November 12, 2018 Tony Morgan

3 Decision-Making Defaults That Keep Churches from Leading Crucial Changes

Today’s wise decisions produce positive changes tomorrow.

When leaders choose to overlook needed changes, vision stalls, staff become frustrated and momentum is stifled.

So why do leaders decide not to make important changes when they so greatly influence the health of their churches? Here are a few flawed approaches to making decisions I come across often. See if any of them feel familiar.

1. Churches make decisions based on the cost of a change without considering the cost of not making it.  

Adding staff comes with an obvious cost, but what happens in the long-term if key gaps are not filled?

Investing in marketing and technology is expensive, but what is the cost of failing to reach new people or becoming outdated?

Adding a new service requires time, money and effort, but how many people leave and don’t come back when there is no comfortable space for their families?

When it comes to change, successful churches don’t just look at the expense of a decision, they look at the cost of not making it. When it comes to change, successful churches don’t just look at the expense of a decision, they look at the cost of not making it. Click To Tweet

2. Churches make decisions based on a desire to get instant results instead of long-term growth and health.

Churches love putting bandages on areas that desperately need surgeries.

When attendance is down, the answer too often is to throw together a sermon series and plan a giant event. For a couple of weeks, the attendance bumps back up and everyone is happy again… until the next decline.

These churches use the same strategies, expect different results and then wonder how they always end up in the exact same spot.  

Consistently making necessary changes is what keeps churches from getting stuck.

3. Churches primarily look at what worked in the past when deciding whether or not to make a change.

In the book The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson said, “The problem is that most of us live with one foot planted firmly in the past and the other tucked timidly in the future.”

It is easy to completely eliminate faith for the future when it comes to making change. This creates too small a vision that doesn’t require a move of God. Churches can’t execute their vision the same way they did five years ago.  

The same ministry strategies that worked yesterday will not propel your vision into the future. The same ministry strategies that worked yesterday will not propel your vision into the future. Click To Tweet


+ RESOURCES


Decisions That Lead to Lasting Change

Invisible changes are decisions that may not initially seem to produce great impact. At first, they may even seem like a waste of time, yet they are the very actions that lead to health.

Here is are some practical examples….

  • If someone is trying to get healthy and they decide to replace soft drinks with water, at first there will be no visible results. But over time, this one choice will begin producing compounding impact.
  • Investing a small amount of money into a mutual fund or a college savings plan may seem insignificant today but in the long-run it is obviously a wise decision.

The benefits of invisible changes may take a while to show but doing the right things always leads to health and growth. Churches overlook these crucial decisions because they do not seem urgent at the present time. Here are my top three:

Decide you will no longer do ministry without organizational clarity.

Developing a clear mission, vision and strategy for your church is a much better decision than planning out another event that will just lead you to the same results. Developing a clear mission, vision and strategy for your church is a much better decision than planning out another event that will just lead you to the same results. Click To Tweet

Doing this correctly requires a great deal of time, focus and attention and the process won’t fill up an extra row of seats this Sunday morning. It will, however, produce compounding benefits that will lead to long-term health.

Decide to build a staffing strategy that leads you towards health and growth.

Creating a successful staffing and structure strategy is not easy or quick, but it is essential.

When was the last time you’ve taken a close look at your church’s org chart? What is your team missing? Who on your team is not producing? Why? Does everyone on the team know what they are supposed to be doing and how it relates to the bigger picture? Are you filling needs or staffing for vision?

Decide to shift from programs to paths.  

Program-driven approaches lead to competing ministries, consumer mindsets, and a lack of volunteers.

Look at events and programs that are not producing results. Creating a clear discipleship path may not seem as exciting as having a giant easter egg hunt. It may take more time to develop and determine how to measure, but in the long-term it is going to produce far greater results.


Taking Your Next Steps

Your church does not have to have frustrated staff, lack of clarity and declining growth. Today’s wise decisions produce positive changes tomorrow.

If you are interested in discovering how to thrive in leading big changes, there’s a bonus lesson that I haven’t mentioned publicly on that very topic in my Leading an Unstuck Church Course.

It details the change process and equips you to implement it well in your local church.

The course provides resources and ideas to help you get unstuck in this area, but it also addresses some of these invisible changes that have a compounding effect on your church like organizational clarity, staffing and structure, how to develop from programs to paths and much more.

And because you’re busy, you can work through the content online, at your own pace. Enrollment is open again for the Leading an Unstuck Church Course for a short time. Click here to learn how it works.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.