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Making Changes Without Getting People Steamed
By: Author Unknown
"The fiercest battles are seldom fought over theology. More often, they are fought over change; sometimes even the slightest change. Here's a process that can smooth the way for change."
Test the waters. The first thing to with a new idea is find out how people will react should the change take place. First, it lets you know if your dissatisfaction with the status quo is shared by others. Second, testing the waters will tell you what changes not to make. Finally, it lets you know what aspects of a proposed change will cause the most resistance and who the resisters are most likely to be.
Listen and respond to resisters. People who resist our ideas are sometimes labeled adversaries. We should prefer to see them as advisors. They can transform a good idea into a great idea!
[ read more...]
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Without fail, every time I fly, I am amazed at what I can see from the window of an airplane. Whether it is scenic mountains and lakes or large cities, I love to see the view from above the world.
I live about forty miles from Chicago and I drive the Chicago highways quite frequently. What a horrible mess they are. Often it takes two hours or more to get from one side of the city to the other. Many times I have sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic wondering what the problem is and promising myself that I will never drive that highway again. Yet, when I fly over the city I can see all of the highways at the same time. I can point out all of the trouble spots in just a few moments. I can see the bottlenecks, I can see the accidents. New perspective is gained.
If you have been through Chicago more than once, you have probably heard of the 'Hillside Strangler'. It is a notorious section of highway near the town of Hillside where two interstates and a road merge into a single lane to enter the Eisenhower Expressway. It has long been dubbed one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the world. It will literally stop you dead in your tracks where you won't be able to move for a long, long time. A few years ago they spent over a 100 million dollars to fix the problem. They widened the entrance to three lanes. However, after all of the time and money they spent to fix this, the traffic flow is only slightly better. People are just as frustrated as before. When you see this area from above, you can see that the congestion has only been pushed further east. The problem is easily seen from the sky, three lanes are not enough for this traffic merger, and they need more lanes stretched out over more distance. The estimated cost to rebuild this section of highway is now well over one billion dollars.
It is amazing how crystal clear the answers are when seen from above. The perspective one can receive from the skies is like receiving new revelation.
During a time of terrible persecution and uncertainty, the Apostle John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. There was no way out. Facing the darkest hours of his life, John had many questions on his heart. He couldn't think his way out. He couldn't see his way out. Though he lived to an old age there, he didn't know he would do so at the time.
However, Jesus knew some things John didn't know. Jesus was about to invite John up into the heavens. Jesus wanted to give John some new perspective and some fresh insight.[ read more...]
Why is it that so many Christians who are working are not doing well financially? Unfortunately too many Christians are not equipped with the scriptures and methods required to better manage their money. God has redeemed man from the curse of the law to give him liberty in all things. This includes money.
A person who calls himself a Christian must adhere to the scriptures in order to better prepare himself. Christians should not worry about money. They should not fret about their finances. But they should rely on the blessing of God to provide for them everything they need.
In the Chronicles, the young king Amaziah was entrusted with the army of Judah. He numbered them and prepared them for battle. However, with only three hundred thousand men ready for battle, the king felt that he needed more soldiers. So he contacted with Israel for one hundred thousand more men and paid one hundred talents of silver for their services.
The man of God came to King Amaziah and said that God did not want him to use the soldiers of Israel and if the king did so, God would not be with him. It was obvious what had to be done, however, the King questioned the man of God. “What then shall I do with the hundred talents of silver that has been paid for the service of Israel’s army.” The man of God replied, “God is able to give you much more than this!”
God is able…fully capable…ready and willing to give you much more if you will only learn to maintain his economic plan and manage what you have. You can have the blessings of God on you life by obedience.[ read more...]
Home Friendship Groups (Cell ministry), are gaining greater and greater interest as we hear the success stories from those who have ventured into this ministry. The largest and fastest growing churches in the world are churches with HFG's.
