Mark Twain said the only one who likes change is a wet baby! This is true in all of life for almost all of us and is especially pronounced in the church. You want to be moved next year?- start messing with some of the congregation’s sacred cows. Wise clergy and lay leaders know the scope and pace of change they can introduce in the church.
When it does come time to make a chance whether it be doing a way with a long running program or event or changing the order of worship or changing some system it is always important to remember to explain the “why behind the what.” Wise leaders know it is important to communicate the reasoning and thinking behind the change that is being made. Explaining the “why behind the what” does not ensure you will get full support for the change. However, explaining the “why behind the what” puts you in a better position to receive support and helps bring the people you are leading along. Most people will give your change a shot if they understand the change and why it is being made.
How do you let people know the “why behind the what” of the change? If it is a church-wide change it might be important to explain the “why behind the what” from the pulpit or in a newsletter article or even a letter that goes out to the whole congregation or a combination of these depending on the depth of the change. It may be that the change only affects a small number of people and they need to be contacted via email, phone call or spoken to in face to face conversations.
The good news is that you do not have to explain the “why behind the what” of your change by yourself. If you do a good job explaining the “why behind the what” to key leaders you can then count on them as persons who can interpret and explain the changes in a small group, in a parking lot conversation or at any other time there is a question about the change.
Many times it is crucial to make changes in the church. Doing a good job explaining the “why behind the what” will help make those changes stick.
How do you introduce change in your church or ministry setting?
Here are some great resources from around the web as you seek to become a vital congregation that makes disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!
5 Suggestions when People Leave a Church– by Ron Edmondson. It happens. People leave your church. You might wonder why. Ron Edmondson provides five things you can do when someone leaves your church.
7 Habits of Highly Effective Church Staff Meetings– by Thom Rainer. If you are serving a church that has staff meetings and you are the person responsible for preparing and leading those meetings you will not want to miss this piece by Thom Rainer who provides seven keys to get the most out of your staff meetings.
Developing a Thank You System for Your Church– by Ann Michel via the Leading Ideas newsletter from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. Everyone likes to be thanked. In this article Ann Michel lays out a systematic way the church can ensure it is displaying gratitude toward those who support the church financially. By being personal, prompt and planned a church is able to show proper gratitude to its contributors.
10 Questions to Increase Volunteer Engagement– Nick Blevins via Tony Morgan – Every church needs more volunteers. Every church is looking for the silver bullet to allow them to engage more volunteers. Nick Blevins shares ten ways the culture of your church might be hampering your efforts at recruiting more volunteers.
20 Great Questions to Evaluate a Church Ministry or Event– by Will Mancini. You have prayed, you have planned, you have executed, now it is time to evaluate. Evaluation is often the missing piece of our ministry events. Will Mancini shares 20 questions he came across that will help your church evaluate its next ministry event.
Christmas Eve will soon be here and most churches have made their preparations. Here are three quick things you can do to make this evening even more special for your guests and regular attendees by creating an environment that is welcoming and memorable and puts persons in a position to receive the good news of Jesus this Christmas. These ideas have to do with the entrance of the church.
- Consider using luminaries. Luminaries are always a great touch, have great effect and are easy to do. Get those small white bags at a party store, get some tea lite candles and some sand or cat litter. Fill the bags with sand, put in the tea light, light your candles and arrange your bags up the walk to your church, along the drive or on your steps.
- Have some music playing as people approach the church and as they gather in the gathering space outside of the worship space. This is as simple as setting up your phone and connecting to speakers or getting one of those relic things called a CD player and playing it as people enter. The music doesn’t need to be too loud. It should leave room for conversation.
- Continue this multi-sensory experience with a scented candle. Pine scent, apple pie or cookie dough are all great scents that make people feel “at home.” Obviously this needs to go in a safe place and persons’ allergies considered, however, it is a short time in a limited space. Like the music, less is more when it comes to the candles.
All three of these ideas are some simple last minute ways to create a more welcome environment. It goes without saying that all this is for naught without a great greeting team and other efforts by the church to be welcoming.
What ways is your church creating a welcoming environment this Christmas Eve?
If you are a topical preacher (as opposed to a preacher that uses the Lectionary) you want to be intentional about constructing a preaching calendar. In this podcast I discuss how I developed my preaching calendar in the past. In this episode of the Church Ingenuity.Com podcast I share six steps to planning a preaching calendar.
These six steps are:
2. Examine the calendar to see where dates fall for Christmas, Easter, back to school and other holidays.
3. Pray some more! And, examine the issues your mission field is struggling with and ask what God’s word has to say to these issues.
4. Examine your previous year’s preaching calendar to see where balance needs to occur.
5. Categorize potential series for the upcoming year according to type: attractional, growth, have to do series.
6. Receive input and suggestions from those around you that you trust.
Some of the resources I shared in the show include:
Church Leader Insights with Nelson Searcy
Open from LifeChurch.TV
New Spring Church
If you have an idea for a podcast you would like to see or a question about an upcoming episode, please contact me.