Create a faith-based Financial Life Plan - Episode 28


1. Fran, you worked 20 years in the field of chemical manufacturing and then one day you switched careers to financial planning. What led you to that decision?

2. There must have been some hardships when you changed careers. What were some of those and how did you navigate them?

3. In your bio, you say that guiding Christians in financial stewardship is a passion. Tell us why this is?

4. You've created a website to guide Christians in their financial life. Tell us about this website and what our listeners can find there.

5. Is this website designed for beginners or someone with more advanced knowledge of personal finance?

6. If a listener to this podcast wants to sign up to be a Founding Member on your website for the low price of $100 giving them access for a full year, what would they need to do?

7. Is your website just for individuals or will you be marketing it to groups as well?

8. Many of my listeners are pastors. Most pastors, when they speak about money, it is along the lines of tithing. Many people struggle to fit a tithe into their monthly budget. How do you cover this in your course Purpose, Peace and Prosperity?

9. You also said this website is designed as a Financial Wellness program for Christian employers. I assume this means Christian universities, hospitals and such. What would an employer gain from offering an annual membership to their employees?

10. Thanks, Fran for spending time with us. How can the listeners reach you if they have any questions, especially about financial planning? 

Contact Information

http://www.faithbasedfinancialwellness.com

Closing Thoughts

If you have enjoyed this podcast, please review the podcast at iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen.
Coaching Christian Leaders is an extension of the coaching I provide. I am a trained Christian Leadership coach. I help Christian leaders build healthy ministries. Feel free to contact me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com for more information about the coaching.
Also, join one of the Christian Leader Masterminds I facilitate. These masterminds are free - no cost to you - but seats are limited to only six participants. Visit the website CoachingChristianLeaders.com for more information or email me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com

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Your 30-60-90 Day Plan - Episode 27


 

Hi, this is Mark Jones and today I want to share a story about how I completely overhauled the most important ministry of the church and did not lose one member.

But before we get into that, I want to thank you for listening to Coaching Christian Leaders.  I truly appreciate your support.

Since episode 22 we have been studying how to lead change in your organization. We learned that all changes go through three distinct phases. First, something must end. Then the second phase is what Dr. William Bridges in his book Managing Transitions the neutral zone. And finally, the third phase is the starting of something new.

Today we are going to talk about starting that new ministry. And I will have several coaching questions for you that will help with the startup

In the last episode, we focused on the work going on while you are between the old and the new – the neutral zone phase. I recommended that create and manage a transition management team. This team is preparing future leaders, creating the necessary materials – curriculum, policies, things like that. It is a highly creative time, that should never be skipped.

One thing the transition management team must create is a 30-, 60-, 90-Day Plan. This 30, 60, 90 Plan will get your start-up off on good footing, and most importantly it will enable you to get some early wins.

John Kotter, in his book Leading Change, really stresses the importance of these early wins.

I am really keen on Dr. Kotters’ book, Leading Change. I want to recommend you pick up a copy. It is an excellent book and I will be referring to some of his ideas today. And in future episodes, we will dive even deeper to try and take Dr. Kotter’s ideas and apply them to the church.

Like William Bridges book, Managing Transitions, Dr. Kotter did not write his book with a church in mind. Rather, the focus is on businesses. But I do believe we can learn from these books and put into action many of the things they present.

Let me quickly share with you Dr. Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model. A few of his ideas will shape this episode. And I will come back to John Kotter’s work in future episodes.

  1. Create an Urgency – I there is no urgency for this change you are attempting then it will fail. You, the leader, need to communicate this urgency. One more thing, if your congregation or your leaders do not catch this urgency, the change will not happen.
  2. Form Powerful Guiding Coalitions
  3. Develop a Vision and a Strategy – I will say bit more about this is a few minutes.
  4. Communicate the Vision – In past episodes, I touched on communication.
  5. Remove Obstacles
  6. Create Short-Term Wins
  7. Consolidate Gains
  8. Anchor Change in the Corporate Culture – Make this change stick or become an essential part of the ministry.

I will feature a few of these in today’s episode. But to get the full understanding, you need to pick up Leading Change by John Kotter.

Now let’s consider your 30, 60, 90 Plan.