10 years ago, the Lord began to speak to me about a model of ministry that to my knowledge, no one was doing at that time. (little did I know) Often, I would look over the congregation and notice people who were faithful to church services, but because of a lack of available positions in the church or their inability to find their own personal ministry, they weren't doing much for the Lord. I also noticed that many visitors and new converts were coming into the church and going right back out since they had no one to befriend or disciple them. As much as these churches had great evangelistic efforts, there was no clear cut program or ministry that was designed for the purpose of retaining new converts.
A short time later, my wife and I began a new church in Chesterton, IN. Within a year, I became very frustrated. I was attempting to model this young church's government and ministry after the larger well established, management driven churches I had been a part of. About that time, I began to hear about Cell ministry. I even found some books which told of the tremendous success of Yonggi Cho's church in Seoul, Korea and Rick Warren's church in Saddleback, CA, as well as several others.
It wasn't long before the Lord directed me to Pastor Anthony Tamel's church in Oak Creek WI. I attended their New Wineskins seminar and wept as they showed me that God was changing my paradigm for church evangelism and discipleship.
With their help and training, we soon brought HFG's to our small church in Chesterton and watched as the Lord transformed peoples lives to both disciple and become discipled through HFG's.
After 6 years of pastoring the church in Chesterton, I began to feel the Lord direct me to turn the church over to the man who assisted me. With that, I heard God tell me to not take another church right away. I felt that the Lord was directing me to make myself available to help teach and train other churches, in the area of Home Friendship Groups.
After discussing this burden with two area Pastors of larger churches, they both asked me to come there and help them train their leaders and raise up HFG's in their church. Both churches now have young, successful HFG ministries.
I have spoken at several churches on the subject of HFG's and have worked very closely with other pastors who have or are in the process of raising up HFG's in their local church.
Home Friendship Groups are very much like early Apostolic evangelism. It's entirely more reflective of true Apostolic ministry than most of today's church structure that is management driven at best.[ read more...]
What makes people act the way they do when they get in a car.
If I bumped into you as we enter an elevator, I would politely say "excuse me" and that would be it. But if my car comes into your lane and "almost" touches yours, Look Out! How many times we read or see where someone was even beaten up or shot over road rage. Testifying before a House transportation subcommittee, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration officials estimated that two-thirds of the 42,000 highway deaths last year were related to aggressive driving, which appears to have joined drunk driving as a perilous trait of American culture.
Otherwise seemingly, quite, reserved people who turn violent when someone cuts them off in traffic. I've done it and so have you. Nothing irritates me more than sitting at a 4 way stop and the person to my right doesn't know it's their turn to go. And so there we sit, waiting for the other person to go first. I wonder if some folks ever did read the driving manual.
I'm sure all of us at one time or another have been rewarded with that certain hand gesture by someone who felt we offended them in traffic. I've even had young girls offer that one now and then. (Maybe I'm just a bad driver.) How could someone give such an offending gesture to someone they don't even know?
Well, that's really what I want to talk about. I only reminded you about your road rage to make a point. The fact is, people experience road rage, because they don't know you. There is nothing personal about driving past someone on the road. Yours is only a very brief encounter. You will never see them again. They can say or do what they want to you and they will never have to face up to it. Your relationship has no value. And as a result, neither do you. Isn't that sad?! (I'll give you a little hint. If you need to get into a lane and no one will let you into it, simply roll the window down and give them a big smile and wave. Now they will let you in.) Try it.
As long as you are only another car on the road, you don't matter. But when you become a face and a person with a smile, well that's another story. They'll stop the traffic in their lane to let you in. I'll admit, I'm a horrible driver. Just ask my wife, she'll tell you. But even she knows that I can cut into any lane of traffic I want, because of a smile and a wave.
I wonder though how many of us have this same mentality even when we get out of our cars. Hmm, let's try a little test here. Let's say you are on vacation and a few hundred miles out, you stop to have dinner at a restaurant. You know, at one of those places where they cook everything in lard. What happens if the service or food is bad? Do you tip her any way? Well you don't have to do you?! After all, she doesn't even know you. Well, you might even be able to get off a couple of "complaints" to her since she won't see you in church this week.[ read more...]
