Transformational leaders understand that an important step toward a future that is different from the past is to understand the challenges we face & the strengths we posses. Often called a SWOT analysis or an environmental analysis, we simply call this important step understanding your current reality.In order to understand your current reality, we sent a brief set of questions to annual conference members. Thank you so much to those of you who responded. We received almost 700 responses & will be sharing that information with you throughout our talks.We asked 2 questions relative to your challenges & strengths.First, we asked, “What are the current challenges that are facing your church?” You told us that the largest set of challenges are financial related followed by worship attendance & lack of age diversity. You will see that a large number of respondents gave the answer of other. We took a look at those responses for any trends but did not find a large number of any one response category.
The follow up question to “What are the current challenges that face your church?” was “What are the strengths within your congregation that can help your church overcome the issues it faces?” Worship & Mission came up most often as strengths. I cannot, of course let this pass without pointing out that while we believe worship to be a strength for our churches; worship attendance is one of our most significant challenges. In case you are wondering, those who answered that worship attendance is a major challenge are not the same as those who answered that worship is a strength.
Let’s look now at a leadership application of the concept of Faithful Remembering At first, this notion of remembering being about the future was counterintuitive to me. But then it occurredto me that we can’t lead our organizations to the right place unless we have faithfully remembered WHY we are doing WHAT we are doing. Once you know WHY you are doing WHAT you are doing, you can figure out WHERE you should be going.So, a piece of Faithful Remembering is Knowing Where You are Going. -C- & being prepared to make the right choices to get there.A great example of this concept comes from the familiar story of Alice in Wonderland – (story) -C-And Yogi Berra -C- probably said it best when he said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”As I was discussing this concept with Denise Honeycutt (many of you know Denise) one day, we talked about how we always have to keep the vision of where we want to go before us because it’s too easy to get pulled off course. She told me a story that illustrates this point perfectly. It was so great that we asked her to share it with you.
We asked- “Does a Common Vision that Glorifies God Unite Your Church?” 67% of you said Yes. 33% said No.END
Questions are so powerful, aren’t they? Most of you have encountered the situation where someone says, “Let me ask you a question.”After hearing the question, you are left wondering, “Is there a question in that statement somewhere?Why is that? It’s because–C- “Intent resides in the questions that are asked”We feel strongly that there are right questions & wrong questions. And that right questions are very powerful in an organization.Right Questions –C- invite dialogue, promote understanding, strengthen community & foster relationships Here’s a great example
-C- Psychologist Ellen Langer describes an experiment involving school children. In one classroom, she showed a picture of a person in a wheelchair and asked, “Can this person drive a car?” The students uniformly answered no, and they had no trouble coming up with reasons why. This was not a very constructive conversation. In another classroom, she showed the same picture and asked a slightly different question, “How can this person drive a car?” After some silence, the students started to offer ideas. A whole different kind of conversation ensued, creative, energized, and constructive.
In order to work through a few examples of this, we asked in the survey, “What does your church discuss most? The top responses were “How to get more people involved”, “Finances” & a tie between “concerns of your community” & “concerns of your church”.One of my favorite subjects to discuss with congregational leaders is this issue of getting more people involved. There is a huge paradigm shift that must occur in our churches to catch up with the realities of today . . . .If we keep doing . . Bulletin announcements, sign up sheets & perpetual assignments will not foster the participation we needWe also talk about what Scripture tells us about serving – 3 things – hogging the blessings?
-C- Let’s take a look first at a set of questions for the issue of getting more people involved. A very classic & often-asked question is “Why do I have to do it all?” & I know you’ve never heard this one, “What’s wrong with these people?” They never sign up for anything! These questions do not open dialogue. As a matter of fact, they close down communication because they are intimidating & accusatory. An example of a Right Question in this area might be something like, “How can our actions make it possible for others to follow Jesus by serving?” What can we do differently to make it easier for others to live into their Christianity by serving? That question should get a conversation off to a good start for positive & creative problem solving.
Here’s another set of questions relative to the second most discussed topic at our churches – FINANCES.“Why don’t people give?” & “What are THEY spending OUR money on?” Two questions we’ve all heard – They both open the door to negative, almost cynical discussions. How about a question more along the line of “How can we relate our giving to our faith in Jesus?”I am sure you all have questions in your church that need to be rethought. Think for just a moment about that then turn to your neighbor & work together to come up with a ‘RIGHT QUESTION’.(Call back together)One of the positive impacts of asking the right questions is that relationships are fostered.Relationships are so important in an organization – Margaret Wheatley . .
