I recently caught up with Tony Morgan to talk about his new book, “Stuck in a Funk?: How to Get Your Church Moving Forward.” It just released on Amazon! Click here to get your hands on a copy and check out the interview with Tony below.
Paul: Your writing, speaking, coaching and consulting consistently focuse on this idea of churches getting “unstuck.” Where does this passion for helping churches get “unstuck” come from?
Tony: Well, not to over-spiritualize it, but I really do believe God called me to this. I accepted Christ when I was in high school, and from the very beginning of my walk with Christ, I was captivated by the story of the early church…particularly in the Book of Acts. God put something in me to help the local church fulfill its mission. I want the Church to have impact in people’s lives. People need Jesus, and that’s what drives me to help churches get unstuck.
Paul: You’ve worked with all kinds of different churches through coaching and consulting relationships. Denominational and non-denominational. Traditional and contemporary. Small, medium, and megachurches. Church plants and churches that have existed for years. Through your experience have have you observed any common reasons that churches get stuck regardless of these differences?
Tony: Every church is unique and because of that, the combination of contributing factors that lead to a church getting stuck are going to look different from church to church. That said, one common challenge is being inward-focused. Another is holding onto leadership approaches or structures that may have worked in the past, but don’t now. Another common issue is gaining a clear vision, but, more important, being intentional about the strategies and systems to see that vision become reality. To get to where you want to go tomorrow, you have to know what’s important right now.
Paul: You mention in the book that many pastors default to thinking they can “teach their way out” of being stuck. What are some other common mistakes that church leaders have a tendency to make as they attempt to address their “stuckness?”
Tony: That’s easy. When something’s not working, church leaders tend to do it themselves. That tendency may fix problems faster, but, in the long run, it limits the leadership growth of the team, and eventually the church leader faces burnout. It’s a symptom of someone having the “Moses complex.” The best leaders don’t teach leadership, they develop other leaders. That takes a lot longer than a 45-minute message. (By the way, very few church leaders should be teaching that long. Consider that a bonus.)
Paul: How can “Stuck in a Funk” best be utilized as a tool by church leaders to help their churches get “unstuck?
Tony: Let’s say you wanted your team to catch the vision for a multi-site strategy. You could go to LifeChurch.tv in Oklahoma, experience it yourself and then come back and try to share the vision with your team. Or, the better option would be to just take your team to LifeChurch.tv and let them catch the vision themselves. The same principle applies with this book. The odds are a lot better your team will catch the vision and have the courage to take real steps to get unstuck if you read and talk about the book together. I’ve tried to make it easy for teams by including discussion questions at the end of the book. They’re not easy questions though, they’re difficult. I dare teams to do the hard work of processing the questions together.
Paul: Many church leaders not only feel stuck, but are discouraged because they don’t feel hopeful about the future of the church they’re leading. Is it really possible that their church can get “unstuck” and move towards a preferred future? What is it going to take for that dream to become reality?
Tony: If a church leader is hopeless, I don’t think they need to start with my book. They need to go back to whatever it was that prompted them to become a leader in the church in the first place. They need to recapture that passion and purpose from God. There can be a direct connection between the leader being stuck spiritually and the church being stuck. Then come back and address where you are stuck as a church. But, just to be honest, it’s going to take a different vision, strategy and systems to get different results. Hope is not a strategy. A new strategy is a strategy.
Tony 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. More important, he has a passion for people. He’s all about helping people meet Jesus and take steps in their faith.
For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). With Tim Stevens, Tony has co-authored Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers and Simply Strategic Growth – each of which offers valuable, practical solutions for different aspects of church ministry. His book, Killing Cockroaches (B&H Publishing) challenges leaders to focus on the priorities in life and ministry. His most recent books on leadership and ministry strategy are available on Kindle.
Posted in Leadership