GoingFullCircleBlog

Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ


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Leading Through Change: Step Three – Enlist Pastor Support

Resources Recommendations Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me,

“How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?”

It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

Nehemiah 2:6

Nehemiah sought support from his king to pursue the vision of rebuilding Jerusalem. A worship minister must receive the support of his senior pastor to pursue the missional vision. First, find ways to mention your vision in casual conversation, written memos, staff meetings, and face-to-face appointments. Charles Billingsley, worship leader with Jerry Falwell and David Jeremiah, refers to what he calls “the law of the seventh mentioning.” He believes we can plan on having to mention an idea at least seven times before it will appear on the radar of our pastor.

Attitude is crucial in the process of asking for endorsement and support from your pastor. This requires much prayer. Don’t rush into this meeting. Don’t let your excitement make you hurry. Set aside a week or two to pray. Ask God to shape your vision to match the vision of your pastor and vice versa. Your vision must be fused into your pastor’s vision for the church. Like a gardener who grafts a branch onto the main vine, you want your vision to enhance the pastor’s greater vision for the church.

When you have a sense of peace and confidence in the Lord, schedule a meeting with your pastor. Trust God to do his work between you. Begin by asking your pastor to share his overarching vision with you. We trust that the heart of every Christian executive is to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission. But he can express that in many different ways depending on his giftedness, personality, calling, and situation. He may say his vision is organizational unity, or financial security, or numerical growth. Continue to trust God’s Spirit no matter what your pastor expresses as a vision.

Your next question is crucial, asked in all sincerity: “How can I help you achieve this vision?” This discussion must be a sharing of hearts and not a sales presentation. Once you have heard their heart on this matter, then share the vision God has placed in your heart. If you are open and adaptable, God will shape your vision through the discussion with your pastor. You may leave the meeting with a different perspective on your vision and how to bring it to reality. But if you have soaked the meeting in prayer, you can trust that God had a hand in forging your vision through this meeting.

If the initial answer is “No,” don’t despair or give up. Ask permission to re-design and re-define your vision, then ask permission to come back and talk some more. If your pastor accepts your vision and pledges his support, schedule a follow-up appointment to present your written vision statement, smart goals, and action plans.

A prominent worship leader* who has successfully served his church for more than 20 years told me, “In pastoral relationships, there are no win-lose situations.” I asked him what he meant. “Any staff member is wrong to ever think he or she will win by making the pastor lose. If your pastor loses, you will lose. If you make sure the pastor wins, you will win, too,” he explained.

Here are three actions to make sure your pastor wins as you pursue your vision:

  1. Pastors need to trust you. They want to know who, what, when, where and why before trusting you. Using smart goals and action plans will help you earn trust.
  2. Pastors value unity. Your ability to keep people unified while successfully fulfilling the mission is a valuable trait. Your pastor and your church will value you for it.
  3. Pastors don’t like surprises. Make every attempt to keep your pastor informed by copying important documents and correspondence to him. Schedule regular updates in person. Share and celebrate victories and always communicate immediately if problems arise.

Worship Leaders – Is change bearing down on you? Don’t let it make you run and hide!  Lead your worship ministry through it and you will be leading your church… and maybe even your Pastor as well.  — Mark Powers

* Steve Phillips, Worship Pastor, First Baptist Columbia SC

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Leading Through Change: Steps 1&2 – Find God’s Vision/Give it Form

Signs of Change They said to me, “Those who survived the exile

and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace.

The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

Nehemiah 1:1–3, NIV

We dream of doing great things for God. But dreams only become reality through a persistent commitment to a process that produces results. Without a plan that yields results, our greatest dreams remain unrealized. Artistic people seem to have no shortage of dreams. But artistic people sometimes struggle to develop and follow a strategic plan. Creating an artistic masterpiece requires a disciplined approach. Here is the process you can follow to create a missional masterpiece.

Step One: Seek God and HIS Vision

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept.

For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.

Nehemiah 1:4 NIV

God is at work restoring his own masterpiece in this world. He wants to inspire you to join him in his mission. The word “inspiration” literally means “breathed into.” From within, the Holy Spirit calls us and empowers us for the mission. Remember, the statistics show us that we can’t change ourselves. Only a God-given vision has a chance of success. Only God can lead you through change to action. Surrender your will to him—seek him, find him and follow him.

Nehemiah got alone with God, crying out for God to give him a vision. First, he allowed the problem at hand to become personal to him. He became so convicted that he mourned and wept. Then he sought God’s solution through prayer and fasting. We must seek the vision God has for us with every fiber of our being.

Step two: Accept the vision and define its form

Then I prayed to the God of heaven . . . “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight,

let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

Nehemiah 2:4, NIV

Artists understand form. A work of art is expressed in form, whether it is dance, visual art, sculpture, or any other artistic medium. In music, form is the overarching pattern through which melodies, harmonies, and rhythms are stated and developed. So, too, a missional vision needs form to be stated and developed.

When the hand of God rests on you, he will give you a vision. Nehemiah saw the need, received God’s vision, and set out to develop a form. Nehemiah’s vision to restore his heritage took on the form of rebuilding Jerusalem. He visited Jerusalem, personally surveyed the destruction, and then formed a mental picture and a verbal description of a rebuilt city. Put your vision in written form.