At a Midwestern Fair, spectators gathered for an old fashioned horse pull. The Grand-champion horse pulled a sled with 4,500 pounds on it. The runner up was close, with a 4,400 pound pull. Some of the men wondered what the two horses would pull if hitched together. Separately they totaled nearly 9,000 pounds, but when hitched and working together as a team, they pulled a total weight of over 12,000 pounds.
Herein lies the value of team work. There is some kind of energy that is exchanged when someone feels that there is someone working with them.
I read somewhere a while back of a ward in a particular hospital for premature babies. In one case there was an infant who was several months premature. The mother and father had abandoned the baby at the hospital and it looked as though the child would die. The doctors and nurses did everything they could to care for it, but in all that they did, it grew weaker. In a last ditch effort, one nurse had the idea to place another healthier infant in the same bed as the weak infant. She made sure that the two children were close and touching at all times. Immediately upon feeling the touch of the stronger infant, the weaker one's heart rate began to get stronger and stronger. After several days of touching and being touched by the stronger infant, the preemie became stronger and soon was able to eat on it's own and became healthy.
As leaders, I believe it is paramount that we understand the value of the existent and potential leaders around us. Moses was a man who tried to do everything by himself. He was someone who felt that if God called him to a task, then God would give him the supernatural strength to complete the task. Moses also found out that he was wrong in his assumption.
Moses' father in-law on the other hand, was someone who saw untapped leadership resources everywhere he looked. So, he suggested that Moses find, recruit and train other leaders to assist him in his leadership responsibilities. Once Moses did this, he was not only able to sleep at night, but the needs of Israel were met.
Jesus hardly started His ministry before he chose out 12 men to train in leadership. He understood multiplication instead of addition. Rather than build the church on one man's shoulders, he chose to build it on 13. His and 12 others. As a result of this, when His own life and ministry was ending, 11 others were just beginning. The beauty of the situation was that not one of them detracted from his own ministry, but rather added to it.[ read more...]
Today I yield the floor to one of my mentors. Dr. Fred Childs is a leading church consultant, organizational development expert, and leadership authority. He and Monica reside in Pearland, Texas. Dr. Childs ministry of leadership development within the church has transformed my ministry through the years.
His books and training material have revolutionized hundreds of churches and ministries. His personal testimony is one of many miracles with a very powerful pulpit ministry.
In the last decade, Microsoft introduced its Windows 95 operating system. As one of the many who utilized this software, I would routinely sit and wait the few minutes for my computer to boot up. I never pondered the immense importance of these wasted daily minutes until I participated in a corporate time management seminar in 1996. I was shocked to discover that the cumulative total of the time wasted as individuals waited the few minutes for Windows 95 to boot up exceeded ten thousand man years per day!
Time is valuable. In training and facilitating several thousand professional and corporate teams, I have documented millions of dollars in bottom-line savings and multiplied productivity simply by eliminating the wasted time from the operating processes used to manufacture goods and produce services. The root cause of the rise or fall of many organizations is their ability to manage time efficiently and effectively.
Time is life, and it is perhaps our most precious resource. It can be a tremendous friend or foe, and it is ours to do with as we please. Every moment should be cherished, for it is a commodity that can never be replenished. It is used once and then it is gone forever.
One of the greatest keys to effective leadership is the proper utilization of time resources. There is no greater example of time mastery than the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Scriptural study cannot reveal a single wasted minute in the life, ministry and actions of Jesus! A tremendous example of His personal mastery over time and priorities was in the account of Lazarus. John 11:6 says, “When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.”[ read more...]
I marveled as I observed each presentation. The goals were impressive, and every presenter received accolades at the conclusion of each delivery. It was an annual goal setting and calendar planning session. It was expected that I would be impressed. When everyone was finished the pastor asked me if I had any questions for the various department leaders now that the presentations were finished. I did have a few.
