Leading and managing change: lessons from a church planter #1

The past 18 months has probably seem me face the greatest amount of change in our church plant, since my wife and I planted it.

I’ve had to face many things as our church reached a growth barrier.  A great church with so much potential, faced it’s biggest challenge - me.

I realised Autumn of 2012, that what had gotten our church to where it was, and me in my leadership of it, would not get us to where we should and could be next.

Some of the key things I’ve had to face up to and seek to grow in:

1.  Vision

My vision for our church, and my role as the leader of it was the most important place to start.  I realised I had fallen out of moving forwards with vision into relying on management of what was already in place.  The effort to recover vision and passion for growth was a painful and then exhilarating process.

2.  Skills

There were and still are a whole range of new skills I needed to learn for leadership, management, strategy and execution.  The cycle of realising my incompetence, to undergoing coaching and learning new skills has been challenging and stretching.  What had gotten me here wouldn’t get me there.

3. Character

Then as should always be the case, God needed to work on my character.  This new process of growth and learning brought out the best and worst in me. I’ve had to find ways on my own and with input from others to discern what needed to change within me.  That has been painful as it usually is, but has been the greatest privilege of all.

4.  Counting the Cost

One the things I needed to face up to the most was the cost of change.  I knew what needed to be done and attended to in many ways, but found that I wasn’t ready to undertake that.  Previous seasons of growth had cost me a great deal, and I have then lost both my parents to suicide.  That left me praying that I could avoid the investment in growing that I new would be needed.

5.  Change

Change is prevalent throughout the above.  Change in myself, change in my family and marriage, change in my church staff relationships, friendships and ministry relationships.  More change that I can remember since planting the church.  

In all this God has been good and I have enjoyed a season of being close to him in a way I haven’t experienced for a long time.

Our church is growing in some many wonderful ways, and it stands at the edge of the next major stage in it’s development.  In some ways I feel like I did when we planted the church.

There are so many stories, resources, and lessons from those areas above that I am going to turn them into a blog series.  I hope they will help other church leaders seeking to grow themselves as they lead their churches.