Lesson 1: Change is necessary
Series: Developing a leadership culture
I want to begin talking to you about an issue that every leader faces and that has to do with the issue of change. Now, I want to do an exercise that probably would work best with those who will work back in English. Now, I’ve never done this exercise with bilingual groups before so you all will have to help me.
When we were growing up in school we had a book about Dick and Jane and Dick and Jane had a dog named Spot. Some of you may remember that. I want everyone to say: Spot. Say Spot again. Spell it for me. S P O T. What do you do when you get to a green light? Most of you said, when you come to a green light you do what, you stop. Some of you said Go. Now, it all has to do with our brains. People who study our brain tell us that if you take somebody down a mental pathway five time, they will still give you the wrong answer. I’m going to do that again.
Everyone say silk, say silk again. SILK. Spell it for me. Say silk one more time. What does a cow drink? Now, you see what happened. Our minds start going a certain way. In church and leadership the most important thing you’re going to do is to deal with the issue of change. But we don’t like change, the only time we like change when it is our idea, otherwise we don’t like change. So in your notes the first thing it says is: Change is necessary. If it works today we can’t assume it will again tomorrow. Whatever you did yesterday was important but what you’re going to do tomorrow is not going to be necessarily yesterday.
In Boston there’s a “big dig” going on. I’ve been coming to Boston since 1992, every time I come the streets are different. Last year I was in a cab in Boston and I asked the cab driver: how do you know the streets? He said: I have to find new ways every day because what worked yesterday is not going to work tomorrow. But to make change effective the second section says: you will either evaluate or stagnate. If you don’t evaluate, you will stagnate. In my hand right now is a cup of fresh water, if it was stagnant water it would be green, it would smell different, it would stink. If this was stagnant water I would not be drinking, but because it is fresh water I can take a drink of it.
Have you ever gone inside a church building, maybe you’re visiting over there, and you could smell something was not right? You didn’t know what it was, you didn’t know exactly the circumstances, but you could scent something was wrong. Because when something is stagnant it has a way of letting the environment know that it’s stagnant.
But I want to talk to you about evaluation, I want to talk to you about why we don’t evaluate. There are 2 reasons for that, the number one reason why we don’t evaluate is because we don’t have any standards to evaluate. We don’t know about the end of 2002 what we’re going to do. If you were to go to a car dealer shop they’ve got goals: how many cars they’re going to sell, then at the end of the month they can tell whether they met those goals or didn’t meet those goals. In church we don’t have any goals because right now, if you got 30 in our youth group, we don’t have any goals saying: by the end of the year we should have 40. We basically judge our ministry by the size of our congregation on Sunday morning. But there are other standards of measurement, measuring spiritual growth, measuring when somebody gets saved, do they move into leadership, measuring how the youth group is maturing, but the reason we don’t evaluate number one is because we don’t have standards. I want to encourage every leader in this room to meet with their leadership and set some goals and set them realistically. If you’ve got 100 people in your church today, don’t set goals of 1000. Set goals of 125. But set goals that you can achieve.
The second reason we don’t evaluate is that once we’ve evaluated we don’t know what we’re going to do with that. For example: let us say that pastor Miranda was my Sunday school teacher and I was his pastor and I evaluated the Sunday school department and in my evaluation I found out that pastor Miranda is not really a good teacher. He’s always late, he’s never prepared, he leaves early, he does not care for the students. So what should I do with pastor Miranda? That becomes the question. If I move him, then he’s going to leave, his wife is going to leave, his children are going to leave, his family is going to leave, hundreds of dollars are going to leave. And once I start thinking about the implications of what it’ll mean, I don’t even want to evaluate. Because I already have an idea he’s not a good teacher, but once my evaluation proofs that he’s not a good teacher, now I’ve got to do something about it, but I don’t want to do anything about it because hundreds of dollars are going to go away. So I just let him continue teaching and the Sunday school department keeps on going down. Does anyone know what I’m talking about? And so it becomes so important for us to evaluate otherwise we will stagnate.
Because this is what the next section says. There must be continual improvement. We’re always improving. Always improving. Now can you improve something without changing it? This is the beautiful flower arrangement, can this be improved? I know a little Spanish, si, no, te amo mucho. A young lady taught me that one time. So this can be improved, but can I improve this without changing it? It is beautiful, it can be improved, but to improve it I must change something about it. Everybody’s for improvement but nobody is for change. Everybody wants to improve, but you start talking about changing, Oh, no, no, no, we want to improve but we don’t want to change. You cannot do that. To improve something you got to change something. You can never improve your life without changing your life.
So we go on to say, a leader must strive to stay ahead of the race specially in the area of people development. People development: after everything is done in a ministry the most important thing that with do is develop people. When you’re singing in the choir, you’re developing people, when I’m preaching I’m developing people, when you’re an usher bringing people in you’re developing people, if you’re running the sound system you’re developing people, if you clean the church you’re developing people. Everything that you do is developing people and so whenever you’re doing something don’t just focus on the task, but know that through doing that task you’ll be developing people. If the people who’re running the sound system saw themselves only as sound, then they will see their task but if they can see it another way that through their ministry you all can hear, then it enlarges the perspective. As a leader it’s is important for us to show people that what they’re doing is important but more important than that is the impact of what they’re doing. And then they’re not just running the sound system but they’re blessing hundreds of people this morning and without them we could not do this, because they’re not just in the background, they’re part of this team. This team that’s making today happen. Somebody sent out letter to you, somebody made phone calls, somebody made an announcements, somebody brought in these flowers, somebody printed the notes, somebody translated the notes, somebody put them binders, somebody …. a TV camera, it takes a whole team to make today happen.
