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LEADING CHANGE

 Leading Change

            Change is necessary!  As a matter of fact, if we do not change anything in 2013 we will end the year just like 2012.  The question must be asked, “Is that acceptable?”  The need for change is quite apparent in some areas:

  • ·        Desire to be closer to God.
  • ·        Burden to share our faith more often.
  • ·        Churches to experience vibrant worship.
  • ·        Closer and deeper fellowship with other believers.
  • ·        The power of God evident in our lives.
  • ·        The need to learn how to rest in the Lord.
  • ·        The ability to prioritize better.

John Kotter has written a lot about change (Leading Change & Our Iceberg is Melting) and has made it his business to study the successes and failures in change.  While his focus has been primarily in the business world, truth is truth.  It is interesting how many of his observations sound very familiar to the process of change in a church.  He writes, “The most general lesson to be learned from the more successful cases is that the change process goes through a series of phases that, in total, usually require a considerable length of time. Skipping steps creates only the illusion of speed and never produces satisfactory results” and “making critical mistakes in any of the phases can have a devastating impact, slowing momentum and negating hard-won gains.”

Kotter’s eight phases of change are:

  • ·        Establish a Sense of Urgency
  • ·        Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
  • ·        Create a Vision
  • ·        Communicate that Vision
  • ·        Empower Others to Act on the Vision
  • ·        Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins
  • ·        Consolidate Improvements and Keep the Momentum for Change Moving
  • ·        Institutionalize the New Approaches

First he suggests that you must, Establish a Sense of Urgency – Talk of change typically begins with someone noticing vulnerability or weaknesses that need to be addressed. The reality of not being where God wants us to be can be used of God to motivate His people into action, and they, in turn, try to communicate that sense of urgency to others.  Kotter notes that over half the companies he has observed have never been able to create enough urgency to prompt action. “Without motivation, people won’t help and the effort goes nowhere.”

  It is reported that 85% of all churches have either plateaued or are declining.  Of the 15 % growing only 1% is growing because of conversions.   When does the urgency level get high enough for change to occur?  Kotter suggests it is when 75% of your leadership is honestly convinced that business as usual is no longer an acceptable plan.  Do we not see and know enough right now to see the need for a sense of urgency?  It has been said by many that we will not change until the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change!

Leading a church to change is not easy and in many ways more difficult than leading a business to change.  There is always the concern that the gospel or doctrine would be changed or threatened, but you can change many things while protecting the truth of God’s word.  The following is a formula for change: A + B + C > D.  A = Dissatisfaction with the status quo.  B = Knowledge of a better alternative.  C = Knowledge of first steps.  D = The cost of making the change.  Change begins with an honest evaluation of our present reality followed by a vision for our preferred future.  Then you can begin working on how to get there.

Change for a Christian and a church should be the normal natural pattern.  You cannot become a child of God without repentance; a change of mind and direction.  Once you become a child of God you are to be transformed and that means changing every day to become more and more like Christ.  We need an ABC moment.  Awareness that something needs to change. Belief that God will transform your church.  Crisis you are willing to deal with for the change to occur. What is it that we need to change in our lives and in our churches to see God move in 2013 in a powerful and mighty way?       

First Things First

 

First Things First

            2012 is now history and we look back and wonder how it could have flown by so quickly.  Every New Year presents us with new opportunities and new challenges.  A key to making sure that we take advantage of these opportunities and are as prepared as possible for the challenges is to have the right foundation.  The question is, “What do we really value?”  Two indicators of what we value are how we spend our money and how we spend our time.  Values are not confirmed by what we say but are authenticated by our actions. 

            Our values help us to filter what we will be involved in and how we will invest the resources God has given us.  Values are like guiding stars helping us navigate each day.  Core values are needed to ensure that our daily decisions are consistent with what we believe.  If they truly are our values they will be seen in our daily habits and behaviors.  It is not really a value if it is not practiced regularly in our lives.  Core values are not preferences but rather convictions that provide the foundation for formulating and setting the direction of the New Year.

            Oasis Church is where I am a member with Todd West as the Senior Pastor.  Our entire church just spent the last six weeks studying our Core values through our daily SOAP journals (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer).  Every church has a core and this is ours:

  • ·         Keep it Simple!  Matt. 6:33
  • ·         Take it past Sunday!  Luke 9:23
  • ·         Every Member in a Ministry!  Eph. 2:10
  • ·         Be Real!  Ps. 139:14
  • ·         Talk to People, Not about People!  Matt. 18:15
  • ·         Be Generous!  Luke 6:38

Core values are not your doctrinal statement or your biblical purpose statement.  However, they must be firmly founded upon the word of God and they protect the church from drifting away from its purpose.  These values enable you to remain focused on God’s mission for your church.

            How do you identify core values?  In The Multiplication Workshop Dave DeVries gives us five indicators.  Core values are……

  • ·         Consistent – they rarely change.
  • ·         Passionate – they generate emotion and energy.
  • ·         Biblical – they are rooted in Scripture.
  • ·         Distinctive – they reflect God’s unique assignment for you.
  • ·         Convictions – they influence what you do! (not what you say)

 

In Matt. 6:33 we are told by Jesus,But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Core values are placing first things first.  It is making sure that what is most important to God is first in our daily lives and actions. 

Core values are “first” priorities not because of when they took place but because of their importance to the heart of God.  Here are some things to consider as you enter 2013:

  • ·         First adoration, then activity!  Make sure in 2013 that it really is all about Jesus.  Sit at His feet and spend time alone with Him because He is more interested in who you are than in what you do!
  • ·         First others, than yourself!  Matt. 5:23-24, “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
  • ·         First function, then form!  Do not major on minor things like programs, structures, or things the scriptures are silent on.  We need to remain focused on the spreading of the gospel, reaching the lost, and loving one another.
  • ·         First be the church, then go to church!  We must be what He wants us to be all the time.  1 John 2:6 says, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.”
  • ·         First make disciples, then work on other things.  This is what we have been commanded to focus upon and make our first priority.  Discipleship is not a program but building relationships.  “It costs no money to make a disciple only your life.” –Neil Cole