

Sales Revenue - Extraversion

Pink says:

As you can see from the chart, the folks who fared the best — by a wide margin — were the in the modulated middle. They’re called “ambiverts,” a term that has been in the literature since the 1920s. They’re not overly extraverted. They’re not overly introverted. They’re a little of both.

He adds more detail in this post, and also has a test where you can test whether or not you’re an ambivert too.

The key question is why does it turn back down?  This upside-down U shape is actually a very common research finding.   You frequently see it in systems that require attention.  Usually, it means that if you have too many team members involved, you can’t pay enough attention to each, and your results start to get worse.

This is interesting for a three reasons.

  • We often search for black and white answers – but life rarely offers them.
  • Is collaboration good?  Yes, but only up to a point.
  • Is extraversion good if you’re a salesperson (and all leaders are “selling” something)?  Yes, but only up to a point.

Figuring out where that point lies is part of the art of managing.  And being comfortable with the ambiguity in this is an even bigger part being a leader.

So just remember: more is better, but only until it’s not.

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Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle

Tim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

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Sorry, the author of this content has removed the links at the original source!
 
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Clarity Process

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