It’s not about me. It’s not about pastor Miranda. It’s about this whole team. It takes all of us to make this happen. It would be totally arrogant of me to think that I can show up on a platform and do what I’m doing. Hundreds of hours of planning have gone into today. Money has gone into today, people’s time has gone into today, commitment on your part has gone into today. And so we are here today, because there was a team that brought us together. In your church, in your ministry, in your leadership, it’ll take a team to do what you want to do. So stop doing it by yourself, pull team members.
When Jesus knew that he had 3 and a half years to live he didn’t go and get a crowd, he got himself a team. A team. We call them disciples, but He poured himself into their lives, He cultivated them and it is because of those disciples that you and I are here today. It takes a team. It takes a team. It takes a team.
If I was to go climbing a small mountain, I can put a backpack and I can go myself, but if I were to climb Mount Everest I would need a team. So if you’re climbing by yourself, maybe you’re not climbing a very high hill. But if you want to climb Mount Everest, if you want to do great things for Jesus, you’ve got to create a team around you because you are in the people development business.
The next blanks are growth and change, are topics that have been studied for years. I want you to see something about the sigmoid curve. You can read that on your own but I want you to see that diagram to the right. You see the arrow at point a), is it going up or down? It’s going up. At point b) it’s going down. What happens in organizations is that as they’re growing, they’re going up. At point a) the leader sees the need to make changes but nothing is negative right now, but the leaders see the need for that. Everybody else is going to see the need at point b). Now, here’s the challenge: let just say I am the pastor, and brother Roberto Miranda is my worship leader. Church is growing, good things are happening, but then at point a) I notice something about him, I notice something about his spirit, about his attitude, about how he is doing things, and I can see that I need to change him, but nobody else can see that need. They will all see that need at point b), but at point b) the decline has already set in. Here’s the challenge at the bottom of the page. This is difficult because no one else in the organization sees the need to fix what is wrong. They’re saying: what’s wrong with Pastor Miranda? He is a good worship leader, but only the leader can see that need.
How many pastors are here? May I see your hands? Thank you. Let me talk to the church members. In an organization God shows what needs to be changed to the leader of the church. God has always talked to one person in the Bible, God has never talked to a group of people, never. He does not talk to boards, He does not talk to committees. He talks to one person. Be it Abraham, be it Isaac, Daniel, Isaiah, no matter who it is, He’s always talked to one person. Moses, Joshua, doesn’t matter who comes to your mind, He only talks to one person at point a). But the challenge is; if the leader was to make changes at point a) everybody else is going to say: why did he do that? We were going up, thing’s were going well, what’s wrong with you? But that is where it is important for you to trust the leaders God has placed in your church. You’ve got to trust them. You’ve got to trust them. You’ve got to trust them.
Because if you don’t trust your leader, then he’s never your leader. If you don’t trust your leader, you will never be able to follow them with confidence, and if you cannot trust this leader, go find you somebody you can trust. When you go to church no one is holding a gun to your head. May I suggest that you go where you can trust somebody. There’s no need in you go sitting somewhere and listening to him and say: I don’t agree with that. Because the Bible says this: there’s a pastor is gift to the church, he’s a messenger to the church, we need to respect our pastor, they are leaders, and we need to trust them, support them. Now, are they going to ever make mistakes? Of course, they’re going to make mistakes, they’re human beings.
So the second page says this to us: a period of chaos Do you see the diagram to the left, you see that period of chaos? That chaos is when leader makes changes at point a) Everybody sees the need for change in point b), then in that midst time it is known as chaos.
The blank in the middle of the page, we must change before it is obvious because constant growth means consistent chaos. So as a leader if you keep making changes at point a) everybody else is going to see it at b), so there’s going to be chaos, and then he’s going to do that again, and then he’s going to that again, and then he’s going to do that again, so as you are growing don’t be looking for peace, don’t be looking for everything to be nice. No, no, no, no, look for chaos. What we try to do is to make everything nice. Jesus said: I come into this world with a sword to divide. That’s what the gospel message is. You can get saved or go to hell. It’s very simple, it’s heaven or hell. Right or left. There’s no way to make it all politically correct. So as a leader, you’re going to make changes in point a), nobody else is going to see it till point b) and you have to be secure enough in the Lord, you have to be secure enough in your calling, you’ve got to be secure enough in your leadership to say: Lord I am here by myself. Everybody else is going to see it at point b) but give me courage to be faithful and true during this time of chaos. That’s what leadership is all about.
And so at the bottom of the page it says this: the question is we will change but will change too late? Those are some things you need to evaluate. What’s going to happen today? It’s that I’ll speak to you, I just will come to you, things you need to do. Don’t run home tomorrow and start changing everything, you’ll be unemployed.
Imagine if a tree has grown crooked and you wanted to straighten that crooked tree, you just don’t go over there and jerk it over. You put a rope around it and slowly turn it, over a period of time it can become straight. You have to have a plan to make a change.