. . . Famed organizational behaviorist tells us that “. . .”Marc is going to talk about the importance of relationships in an organization.
How are disagreements usually handled in our churches? We asked that question in the survey. 35% of you said that disagreements are resolved by consensus29% said that disagreements are resolved by key leaders16% said that disagreements are resolved by pastor or staffand 20% said that disagreements are avoided or unresolved
Clearly, disagreements occur – often they are worked through in a healthy & productive way – sometimes even producing a better result given the conversation & collaboration that occurs as people engage with each other. But, sometimes folks get stuck in disagreement. This happens for many reasons. We want to be clear that when we say that relationships must come before task, we are not saying that we all need to make nice & avoid disagreements. RATHER, we propose a model for working through disagreements in a healthy & collaborative way. How can we FIND AGREEMENT? The first step in finding agreement is to figure out WHERE the disagreement is. Is it at the ACTION level? the CURRENT REALITY (or the fact) level? the GOAL level? the MISSION level? or the CALL level? Once you understand where you are stuck in disagreement, the key is to work your way back up the steps until you find where you can agree. Then reconsider the issue at hand as you work backward from your level of agreement. It goes like this – If we can’t agree on how we are going to proceed, can we agree on the current reality of the situation? If we can’t agree on the current reality, can we agree on what we are trying to accomplish? If not, can we agree on why we are doing this work? No? Can we at least agree that we are called to be followers of Jesus? Can you see the power of this approach? Sometimes we have to go all the way back up to Jesus to find agreement but once we do, we can work from there. Here’s an example. Let’s say there is a disagreement about hiring a Youth Director. We need to hire a Youth Director / No we don’t. Those 2 camps are not going to just spontaneously agree one day. In order to find agreement, work back up. What is the current reality? Can we agree on what we are trying to accomplish? Can we agree on why we need to do this work? Can we at least agree that there are some number of teenagers who live within walking distance of our church who don’t know Jesus & need to? Now work back down & you are solving a problem not digging in on an action. Honestly, we all spend way too much of our time focusing on the HOW. Christian Transformational Leaders need to spend their time in the WHAT & the WHY. Let others figure out the HOW. If you are clear about the WHY & WHAT, they have a great likelihood of getting the HOW right. I worked a group of Christian Educators through this model one time & they sheepishly admitted that what they REALLY wanted was for everyone to just go implement all my great ideas! – NOT a VERY Compelling approach!
There are four leadership responses to chaos. When leaders encounter chaos –which ALL do – we either seek to AVOID it, CONTROL it, DESTROY it or EMBRACE it. Only when we embrace chaos do we have access to true creative possibilities.
We asked in the survey what your church does when it encounters chaos. 30% avoid, 38% try to control, 7% attempt to destroy & 25% embrace – a full 75% of us try to make chaos go away!
In her book, Leadership & the New Science, Margaret Wheatly tells us the value of chaos“ . . . chaos is a necessary force that creates order.”
Let’s take a look at a model for thinking through the forces that we’ve discussed that shape an organization. We’ve talked about chaos – chaos cannot be destroyed or avoided, it can be ordered. We’ve also talked about where our focus belongs as John discussed Beyond & Within. We can focus beyond ourselves & our organizations or within. Mapping these forces together really gives us a great way to look at the life cycle of an organization. I do a lot of work with non-profit organizations & have found that this is exactly the life cycle they go through. They start in the upper left quadrant as they see a cause or a need to be addressed. They form an effort to address the issue as they focus beyond themselves & really choose to make a difference. As they begin to organize around the issue & begin addressing it, they move to the right – they begin ordering the chaos that surrounds the issue. This is right where they want to be. Their focus in outside themselves & the chaos is coming into some sort of order. In the natural order of things then, the next thing that happens is that an organization forms around the effort. People are hired, facilities are acquired, funds need to be raised, etc. What begins to happen? Often the burden of the effort itself begins to pull the focus of the individuals & the organization inside & they begin to ‘forget’ the original passion & focus on the cause. We usually get involved with these organizations when they have gone through this period & a new kind of chaos begins to get the best of them – they begin to wander as their inward focus gets them all confused about why they began the effort in the first place & what impact they are trying to have. As we work with the Boards of Directors in these organizations, our repeated message is the they must get the organization refocused on the REASON for the organization’s existence (beyond their walls) & align the work of the organization to that REASON (order the chaos) to keep it operating in that upper right quadrant. All organizations are most effective when they can strike that balance. How might this apply at your church? Marc is going to share his thoughts on that.