Your Transition Management team needs to create this plan – 30, 60, 90 Plan – which will map out the first 30, 60, and 90 days of the start-up. Over the last several episodes we have used the example of changing from a Sunday School model to a small group model of discipleship.

The 30, 60, 90 plan will map out what the first, second, and third month of this transition will look like and what it will accomplish. I will not go into the finer details of this plan using this example. That would not be productive. But I will cover some questions that will guide you as you develop the 30, 60, 90 plan.

One question the team must answer is, What is the vision for this start-up?

Two things to consider when you develop this vision.

  1. For a new ministry, I would not create a vision with a longer look than one year.

In this day and age, you should not create a vision that looks out beyond three years. But for something new let’s keep that original vision to one year. In fact, what I am asking you to do is to break that first year down into 90 blocks. ..... At the end of one year, bring the team back together and create a 3-year vision.

  1. More importantly, this ministry and its vision must support the mission of the organization.

Let me give you an example. Where I am the pastor, we believe strongly that God has already given the mission to the church. I teach that every local church has the same mission – and it’s the Great Commission. So our mission statement is based on the Great Commission.

Every ministry we start has to support the idea of sharing Christ and building believers. If it doesn’t, we won’t start it.

So my advice to you, if your new ministry does not support the vision of the church, don’t do it.

Another question your team must answer as you create the 30, 60, 90 Plan is, What are the objectives or goals of this start-up? These need to be concrete, not abstract. They must be measurable.

You can create objectives for each 30-day period, or set objectives for the end of the 90 days. Going back to our example – a 90-day objective for small groups might be to get 75 percent of all church service attendees in a life group. At the end of the first 90 days, we can easily measure that.

This example, 75 percent of all church service attendees in a small group is what we call a Lag Measure. A Lag Measure is a key measurement for the goal. Here’s a personal example, when I step on the scale and read my bodyweight, that is a lag measure. It is a reported number that I can do nothing about, but it does tell me whether or not I reached the goal.

The next question to ask as you create your 30, 60, 90 plan is, What are the milestones this startup must accomplish over the next 3 months? These milestones are your Lead Measures. A Lead Measure is what you must do the reach your objective.

These are best stated as actions. You want to create the least amount necessary to reach the objective.

I promised you a story about how I completely overhauled the most important ministry in the church and did not suffer for it. Here’s that story.

Years back, I had to lead the church through a complete overhaul of how we financially supported missionaries. We had some key objectives to accomplish.

  • One objective was to reduce the number of missionaries from 72 to approximately 12.
  • Another was to support the remaining 12 at no less than $150 per month.
  • Another objective was to put missions giving in the church budget so that the entire congregation supported our missionaries.
  • A related objective was to fix the mission giving to approximately 25% of the overall church budget.
  • Finally, we wanted all of the supported missionaries to be serving in such a way that it supported our goal for missions – which was church planting and evangelism.

The existing method of mission support was a faith promise that individual church members made to individual missionaries and then funneled that money through the church. When I became the pastor, 100 men women and children were giving 100,000 dollars a year to missions. That was approximately 80% of the church budget. The intent was noble but it was not sustainable.

Here are the milestones or lead measures we had to accomplish along the way.

  • We needed to create a firm mission statement for the mission program – church planting and evangelism.
  • We developed an extensive survey that was sent to all 72 missionaries. It asked many questions about their ministry – where they served, what they were doing, their mission statement, their support levels – and many other questions.
  • The mission committee reviewed all of the surveys
  • The mission committee then selected 12 missionaries that we would support going forward.
  • At key points along the way, we informed the church leadership and the congregation of the progress.
  • We informed the 12 that they would now be supported by the church budget.
  • And we informed the other 60 that their support would no longer come from the church.
  • We encouraged the members of the congregation who had supported these missionaries in the past to continue to do so but not through the church.

Wakefield Valley Bible Church is a church with a long culture of supporting missions. I knew that this change was essential but I did not know how it would all turn out. In the end, we did select 12 missionaries, their support now came directly out of the church budget. That amount was approximately 25 % of the budget. So, in the end, it was a successful change and it still holds to this day.

In you 30, 60, 90-day plan you need to anticipate the major obstacles to the success of this startup. You cannot foresee every obstacle, but you can anticipate most. So ask your team, What are the major obstacles to the success of this change? And then develop a response to the obstacles.

