July 21, 2020 Tony Morgan

Leading Changes When You Didn’t CHOOSE the Changes

As Much as We Want to Return to the Old Normal, the New Normal Brings Some Opportunities That Didn’t Previously Exist.

While you’ve been figuring out how to do church in a completely different way over the last several months, we’ve been figuring out how to help churches get unstuck in a completely different way as well.

I’ll unpack what we’re up to in a moment, but do you mind if we hold a little counseling session first?

I’m tired of the “new normal.” I’d really like to go back to the OLD normal. 

In the old normal, my life had a rhythm I was accustomed to. I got to travel to fun places and meet fun people. (Of course, I had to travel to some not so fun places as well, but I tend to block out those trips.) I had my way of doing what I do. Everything about how I do what I do changed in March.

The Problem with Change

In an upcoming episode of The Unstuck Church Podcast, Amy Anderson and I are going to be talking about the emotions all of us go through when we experience change. Included in those emotions are the sense of loss and then doubt and then discomfort. I’ve experienced every one of those emotions in the recent months. Even though I’m the one leading these changes, I didn’t choose these changes. They were forced on me. (I’m sensing you might be able to feel my pain.)

The problem with constant change is that it can leave you paralyzed as a leader.

There’s this sense that we can’t make a decision today based on today’s information because tomorrow’s information make look completely different.

You may not want to hear this, but it’s a guarantee that the world will look different tomorrow. We can’t make plans for a specific moment in time hoping the world around us will stop. Change will continue to happen. Maybe not at the same pace we’ve experienced in recent months. But change will continue to happen.

Because of that, as leaders, we need to deal with our own sense of loss, doubt and discomfort, but we have to move forward. We have to make the plan and begin to work that plan. We can’t live in that emotional funk that follows change. We have to take steps forward. And, because we’re leaders, we then have to help the team around us move forward as well. We might not like it, but change will continue to happen. As leaders, we need to deal with our own sense of loss, doubt and discomfort, but we have to move forward. Click To Tweet

The old normal is not coming back. Yes, eventually, we’ll be able to worship together in the same place. I’ll be able to gather with my small group again in the same living room. I’ll be able to shake someone’s hand without fear that I may be passing along a virus. All of that will eventually happen again. But the old normal will never return. As much as we want to return to the old normal, the new normal actually does have some opportunities that didn’t exist before. Click To Tweet

And, whether I’m willing to admit it or not, in many ways that’s a good thing. The reason I say that is because change also brings discovery and opportunity. What I do hasn’t changed. (Helping churches get unstuck.)  Why I do what I do hasn’t changed. (Because I want people to experience the same transformation in their life that I’ve experienced through a personal relationship with Jesus.) How I do what I do has changed. And, as much as I want to return to the old normal, the new normal actually does have some opportunities that didn’t exist before. While change is difficult, it brings discovery and opportunity. Click To Tweet

So how is The Unstuck Group responding to the new normal?

Let me share a handful of pivots that are making us better and preparing us to help even more churches get unstuck in the future—

We’re shifting from analog to digital.

You’re doing it, and we’re doing it too. We are now able to deliver the entire Unstuck process of helping churches assess their ministry, plan for the future, structure for growth and put that plan into action without traveling to the church.

Over the last several months, we’ve continued to serve almost 50 churches using this new, virtual process. The tools we’re using now actually make the process stronger. And, because we’ve eliminated the costs of travel time and expenses, it’s reduced the investment churches need to make by thousands of dollars.

We’ve embraced planning sprints to help churches pivot faster.

What used to take six months to a year is now condensed down to 90 days. We heard from churches that they didn’t want to wait months to make the strategic and structural changes that were needed to carry out their mission.

Because of that, we streamlined our process to get churches implementing the key changes they need to make within the first 90 days. In a time when the world around us is changing rapidly, it makes sense that we move as quickly as we can to help churches make the necessary pivots.

We are prioritizing the leadership coaching relationships.

Though we’ve always offered leadership coaching through our process, I’ll be honest, it was a bit of an afterthought.

Now, after we help churches rethink their vision, strategy and structure in that 90-day sprint, we shift immediately to helping the senior pastor and/or executive pastor grow their leadership while leading change. That coaching includes monthly one-on-ones, peer support with other like-minded pastors, quarterly check-ins with the church’s leadership team, free access to on-demand courses, online assessments, our new masterclasses and more.

And, if pastors want to just skip to the leadership coaching without the planning process, we’ll do that too.

We’re shifting from projects to relationships.

It’s not that we weren’t focused on relationships previously…I’m confident the pastors we’ve served in the past will agree…but our process and structure was built around a project model. That impacted how we delivered services, how we engaged with pastors, how we “sold” our process and even how we invoiced churches, as an example. Now, the priority is the relationship

Yes, we have a great process. (I know. I’m biased, but I really believe in the Unstuck process because of the results we’ve seen in churches we’ve served.) But, going forward, we want to do everything we can to invest in our relationships and add so much value to pastors that they want to continue to extend the relationship…even though the “project” has been completed. One practical example of this shift will be our invoicing model. Rather than charging up front for the project our team will complete, we’re shifting to a monthly subscription that pastors can cancel at any time.  

In other words, we want to make it as easy as possible for pastors to test-drive the leadership coaching without having to commit thousands of dollars and without having to get their board to approve it. (Yes, we know how hard it is to get your board to spend money.)

That’s a glimpse of that’s coming next at The Unstuck Group. If you’re interested in learning more about the pivots we’re making to help pastors and church leaders like you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us by phone, email or chat. In fact, we’d love to start a coaching relationship with you before the rest of the world has a chance to sign up.

Now that I’ve given you a preview of what’s coming next at The Unstuck Group, I’ll shoot straight with you: 

There are still moments when I am ready to go back to the old normal. 

That said, I’ve never been more excited about the future for our team as we continue to help churches get unstuck and make a greater Kingdom impact…in the new normal.

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Tony Morgan

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. 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.