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8 Keys to Changing your Church in 2017

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Most church leaders I’ve talked with want things to change for the better, they want this year to be better than last year, but they don’t want to do anything different. People always want to change their circumstances, but they never want to change their lives. But everything gets better when we get better. Families get better when fathers and mothers get better. Students get better when educators get better. Organizations get better when leaders get better. And churches get better when church leaders get better. But change is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you any different. It’s always easier and more comfortable to stay where you are than to change and move forward. But if you want to grow at some point you’ve got to stop doing what’s easy and start doing what’s right. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you lead your church through change in 2017.

1. Get the Brutal Facts

The first place to start with change is where you are. You have to define reality and clearly understand what reality is today and why you’re here. Not what you think reality is or why you think you’re here. This takes courage to ask difficult questions and then listen more than talk and it usually comes with a pretty healthy dose of humility. If you don’t start here you’re likely to solve the wrong problems, take the wrong steps, or repeat the past.

2. Take Personal Responsibility

Often times churches don’t change because they mistakenly think that change is something that happens to them instead of something that happens in them. The change that you want to see happen in your life and in your church is no one’s responsibility but your own. You get to choose if you are going to grow and change or not. If you’ve been at your church for more than 3 years then stop blaming the prior administration and start leading.

3. Provide Clarity

If you don’t like where things are at in your church is right now, the good news is it doesn’t have to stay that way. You can change it. But change doesn’t come without clarity and it’s the leaders responsibility to provide clarity on what needs to change and what the preferred future looks like. The greater clarity the church has the faster you can make decisions and the more effectively you can move towards your future.

4. Don’t Overreach

Too much change can be the enemy of change. In fact if you reach further than you have the ability to execute you can actually cripple the church for years to come. You didn’t get where you are in a moment but a series of moments. You’re not going to get to you’re preferred future in a moment either. Instead, plan your work and work your plan.

5. Find a Coach

Leaders aren’t going around looking for someone to mentor or coach; they’re too busy leading. If you want a mentor or coach then you’ve got to chase after someone who has something you want until you catch them. Leaders press into people who press into them. You need to grow as a leader for your church to grow. Maybe it’s time to enlist a coach.

6. Rework your Team

Show me the top 5 decision makers at your church and I’ll show you what your church is going to look like in 5 years. Sometimes reworking your team is the right next step to take. Don’t be afraid to make personnel changes this year. But be careful and do this wisely. We’re not building widgets, we’re making disciples. The staff at your church aren’t cogs in a machine that can easily be replaced, they’re people to be developed and deployed.

7. Stop Hoping for things to Change

A majority of churches make the mistake of sitting around hoping for their “ship to come in,” some pivotal magic moment that’s going to change everything. What’s missed in all of this waiting and hoping is that the secret of growing and changing is doing a little every day. Long-term change is determined by your daily agenda. Hope is not a strategy. Take some advice from legendary basketball coach John Wooden that said, “You make the choice and then the choice makes you.”

8. Get some Fresh Eyes

Sometimes you simply need fresh eyes, someone from the outside to help you see things differently. Sometimes you need an outside voice to say some things that you want to say but can’t. And sometimes you’re just stuck and need help. If that’s your church then maybe the best step you can take to change things at your church is to engage the Unstuck Group. We help churches grow their impact through church consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action.


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