One final thing. When you launch this change, this startup, before you begin you must identify the wins the victories. And you need to plan how you will celebrate these wins.

Do not hope you have wins. Do not anticipate wins. Rather, identify your wins before you even launch. You should have at least one major win for each 30-day period.

Going back to our original example – Sunday School to Small Groups – The objective was 75 percent of all church attendees involved in a small group. A win would be when you achieve 40 %. And another is when you achieve 50%. Maybe you have geographic objectives with small groups – a small group on this side of town and another on the other side of town. A win would be a new group started in a new part of town.

These are just examples. The important thing is you identify them before you start and you celebrate them publicly when they are accomplished.

So quickly, here are the coaching questions you can use to aid in developing your 30, 60, 90-day plan.

  1. What is the 1-year vision for this start-up/change?
  2. How does this vision support the mission of the church?
  3. What are the goals or objectives for this change?
  4. What are the milestones or lead measures that will help you accomplish the objectives
  5. What are your anticipated obstacles to success?
  6. What are your wins?
  7. How will you celebrate these wins?

I really want to help pastors and missionaries develop your ability to lead change. I would love to help you build a thriving, healthy church. So if you feel like you or your church is stuck, let’s meet, look at the situation, and find the solutions that will move you and your church forward.

I will have a link in the show notes. You can use that link to set up a 15-minute discovery call and from there we can schedule your two free coaching sessions. If you can’t get to the show notes to use the link, just email me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com. Mention you heard about this offer on the podcast.

We have more to learn concerning change. We still need to learn how to make the change permanent. And we have some great interviews coming up.

Make sure you subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or anywhere you listen.

Also, don’t forget to email me at Mark@coachingChristianLeaders.com if you are interested in coaching.

Thanks, this is Mark Jones, and I look forward to helping you build a healthy church.


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How to Lead Your Church through the Wilderness of Change - Episode 26


There is a place where any great opportunity for change can die. It's a no man's land, a wilderness, filled with temptations and riddled with the bones of past failures.  How do you avoid such? Today, we cover just that.
So about four episodes back, episode number 22, we started looking at how to lead change. At, first we considered two simple questions that will help your board or congregation consider changes.
Then we began to look at Dr. William Bridges ideas on change and transition. Dr. Bridges, in his book, Managing Transitions, teaches that all changes go through three stages of transition – An ending, the neutral zone, and the new beginning.
If this is the first episode you are listening to on change leadership, I suggest you go back to episode 22 and work up to this one.
In episode 24 we finished our work on how to end something. Today we will look at that phase between ending the old thing and starting the new – the area called the neutral zone.
I do not know anything about Dr. Bridges spiritual background. But in his book, Managing Transitions, he does use the Exodus as an example of these three phases.
You know the story – The Jews leave Egypt. They Jews wander in the wilderness for 40 years. The Jews cross over the river Jordan and begin a new thing in the land of promise. There was an ending, and eventually a beginning. But in the middle, those 40 years of wandering, we find the neutral zone.
There are some changes that do not require a neutral zone. You want to change the carpets. You go to Carpet World, pick a color, set up the install date, and step back. A few weeks later you have new carpet.
Some changes though require much more. They require a great deal of thought and work before you start something new. And managing the handover, the neutral zone, is essential. I will give you 4 things you must do while you are in the neutral zone, before you start the new thing.
I also, want to share some cautions, things you must be aware of as you wander through the neutral zone. And I will share these cautions first.
Here are 3 cautions, warnings, about the time between ending something and starting something new.
  1. People are more apt to leave during this period of time.
Dr. Bridges shares that in the business world during the period of time between the old thing and the new, employees are more apt to quit, come in late, or miss more time.
In the church world, I suspect that people are more apt to leave.  Why is that? The familiar is now gone, but nothing new is in its place. They feel like nothing is happening. They sense a lull in the action or movement of the church. So they leave.
In a few minutes, when I go through the 4 things you must do during the period, pay much attention to the idea of presenting the vision. The reason you must present the vision of this change is to keep people engaged, in place, and focused on the near future.
  1. There will be a strong pull to return back to what you had before.
Remember, the Exodus. After they got out into the wilderness, what did the people cry out for? They wanted to go back to Egypt. Numbers 14:4 says, "And they said to each other, 'We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.'" When you are in the Neutral zone, people will try to reset the old thing. They will try to drag you back to Egypt.
“Things were much better when we had Sunday School...let’s go back to that.” Things were much better when our music was traditional....when our name was first Baptist.....when we had AWANA....when we....” You get the idea. Whatever the change, they will cry out for someone to lead them back to what they had before.
  1. The Neutral Zone will satisfy, and you will be tempted to make this no man’s land the new thing.
I don’t want to take this illustration too far, but remember Rueben, Gad, and Manasseh stayed on the other side of Jordan. You, your leadership, and your congregation will falter while you are in the neutral zone because you will begin to believe that you have fully accomplished the change. You will shut the process down and be content stay there.
In the past, I have fallen to this temptation and I have allowed some valuable changes to die in the neutral zone. A large reason was the temptation to stay in this secure wilderness of the neutral zone. Another reason is that I did not fully articulate what the change was to be.
Here is a great question to ask yourself and your team when tempted to make the neutral zone the new idea – What must be true for this change to be successful? If you can answer this question – and I would encourage you to answer this in writing with great detail – when you waver you will look at this question - What must be true for this change to be successful – and its answer and you will know that you are not there yet and to keep on rowing.

