Listen to the Right People
One thing I’ve noticed happening in Christian-land these days is that there are a lot of voices saying quotable things about stuff they have no clue about.
The biggest one, something I’d label a pet peeve, is people who have successfully planted a megachurch trying to teach people in existing churches how to change their church culture.
It’s all a big misunderstanding.
Let’s face this one reality– A guy who planted a church and it grew to 10,000+ members cannot possibly help a 100 year old church of 300 who is struggling. Nor can they help a church plant that started in a house with 25 people and has grown to 200. Or a church that was once 1000 but is now 85.
Let’s face a second reality– If a person is a wonderful communicator of biblical truth they are not likely a prophet to your struggling ministry. They don’t know a single solitary thing about your situation. Nada, zip, zilch. If you had the chance to meet them they might tell you the same thing. They are probably impressed with what God does through their ministry, too. But that doesn’t mean squat to your church context.
Do take their words of encouragement personally. But let’s face it, they don’t know how to fix your church.
Should I try to change my church?
Of course! Just make sure, when you need advice, you listen to people who have actually done what you are trying to do.
- Hire a consultant. Having an outside expert come over a series of months is probably the best and fastest thing you can do to systemically change a church. A neutral third party can be the best money you’ll ever spend.
- Get to know people. It shocks me how fast newly hired church leaders want to move. Most church issues are based in culture. Over-eager church leaders will try to change stuff without understanding the culture enough… thus making the problem worse. Then they quit and leave the mess to someone else to clean up.
- Become the expert on your community. You have the one advantage that truly makes a difference. You are there. When you read a book, article, or hear a message, everything you take in should be screened through the matrix of your unique church culture. Something you hear can be a fantastic idea– but a complete disaster in your culture. Become the expert of your community. (Which means spending decreasing time in the office and increasing time meeting the people you are trying to reach.)
- Innovation is always welcome. I’ve never been in a church where new ideas were frowned upon. The trick in a church is how you implement an innovation. If people spent half the time on implementation that they spend on generating new ideas they’d be a lot better off.
3 responses to “Listen to the Right People”
Adam, this is a brilliant post! I think you have cut through a ton of the noise going on in Christian circles right now. I am going to circulate this to our church leadership. But here’s a question to stretch the conversation: how do your points in this post inform NYWC? How do you guys at YS avoid having people on the platform telling us how to do things who have no concept of what life is like in our churches?Loading…
Point taken, Adam. And I think YS offers a lot of speakers who do motivate and encourage and inspire (Donald Miller and the lady who went from homeless to Harvard?). So, I don’t think purposely NYWC tries to put up experts to give us a cookie cutter. There was one big church pastor who spoke last year (LA) who did mention many times how big his ministry was and how he did things, but I don’t think that is the norm for what you do at YS. Just knowing that you have thought it through is enough to satisfy me. But don’t miss the first thing I said: this post was brilliant. Keep making us think.Loading…