Here is the November 30, 2010 edition of an inventory to share with your church board and others who observe or are impacted by their work. Have people complete it and then use it as a reference point for creative dialogue on whether your board is more reactionary, more transformational, and what actions it can take to become increasingly transformational.
As the new Transportation Security Administration screening procedures went into effect during November 2010, I was on six airplanes in six days. That took me through several airports in four different states. I not only had the opportunity to observe the new procedures at work, but also to think about how they reflect on life—including congregational life.
When congregations are getting over a conflict, a less than excellent relationship with a senior or solo pastor who has now moved on, or an empowering vision that has diminished, policies and procedures to create more control are often put into place. Typically these changes are focused on correcting what was perceived as wrong or missing in the past. They place requirements on the next pastor based on what they did not like about the last pastor. They move towards deeper accountability with less freedom and permission-giving.
[This article builds on the theme of a previous one: Improving your Congregation’s I.Q. In case you wonder, I.Q. stands for Invitational Quotient.]
A congregation fully engaged in the process of revitalization can get so intense on institutional survival, constitutional change, and internal governance issues to the near neglect of its mission, heartbeat, reason d’être; welcoming folks to the heart of God through Jesus Christ. This conversation seeks to provide not only a snap-back, but a place to jump-start the action.
“I’m not having much fun anymore in my ministry.” “I’m just not making the impact I want to make in ministry.” “I feel like I’m dancing with two left feet stumbling all over myself and others.” “My dance skills are just not what they use to be. I need some new dance steps for my ministry.” “The flow of ministry is gone. It has become more work with less fulfillment and fun.” “If I don’t find relief I’m going to have to find another career.”
These are actual statements I have heard more than once from persons and churches I am privileged to coach. The first time I heard the metaphor of dance with ministry it was somewhat a disconnect for me. The more I thought about it the more sense it made. Ministry is filled with disconnects and multiple challenges that take many of us beyond our comfort zones; as is true for many dancers.