“How many people on your team or in each department have any clue as to what you just presented? As the department leader did any of you create these presentations on your own and without the input of your team? Were any of these presentations simply modifications to last years? Did anyone achieve what was proposed to do last year? How do you hold yourselves accountable to attaining these goals? Do you or they know how you are going to accomplish these goals? How do your goals support the goals of the other departments? Are the goals of every department mutually supporting one common church vision? Are the goals of any one department pulling in a separate direction and counteracting the goals of another? Did the church develop its vision first and then have every department develop goals that are essential in order to reach the vision? Are your goals self-serving or do they benefit everyone else? Are any departments competing for people, calendar time, resources or talents in order to achieve your goals? How do you intend to measure these goals in order to track them? What data did you use in order to set your goals? Does anybody know exactly where this church is heading and what its vision is?”
These were just a few of the questions I asked. Surprisingly nobody had answers for any of these questions.
I then told them a true story. Recently my wife and were stopped at a traffic light. A Day Care Center was located on the corner and we observed over twenty children and a few teachers having a car wash. It was hilarious! Each child had on a little yellow T-shirt with the Day Care Center logo emblazoned proudly across the front. They were running, chasing each other, and expending a lot of energy. It looked like a swarm of little bees humming around. One little boy was chasing some girls with a soapy sponge. Another was spraying his friends with the water hose. There was a cacophony of screaming and laughter in the air. We both laughed at the sight of the people actually doing all of the work. The teachers were washing the cars and trying in vain to get everyone to cooperate with them.[ read more...]
- Pray! Pray! Pray! Pray for wisdom specifically and continually. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest for ministry helpers.
- Seek a God- given vision for growth and philosophy of ministry (core values) and continually communicate them to the church.
- Pray that God will help you identify a core group of people in your church that embrace your vision and core values of ministry and will begin to make positive change in the church.
- Start mentoring your core group. Continue to share the vision and ministry core values God has placed on your heart. Equip them (through one on one mentoring, seminars, video resources, books, etc.) Help them identify their spiritual gifts. Cheerlead them. Love them. Do everything you can to make them a success.
- Praise from the pulpit those who are reaching out. Be careful not to degrade others while you’re publicly identifying those who are making a difference.
- Utilize weekly letters in your church as a means to enhance communication, share your vision, encourage them to bring others to church, praise those who are making a difference, build excitement for Sunday’s services, etc.
- Reach out to members who haven’t come to church in a while. Complacency in the church may have infiltrated their home. It’s time to bring them back into the church.
- Seek ways to reach out to the community with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Gradually begin to use visitation, mail-outs, door to door canvassing, advertising of a variety of sorts, special events, etc. to spread the name of Christ and the church throughout your area of ministry.
There are a number of reasons why a church may decline and confront the prospect of ministry death. Some of the causes are outside the congregation’s control. Others are a direct result of what the people are doing (or not doing) within the church.
Listed are reasons why churches close. The wise leader will recognize where his congregation is and prevent the loss of a church.
- Loss of population base within the community. A significant factor confronting many churches located in isolated rural areas is the decline within the community at large. As the children become adults, there are not enough economic bases to support them. As the population of the community decreases so do the opportunities for the church outreach and growth. New people, having no ties to the community, may travel to a larger metropolitan area to attend a church that has multiple programs.
- Demographic change within a community. Demographic changes alter the cultural setting of the community. Churches that do not adapt to these changes can find it difficult to minister to the new cultural setting. Because small churches tend to be homogeneous, they are often the last to change when transitions occur in the demographic setting. Unwilling to change, they soon become isolated from the mainstream of the community.
- Changes in society. There are several changes within society that have significantly impacted the small church and contributed to the decline of some congregations. In the past, the church was a social center of not only the people who attended, but also the whole community. People came to church to see their neighbors and friends. No longer is the church this social center; instead people have multiple social centers, which draw them away from the church. Consequently the church no longer has the influence within the community it once had. The downside of this is that people no longer attend church for social interaction, making it more difficult to attract new people. Another factor has been the mobility of people. People will drive past many churches to attend the church of their choice. No longer is there the true “community church” where everyone in the community attends because it is the only church available. Now, because distance is no longer an issue, people have multiple choices of which church to attend. A third change in society is consumerism. Previously people attended a church because of their loyalty to the congregation and community. Even if the church was not “ministering to their needs” they remained because of their sense of duty. Now people hop from church to church depending on their particular needs and availability of programs within the church to minister to those needs.