A Leader's Moment of Truth

September 09, 2014

"Every leader makes decisions. Its a major part of their responsibility. But every so often a decision comes along that's going to change everything. You know the ones, those tough decisions where you know that nothing is ever going to be the same again. Every institutional leader is faced with this at some point in their life cycle. Whether it's to expand, or reach new targets, or produce new products, or restructure the whole organization, key decisions will be made that will dramatically alter the course you've been traveling. Something happens when those big decisions begin to materialize. When the changes begin to take effect. Things can get a bit unnerving. If you've ever been in a situation like this you know that its in those big decision moments where you begin to experience fear and doubt from those around you. You may even experience it yourself? Big decisions are hard, for many reasons. Most of all because they usually mean that nothing is going to be like it used to. And if there is one thing that gives fear and doubt traction, its change! Especially when people feel that things were perfectly okay in the first place. Beginning next week our church is moving to two services. Now, we aren't the first church to make such a move, so I can say with confidence that's its been tried before with successful results. As if that alone wasn't enough, we will also be starting a new building addition in the next couple of weeks as well (It's a long story but thanks to the city the project took longer than expected and it ended up coinciding with the two services). Nevertheless, as we are on the threshold of significant change in our church, I've heard and felt the anxiety and fear from some people. In light of that, I thought it would be good to restate some things that I find helpful whenever a situation like this arises that heightens the potential for fear. 1. We Believe in Our Mission As a church, we are bound by the Great Commission and by the promise that Jesus will build His church. It is our responsibility to create opportunities for people to meet Jesus and become transformed by the Gospel. Because we believe in the mission it shapes our decisions so they reflect that belief. The first of our six-part Vision Statement says that ""We want to reach more people for Christ."" The move to a second service is a direct result of our alignment to reaching more people. Does it take us out of our comfort zone; yes. Does it challenge our volunteers and staff; yes. Does it invite the potential for failure; yes. But we will never ""reach more"" if we stay where we are. (Here is an essential truth. Big decisions and ministry that is ineffective have ways of forcing us back to our core mission). 2. Trust the Process Please remember this. We did not arrive at the decision to build and to move to two services overnight. These decisions were part of a long process that entailed countless meetings, discussions, arguments, more deliberations and all the while bathed in prayer. I would love to tell you the number of contingencies and alternate proposals that were entertained before we came to a consensus about the next steps. What I can say is that we are about to embark on a new season unlike any before at Village Green, all of which is a result of countless hours assessing our best options and seeking the mind of God. 3. Trust the Leadership I know this sounds a bit self-serving but hear me out. I can't think of one person on our Board, Elders, staff, or ministry teams that doesn't want the best for our church. This was not a one person decision. It was filtered through many people who struggled with the various options in the same way any other member would have.  Sometimes, leadership can be seen as having ulterior motives or to be out of step with reality, but something happens when a group of leaders rally around a mission as stated above. The decisions are no longer about what is easy, comfortable, expedient, or safe. Its about what will fulfill the mission best, and in our case, every leader rose to the task. Don't get me wrong, there are many people excited about what is happening and are eager to see what God is going to do in the weeks and months ahead. But it is also in these moments when fear and doubt, if allowed to propagate,  can undermine the progress made so far. In many ways its a moment of truth for many leaders. Its one thing to make the decision, its another altogether to see it to fruition. I've wondered how many churches are protecting the present at the expense of the future. I've given you a slice of what is happening in my world personally, but these principles are transferable to many of the big decisions church leaders are often faced with. As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. photo credit: One Way Stock via photopin cc"


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