When I served as a campus and executive pastor in the D.C. area, I recruited a man named Bob Krulogoski as a small group leader at our first multisite campus. As our campus grew, we elevated Bob as a coach of new small group leaders. Then, as we launched many new campuses in the next few years, we made Bob a senior small group coach of other coaches. I think Bob’s leadership eventually accounted for more than 30 small groups under his care. He was basically a pseudo-staff member.
While I learned from Bob as he led and coached small group leaders, I also learned much from him about the weather. You see, by trade, Bob was a meteorologist. Not the type of meteorologist that is the local weatherman on your 6 o’clock news. Bob worked as a meteorologist for the government.
Bob told me that if patterns remained stable, he could accurately predict the weather in specific regions of the world over a month in advance. But weather systems aren’t often stable. Sometimes, depending on the complexity of the systems converging, he couldn’t forecast the weather that would occur in the next 20 minutes.
Isn’t the same often true in our churches? One minute we think we know where we are going and how we’re going to get there, then the next, we’re scrambling and trying to address the complexities that arise in our ministries, communities and even around the world. To respond well, we must be agile leaders, able to lead rapid change. In this ever-changing world, churches have been forced to assess how we do ministry. What was once considered a normal ministry practice has likely adapted or changed altogether.
For example, you may now have fewer available seats in your worship center to practice social distancing. Maxing out the space is no longer an option. Maybe you screen volunteers with temperature checks before they serve or ask them to wear a protective mask. Speaking of volunteers, some of your key volunteer roles have likely adapted or new roles have emerged. Outside of Sunday mornings, weddings and funerals are now likely livestreamed, with fewer attendees present. And weekly cleanings on your campus have probably increased. This list could go on and on.
With these ever-changing dynamics, I want to provide you with a step-by-step guide to leading effective change and becoming a more agile leader. In doing so, you are better prepared to adapt to whatever unforeseen circumstances you may encounter in your church or ministry. These frameworks are designed for you to use over and over again.
The most utilized change management process ever written was by John Kotter in Leading Change. We’ve used Kotter’s original eight steps and adapted them to help your church remain agile in the seasons to come.
STEP 1: What matters now? What is most essential to your church, and how do you carry it out?
STEP 2: Ready your team. You need people with authority, influence, and the right skill sets to remain agile as you adjust and adapt in ministry.
STEP 3: Cast vision and strategy. You must cast vision and strategy to show how this agility and adaptability will be the best course of action for your church.
STEP 4: Communicate, communicate, communicate. Communication should be clear, concise, and genuinely from the heart.
STEP 5: Reallocate resources. You must consider what to stop, shift, strategize, and scale in your ministry.
STEP 6: Create wins. A flywheel is difficult to start turning but, once moving, its momentum keeps it going forward, and it gets easier to move the faster it goes.
STEP 7: Remain agile. Change is transformation that helps you remain agile and best meet the needs of your church and ministry in an increasingly changing world.
Agile leadership is not a one-and-done thing. But in our ever-changing world, becoming more agile as a leader in your church will help you to best propel your church and ministry forward in gospel impact.