I recently worked with a church that had faithfully carried out their mission for 40 years. Then a slow decline took hold. Today, they are nothing like they once were. Recognizing that fact, they brought in an expert to tell them what to do. The expert told them to jettison the past, loose the dead weight and embrace new things research showed were the trends in growing churches. They brought in a new pastor. He discounted their identity from the past and tried to create a new and exciting identity for the future. After some initial excitement (and anger) the “new thing” began to stall out. Interestingly enough, when I read the recommendations of the “expert” I saw many great ideas that I have seen work in many places. So why didn’t they work? What was holding them back?
Change happens—you can fight change but you can’t stop it. Without change, organizations die. Many churches in the U.S. face this challenge: culture has changed, yet churches have not embraced change along the way. Many churches continue to simply try to do what they did in the past in the same way they did it – only “better.” Doing the same thing “better” is not change. [Read more…]