Now let’s explore what you must do while you are in the neutral zone.
  1. You must build teams that will oversee this change as it transitions from the old thing to the new thing. I feel it is essential that you have more than yourself managing this change. And the bigger, or the more important the change, the more you need to invest great thought and great intention in team construction.
Let me share what worked well for me in team construction.
Keep your teams lean, but also make them large enough to get a cross section of ideas and skills.
About two years ago, I had been at the church for approximately 10 years. The pastor I preceded had been at the church for 31 years. I wanted to take the church through was a change of vision and direction.
Here’s what I did when I constructed my team.
I personally recruited all of the members. I did not place an add in the bulletin asking for volunteers to be on the team. I picked them and individually invited them.
How did I come up with the list? Before I approached anyone to ask them to join, I went through the entire list of members and regular attenders. I divided this list into two groups. Those that were at the church before I arrived and those who had started attending after I arrived.
I then sorted these two groups by age and gender. The church where I pastor is traditional in who it allows to function as an elder and a deacon. We only use men. For this project, I wanted to make sure women had a voice.
Once I identified when people arrived, their gender, and their age – I did my best to balance the 12 member team – young/old, male/female, here before/here after.
But there was one final filter.  I did not want a bunch of “yes people” but I did want people who were teachable. So, if someone fit all the above requirements but did not have a teachable spirit, they were eliminated.
  1. I think the next thing you must do during the neutral zone period is to identify who will have ownership or a part in the new beginning. Once they are identified, you need to include them in the transition management that your team is doing. It could be they are already on the transition team. If not, bring them on. If they are going to be a part of the new beginning they need to be a part of the transition.
What will the team be doing during the neutral zone period? They will be planning the who, when, where, and what of the new beginning. Using or old example – changing from Sunday School to Small groups, this team will be identifying the leaders, they will be making decisions on curriculum, the nights of the week, whether the groups are open or closed, training requirements for leaders....on and on.
So you need to identify and bring on board everyone who will have a role or ownership in this new beginning. They must be involved with the team that is managing the transition.
  1. One a regular basis you need to put the vision of the new thing before your congregation. Remember earlier I warned you that people will leave or want to return to the old ways. This will happen while you are between the old and the new. To prevent or at least manage that, you need to be communicating the vision for the new beginning.
The Center for Creative Leadership website they listed 9 tips on how you should communicate your vision. I will give you the first 5. And I will mash up 4 and 5 so it will be just one tip
On the show notes, I will have a link to the article if you wish to read the other 4.
  • Tell a story.
When you put things in story form, you give life to your vision. Dr. Brene’ Brown says “Stories are data with soul.”
Use words that paint a picture. Use people and future activities as characters and events in this story. We recently built a new lobby and new bathrooms. I would tell the ladies about the new clean well-lit bathroom.
I would tell the story that Roger will no longer have to climb those dangerous steps to come to church because the new lobby will have an elevator. Sure you will share the costs, and the square footage, and the time – but people will not react to that nor will they remember that.
I learned the power of stories years ago when I preached a sermon. In the sermon I exegeted the passage, I parsed the Greek, I shared all the theological truths that I could share. And in the midst of all that, I shared a story of a three-legged dog.
At the end of the service, I stood in the back to shake hands as I always do. And what did the people talk about, what did they share with me. Not the exegesis, not the Greek, not the theology. No, they wanted to talk about the three-legged dog. They asked questions of the dog, they shared their own stories about three-legged dogs.
Cast the vision in story form and the people will respond to it. Put the story in the future tense and use members of you congregation as characters.
  • Perfect your elevator speech.
An elevator speech is a short speech you can give during a typical elevator ride. In other words, you need a way to share the vision in only one minute or less.
You will probably not share this on an elevator, but you may share it at the start of a SS class or while standing in line at a church fellowship. So have short version.
And this short version should trumpet the negatives if we do not change and the positives of how this change will fix the current problems.
  • Use multiple forms of media.
In a past episode, I told you to use every communication channel you have. Now I am telling you, the more ways you can communicate this vision the better.
The lobby project came alive  for the people when I showed them a 3-d mock up and a video moving the viewer through the projected lobby, the people got very excited.
  • You need to share this vision one-on-one especially with key players, stakeholders, and key supporters in your church.
Sounds like your schmoozing. And you are. There are people in every church who people come to and respect. They have official leadership positions – elder, deacon, trustee – and unofficial – the church busy body, the church know it all. You need to take the time to communicate this vision with these people. And you need to do it one-on-one.
How often should you share the vision. If you do the above 4 steps you will be sharing the vision all the time. But I would not let 3 Sundays go by before I present the vision again.
  1. The final thing you need to do while you are in the neutral zone is that you need to manage.
If you are like me you already hate this step. I would much rather teach and preach. But with changes, you must put on your manager hat and manage this change.
You need to manage the transition team. You need to manage the key leaders that will be owning the new thing. And you need to manage presenting of the vision.
You need to be hands on, no laissez-faire laid back style will probably not work. Sorry for that news. You need to manage the journey through the neutral zone.
So, we considered phase two of change – every transition has three parts – the ending, the neutral zone and the beginning of the new thing. Today we looked a the neutral zone.
I covered the three hazards found in the neutral zone
  1. People are more apt to leave.
  2. People will want to return to the former ways.
  3. You will be tempted to remain in the neutral zone and called it change.
Then we covered the four things you must do the complete the neutral zone
  1. You must build a transition management team.
  2. You must identifiy the owners of the new beginning and get them involved.
  3. You must regularly communicate the vision.
  4. You must closely manage the process through the neutral zone.

