5 Years and New Models of Leadership in the World of Churches

A recent post by a friend started with THINGS ARE CHANGING … FAST….

Very accurate.  The speed at which change is occuring is remarkable.  And churches need one thing more than ever as a way to cope with rapid change … agility.

  1. Agility to work with shifting concepts around attendance.  Sunday attendee?  Online?  Small group but never at church?  Service but never small groups?  A lot combinations beyond what was imaginable just 5 short years aog.
  2. Agility to serve a very wide clientel.  Congregations are serving NATIONAL audiences often.  There are local needs … and you have many localities in one congregation.  Look at old churches.  What do those beautiful old buildings lack?  Parking.  No need for it given they drew from several mile/ block radius.  In 5 years the definition of “local” has shifted dramatically.
  3. Agility to empower lay interest and talent to drive programs.  Two basic models … the pyramid and the tree.  Top down or bottom up.  Better be agile enough to be top down about the critical need to be bottom up!  The top down of 5 years ago is rapidly winding down.
  4. Agility to work with many faith systems.  People are not necessarily looking for one faith system.  They are looking for a church community that works for them, that reasonates with their heart.  Don’t be suprised at the Christian who loves Buddism and hangs out with Franciscans.  The “shingle” out front does not matter as much as it did 5 years ago.

For these new models to flourish, we need clear and clean water to sail in.  We need clear and clean air to breathe.  This list from Seth Godin is spot on for churches seeking a way forward….

Expectation: When people wake up in the morning expecting good things to happen, believing that things are possible, open to new ideas–those beliefs become self-fulfilling. We expect that it’s possible to travel somewhere safely, and we expect that speaking up about a new idea won’t lead us to get fired. People in trauma can’t learn or leap or produce very much.

Education: When we are surrounded by people who are skilled, smart and confident, far more gets done. When we learn something new, our productivity goes up.

Civility: Not just table manners, but an environment without bullying, without bribery, without coercion. Clean air, not just to breathe, but to speak in.

And we need this to give shape to agility … we need to be SUPER clear.  We are here to follow Christ’s model of love in action.  To look at that model and do our humble best to live it.  Simplicity, contagious generousity, radical welcome.  Live it better each day.  Better than we did 5 years ago.  And hopefully something we are doing even better 5 years down the road.

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