Virginia Annual Conference June 15 & 16, 2010 John Briggs, Marc Brown, Kathy Merry
Transformation A movement of hope into a future that is different from the past.
Jesus’ Call has Two Parts “Come follow me . . .” an invitation to be personally transformed in Jesus “. . . and I will make you fishers of people.” an invitation to be a transformational leader for Jesus
Christian Transformational Leaders Shape present & future condition in alignment with Jesus’ Call to Follow Him Transformational Leaders Shape present & future condition in alignment with a desired outcome Leaders Respond to present condition
What are the current challenges that face your church?
What are the strengths within your congregation that can help your church overcome the issues it faces?
Faithful Remembering After a long time, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Out of the slavery, their cry for help rose up to God. God heard their groaning, and God remembered God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Exodus 2:23-24 He has helped his servant Israel, inremembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever. Luke 1:54
Faithful Remembering Remembering that God remembers us Accepting Jesus’ invitation to follow Participating in God’s faithful remembering through the means of grace Living and leading toward the vision that God has already cast through Jesus
Means of Grace Personal Holiness Social Holiness Faithful RememberingPersonal Application
Faithful Remembering is Knowing Where You are Going Faithful RememberingLeadership Application
Does a common vision that glorifies God unite your church? Faithful RememberingLeadership Application
Faithful Remembering . . .following Jesus byleaving the boats behind
Faithful Equipping On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’” Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive. . . - John 7:37-39a
Community Response Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Tell of God’s mercy each day. Declare his works to the nations, his glory among all people. All praise to you, Eternal Father, through your Son Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns forever.
Faithful Equipping Flowing with living water Aligning ourselves with Jesus’ call for our lives Living in relationship with Jesus Leading through relationship with Jesus
Faithful Equipping They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?“ But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” - Mark 9:30-35
Right Questions . . . Invite dialogue Promote understanding Strengthen community Foster relationships Intent resides in the questions that are asked. Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
Asking the Right Questions “Can this person drive a car?” “How can this person drive a car?” Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
Asking the Right Questions “Why do I have to do it all?” “What can we do differently to make it easy for others to serve Jesus?” “What’s wrong with these people?” Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
Asking the Right Questions “Why don’t people give?” “How can our giving reflect our faith in Jesus?” “Don’t our members know the importance of giving?” Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
Margaret WheatleyManagement Consultant / Organizational Behaviorist “In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of the relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles and positions.” Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
Getting the Order Right TRANSFORMATION Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
Getting the Order Right TEMPORARY TRANSFORMATION Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
Getting the Order Right TRANSFORMATION Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
TRANSFORMATION Getting the Order Right WANDERING Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
Getting the Order Right IRRELEVANT TRANSFORMATION Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
Getting the Order Right TRANSFORMATION Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application
Faithful Encouraging Embracing chaos for transformation Living into a future that is different from the past requires change Transforming self is first step toward leading transformation Leading transformation requires the ordering of chaos
Faithful Encouraging He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” - Mark 8:34-35
Beyond & Within BEYOND WITHIN Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
` BEYOND Within & Beyond WITHIN WITHIN Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
BEYOND BEYOND Beyond & Within WITHIN WITHIN Faithful EquippingPersonal Application
CHAOS In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind of God swept over the face of the waters. - Genesis 1:1-2
Leadership Responses to Chaos Avoid Control Destroy Embrace
When your church encounters chaotic situations, has its history been to. . .
Leadership and the New Science “. . . chaos is a necessary force that creates order.”
The Chaos Model for Christian leadership Focus BEYOND forming aligning F O C U S C H A O S Non-Ordered CHAOS Ordered CHAOS wandering forgetting Faithful EncouragingLeadership Application Focus WITHIN
Faithful Remembering . . .following Jesus byleaving the boats behind Faithful Equipping. . .following Jesus by flowing with living water Jesus calls ALL of us to be leaders in a movement of hope. Faithful Encouraging. . .following Jesus by embracing the cross
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