This is Mark Jones and you have been listening to episode 26 of Coaching Christian Leaders. If you have benefitted from this podcast, please leave a review on iTunes or wherever you listen.
If you are about to go through a major change I strongly suggest you read Dr. William Bridge’s book Managing Transitions. I will have a link in the show notes.
Finally, if you feel that coaching would help you, that is something I provide one-to-one and with groups. You can contact me at Mark@coachingchrisitanleaders.com for more information.
Thanks and I will speak with you soon.

Resources

Managing Transitions, by William Bridges
The Center for Creative Leadership -
https://www.ccl.org/multimedia/podcast/communicating-the-vision/

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How To Rebound From Sin and Failure - Episode 25


Can you ever recover from failure and sin? Will God ever use you again? Or are you stuck on the sidelines, never to serve again? Pastor Bill Baldwin answers these questions.
Currently, Bill is the Senior Pastor of Harvest Church in Albemarle, North Carolina. He is also the author of the book, Rebound: Rising From Failure Back to Purpose and Destiny.

Bill Shared

  • His Testimony 1:10
  • The inspiration for his book, Rebound: Rising from Failure Back to Purpose and Destiny. 3:35
  • The purpose and the intended reader of Rebound 9:55
  • Why people feel as if God has abandoned them 13:45
  • How we should understand God’s love when we sin and fail 18:30
  • The right way to understand repentance 21:35
  • His C.H.R.I.S.T. outline  26:55
  • Some simple steps to experience rebound 31:45
  • His counsel for the person who cannot forgive himself. 38:44

Closing Thoughts

Please share this episode, especially with those struggling with failure. Also, give the gift of Bill's book, Rebound: Rising from Failure Back to Purpose and Destiny.
If you have enjoyed this podcast, please review the podcast at iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen.
Coaching Christian Leaders is an extension of the coaching I provide. I am a trained Christian Leadership coach. I help Christian leaders build healthy ministries. Feel free to contact me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com for more information about the coaching.
Also, join one of the Christian Leader Masterminds I facilitate. These masterminds are free - no cost to you - but seats are limited to only six participants. Visit the website CoachingChristianLeaders.com for more information or email me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com

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How to Communicate Change to Your Congregation - Episode 24