Next week, join me as we look at the next two steps for leading through change! I’ll see you here.  — Mark Powers

 


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Jesus’ Secret for Leading Through Change

Jesus5 Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion?

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.

I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me. You’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Matthew 11:28–30, The Message

Dictionary.com defines change as: “1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of something different from what it is, or from what it would be if left alone; 2. to transform or convert.”

An unknown writer said: “I cannot say whether things will get better if we change; what I can say is that they must change if they are to get better.”

Socrates said: “Let him who would change the world first change himself.”

The Bible talks about change, too. Most Scriptures using the word “change” are assurances that God’s nature will remain unchanged throughout eternity. The remaining Scriptures mentioning change are commands to change our lives to align with God. Though God’s nature never changes, the world he created is ever-changing. Change is a naturally occurring result of a dynamic universe made by a creative God. So we must learn to lead through change because change is always going to be a part of life.

The Scripture above is the secret to unlock Jesus’ plan for leading through change: God is the real leader, and we are following him.

Henry and Richard Blackaby, in their book, Spiritual Leadership: Moving People on to God’s Agenda, wrote: “The key to spiritual leadership is for leaders to understand God’s will for them and their organizations. They then move people away from their own agendas and on to God’s.”

The Scripture in Matthew 11 tells us to “walk, work, and watch” in God, so we will “learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” A leader must stay so close to God that we hear his whisper and walk in his shadow. There is no guarantee that this level of trust and obedience will bring success in worldly terms. Jesus lived like this, and it took him to the cross. Yet we trust in the power of the resurrection regardless of the sacrifice it takes to get there.

GO walk every step with God, and be the leader HE has called you and gifted you to be!  — Mark Powers

 


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When Change is Hard… Three Things That Can Help

Signs of Change Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?

Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

Jeremiah 13:23, NIV

In the cover article entitled “Change or Die” for Fast Company magazine, May 2005 edition, Alan Deutschman posed the question, “If you were told today that you must make significant changes in your lifestyle or face imminent death, could you make the necessary changes? Yes, you say? Try again. Yes? You’re probably deluding yourself. Here are the odds, the scientifically studied odds: nine to one. That’s nine to one against you. How do you like those odds?”1

Deutschman reported that in 2005, at IBM’s Global Outlook Conference, a panel of experts was enlisted to study the American healthcare crisis. Healthcare at that time was consuming an astounding 15 percent of our Gross National Product at 1.8 trillion dollars a year. As the dream team of experts took the stage, everyone held their breath in anticipation of a breakthrough. What was the answer from their exhaustive research?

Ray Levey, founder of the Global Medical Forum, told the audience, “A relatively small percentage of the population consumes the vast majority of the health-care budget for diseases that are very well known and are by and large behavioral.”

Edward Miller, dean of the medical school and CEO at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, continued the report: “If you look at people after coronary artery bypass, ninety percent of them have not changed their lifestyle. That’s been studied over and over again. Even though they know they have a very bad disease and they know they should change their lifestyle, for whatever reason, they can’t.”

In other words, most of us are sick because we refuse to change our basic behavior to get well. When faced with the choice to change or die, nine out of ten of us refuse to change. In fact, the panel discovered that CEOs, supposedly the primary change agents for their companies, are often as resistant to change as anyone and as prone to backsliding. Do you think that might also be true for church leaders?

What set apart the 10 percent of heart patients who embraced change from the 90 percent who rejected it? The answer gives us some important insights into motivating change. Deutschman cited John Kotter, a Harvard Business School professor who studied dozens of organizations in the midst of upheaval: “The central issue is never strategy, structure, culture, or systems. The core of the matter is always about changing the behavior of people . . . Behavioral change happens most effectively by speaking to people’s feelings. In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought.”

The ability to manage change will always depend on the quality of your relationships. Remember, Christianity is foremost a relationship with God through Christ, not a religion. So resolve to build relationships ever deeper as the context for your leadership. Then, in the context of relationship, influence the emotions of worshipers to embrace change by:

  1. Asking powerful questions: We can move worshipers emotionally by asking them leading questions. Good questions first help them identify the emotional issues blocking their objectivity. Next, questions can lead them to discover missional solutions they can embrace. Finally, your questions should move them toward personal commitment to spiritual growth. Transition your relational methodology from providing answers to asking questions that motivate change.
  2. Using the storying method: Storying blazes a trail through our emotions to our intellect. Bible storying connects our heart with God by speaking to our feelings. That’s why Jesus taught the crowds in parables.
  3. Sharing powerful missional stories: Real life stories are an effective way to inspire change. Present the problems first and then tell the success stories of those finding missional solutions to problems in your community.

Leaders today must find new ways to reach people’s hearts to affect life-change. Leadership specialists are helping us see that true leaders first sell the problem before they sell the solution. Present the problems in ways that move us emotionally and challenge our hearts.

Changed hearts lead to changed people. Changed people can change churches and our world. 

What specific ways can YOU apply these principles to your leadership?  — Mark Powers

Deutschman, “Change or Die,” Fast Company, page unknown.