Leading Your Team Into the Unknown

Innovate or die. That’s how one great leader described the dilemma of change. If we hold back innovation we do so because of fear of change, fear of losing people, fear of the bottom line.

But leaders lead. Either they lead or someone else will. Innovative leaders assess and they insist on change based on their assessment. They evaluate effectiveness and productivity, and then they make the hard choices.

Great leaders empower their church, team, business and organization to innovate. They challenge the status quo, they model the way forward, they encourage the hearts of the faint-hearted, and they inspire a common vision of what can be.

The last thing a great leader does is accept the status quo. Great leaders appear everywhere we look: in the home, at school, in the office, at church and on the playing field. They are great because they are not satisfied with what is... they know about “change resisters” and “slow-change adapters”, but they flourish in spite of those who don’t do change well.

Great leaders create a culture that says, “We change. We care enough to make hard choices. We believe yesterday’s solutions will not solve today’s problems and will not meet tomorrow’s challenges.”

Great leaders attract other great leaders in the making. They are not interested in creating followers, they want more leaders. Great leaders know an innovative culture attracts more leaders, and more leaders make things happen.

Innovative leaders are not threatened by other leaders. They welcome other leaders to join them because they value leadership more than they value status or comfort or power.

Leading Change

Note: I have attempted to lead change and failed several times in my leadership journey. And I have successfully led change on other occasions. The article below is from the excellent site, www.churchplanting.com   I would add to the significant wisdom in this guest article, change has to be values based, and not for the sake of innovation or inspiration. When it is values based, then the sacrifices necessary to make change are worth enduring because they are made for something we believe in deeply. 

The first two points are the most crucial in making change: a genuine sense of urgency and forming a guiding coalition. Enjoy, Floyd

Like most of you, I’m sure; I read a fair amount of the classic as well as “new arrival” works in the field of leadership and management. If translated thoughtfully and processed with theological care, learnings from this body of work could enhance your ministry as a church planter. Consider, as an example, the eight-stage process developed in 1996 by Dr. John Kotter – then of the Harvard Business School (www.johnkotter.com) – as related to navigating a group, team, organization, or church through the challenging waters of change. Unlike many strategic leadership taxonomies, this one is best followed in sequential order.

1. Establish a sense of urgency

  • Examine the contextual realities
  • Identify and discuss crises, potential disruptions, or major opportunities

2. Create a guiding coalition

  • Assemble a group with enough expertise and credibility to lead change
  • Take time to build the group into a true team

3. Develop a vision and strategy for the change effort

  • Focus on the “why” even more than the “how”
  • Develop primary and contingency strategies for achieving the change

4. Communicate the change vision

  • Use every means and occasion possible to consistently communicate the new vision and need for change
  • Motivate the guiding coalition to model behaviors expected post-change

5. Empower broad-based action

  • Strive to eliminate structural obstacles in your church to the change
  • Adjust or change systems that could undermine the vision for change
  • Encourage risk taking as well as “out of the box” thinking and action

6. Generate short-term wins

  • Plan for and even “create” visible improvements in performance or “wins”
  • Opening recognize and celebrate those “wins” no matter how small
  1. Consolidate gains and produce more change
  • Use growing credibility to make further changes that advance the transforming vision
  • Reinvigorate the change process with new themes, projects, and change agents

8. Anchor the new approaches in the church culture

  • Articulate the connections between new behaviors and ministry effectiveness
  • Proactively develop means to ensure leadership development, reproduction, and succession to minimize discontinuity

Read more here: Learning from the Business Gurus | ChurchPlanting.com


What will it take to change our colleges and seminaries?

"The men that will change the colleges and seminaries here representedare the men that will spend the most time alone with God. It takes time for the fires to burn. It takes time for God to draw near and for us to know that He is there. It takes time to assimilate His truth. You ask me, How much time? I do not know. I know it means time enough to forget time."

- John Mott


Change. Few people like it. Except those who thrive on change, such as visionaries, entrepreneurs, and pioneers. In today's world, change is normal due to the rapidly expanding availability of information on the internet and the global nature of the world economy.

There are three dimensions to change:
Arena of change - the circumstances
Agenda of change - what God wants to do
Agents of change - The people God uses to bring about change
We often confuse the three. We can blame people, the agents of change, when God is actually using people, even our critics or enemies, for his agenda. In Acts, God used Roman emperors to bring about change in the church. Circumstances can be an agent of change, such as health, death in the family, a job loss, and other factors in life. Difficult circumstances can bring us to the river's edge: shall we take the risk and cross over, or do we wait for the current to die down and go forward slowly on safe ground? Perhaps, we don't go anywhere... just stay here where is it is predictable and safe?
Examples in the book of Acts of the arena, the agenda and the agents to bring about God planned change:
- Acts 4:1-35
- Acts 6:1-8
- Acts 7:54 - 8:8
- Acts 16:6-15
Discernment is required... do you have grace to carry on? What is God up to?
Some questions to ask as you wrestle with the question of transition and change:
Are you experiencing the peace of God spiritual fruitfulness where you are?
Are you utilizing your God given spiritual gifts to be the person God created you to be?
Have you lost grace for your present circumstances?
Are you experiencing a "holy frustration" that is preparing you for a transition to the "other side of the river?"
Are you reacting or acting to the agents and arena of change in your life?