How to Communicate Change to Your Congregation
This year, 2019, we are focusing our efforts on how to lead change. In episode 23 we addressed in part how to end something.
Dr. William Bridges in his book Managing Transitions tells us that change begins when you first end something. Ending the current thing is part of starting something new.
Dr. Bridges separates change from a transition. When you when you decide to change something, say your service times, that is just a change. A transition is a process of ending the former service times and then adopting the new service times.
A transition is made up of three phases – An ending (the current thing must end), the neutral zone, and the new beginning.
In the last episode, we focused on the ending phase.  I covered 5 questions to help you end something. Here again, are those questions.
  1. What is actually ending?
  2. Who is losing what?
  3. What are the secondary changes your change will cause?
  4. How will people react emotionally to this change?
  5. Is this change something the church stands for or is known for?
If you have not listened to episode 23, I strongly encourage you to listen to that episode either before you listen to this one, or immediately after you listen to this one. Episodes 23 and 24 need to be considered together.
We are moving forward from these questions but we are still in the ending phase. Today, I want to share with three additional steps you must consider as you end something.
The first thing to consider is how often and what you will communicate to the congregation and to any boards or teams associated with the change. This communication begins prior to the ending and continues all through the transition.
Let’s focus on the congregation first. My rule of thumb is to communicate with the congregation every time there is a significant change or every 21 days. Whichever comes first.  Feel free to modify that 21-day rule down to 14 days. I have found with my congregation, that they get nervous about change, so every 14 days or with every change, whichever happens first, is the modified rule of thumb. But definitely, no more than 21 days between updates.
How should you communicate with the congregation? You should use every communication channel you normally use. In my situation, that would be me or a team leader speaking from the platform on Sunday morning and putting a similar announcement in the bulletin.
If you have a monitor in the lobby that scrolls announcements, it should also be there. If you publish a newsletter, it must also be there.
Every time you make a change, or at least every 21 days, you must share this with the congregation using every communication channel you normally use.
What do you tell the congregation? You tell them everything they need to know and everything they already know.
You as the leader can determine what they need to know. But a church is not the CIA. The CIA withholds information for good reasons. Less is better. But you are a church. And a church is both an organization and a family. So, in my opinion, More is better. It is better to err on giving too much than too little.
So, what do you tell the congregation? You tell them everything they need to know and everything they already know.
What do I mean by the last part, “everything they already know”?
Even if they can figure it out, or get the knowledge from somewhere else, you must still inform them using all channels. Here is an example.
The church where I serve as pastor recently built a new lobby. To me the process was obvious.
  • The contractors dug a hole.
  • Later they poured footers
  • After that up went the walls
  • And every week or so after that, the crew finished another part of the new lobby.
Every Sunday and every Wednesday evening, the congregation came to church and with their own eyes saw the progress.
But over time they began to complain. “We want to know what’s going on. You need to keep us informed.”
So from then on, I informed them of the progress and the setbacks. Every week or two I gave an update.
With the congregation, you need to tell them what they need to know and tell them what they already know. Use every communication channel you have. The more you share, the less they will complain and the more they will support the project.
But it’s not just the congregation you report to. You must keep your board and any team that is part of this project informed.
With boards and teams, they need to know about every change and every milestone you cross. And they should be notified as often as these things occur. I believe you can keep team communication to weekly. But hold nothing back.
With your board and teams, you should take advantage of the technology of today. Email, text, maybe a project management app like Trello or Asana, to keep them up to date.
Most church boards or leadership teams are staffed with volunteers. It is not unusual for a board to meet once per month. That’s too long between updates when going through a transition. So use email, texting, or a project management app to keep the team up to date.
Remember, it is this group that you first sold on the change. You went into this project with their support. You need to communicate often in order to keep their support.
I also find that congregation members go to board members for updates and to voice their concerns. The more the board or team knows the better they can handle these moments.
How far in advance do you start communicating this change with the congregation? How far in advance is dependent upon the scope of the change. The bigger the change, the farther out you begin to communicate. But what that number is – six months, 90 days, - that should depend on you, your church, and the project.
The important thing is to communicate in general once the decision to change has been made. Communicate in specifics only after you have mapped out all aspects of the change.  Once you know the who, when, where, and what, then begin the process as described above.
Number two,
When you are ending something in order to start something new, you need to be very clear about what is ending and what is not.
You need to put this in writing. You need to communicate these precise words from the platform and over every communication channel. Be very specific.
In the last episode, we used the example of ending Sunday in order to start small groups. Maybe the statement to communicate would be:
“The first Sunday in May, May 1st will be the final time we will have Sunday School. Come one last time to study the Bible together. Immediately after Sunday School, we will have a 15-minute reception to honor our Sunday School Superintendent and our teachers. Donuts, Juice, and Coffee will be served.
The following Monday evening will be the official kick-off for small groups. .......”
Put dates, names, times, milestones, everything that the people need to know, in print, and communicate it clearly.
Why do you need to communicate exactly what is ending and what is not?
Because if you are not clear on what is ending and what is not ending, someone will try to keep on doing it. There is always resistance to change. To eliminate that resistance, you must communicate clearly what is and what is not ending.
Number three. When you end something, if appropriate, celebrate the ending.
Several years back, we had to tear down the original church to make room for the changes to the current building. This former church went back to 1900. It had not been used as a church since about 1950 and was in sad shape.
It took some leadership and salesmanship to get the congregation to agree to knock it down. But finally, all parties agreed. Before the wrecking ball arrived we had a special service. We gathered beside the former church. Some of the older members shared their memories of the building – salvations, baptisms, weddings. We asked God to bless the future that the raising of this building would create. And a week later, I grabbed about 30 bricks out of the pile, before it all went to the dump and made these bricks available to any who wanted them.
When we start something new, we cut ribbons, we invite a special speaker, we have dinners. But when we end something, often it is done quietly.
I believe, when it is appropriate, we should end something with as much celebration as when we would start something.
So when appropriate, celebrate the ending.
Let’s conclude this episode by creating some coaching questions that you can use with your transition team.
  1. What are we going to communicate to the congregation about this change?
  2. When will we begin to share information about the change with the congregation?
  3. How often will we update the congregation?
  4. What channels of communication will we use?
  5. Who will be responsible for each channel?
  6. What is the specific wording on what will end and what will not end?
  7. Who will deliver this specific communication to the church?
  8. How will we celebrate the ending?
  9. What token or memento can we give to the church members to celebrate the ending?
  10. Who will lead this celebration?
  11. Who will we recognize at this celebration and who else will participate?
These are some great questions to lead your team through this phase of the change. I will have them in the show notes and in the near future, I will provide a handout you can download.
That concludes the first phase of how to lead a change. You lead a change by first ending something.
If you have benefited from this episode or the podcast in general, please review the podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen.
Also, remember what I shared with you at the start of this episode. I am opening up another mastermind. If you want more information, please email me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com for more information.
I believe every Bible preaching, God-honoring church can be healthy, regardless of size. To that end, I help pastors, especially pastors of small churches, build healthy churches. How do I do that? I do it through coaching.
Every pastor needs a coach. So let’s talk and see if I am the right coach for you. Go to coachingchristianleaders.com to book your complimentary coaching session or just email me at Mark@coachingchristianleaders.com
In the next episode, we will take a break from the subject of leading change and speak with Pastor Bill Baldwin. Bill is the author of book Rebound: Rising from Failure Back to Purpose and Destiny. I truly enjoyed my conversation with Bill and I think very highly of him and his book. So I know you will get a lot out of this conversation.
This is Mark Jones. I will speak to you soon.

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