Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Trimming Away the Fat

Recently I came across this one blog and was really struck by this guy's recent post regarding change. Here is a snippet of something he said:

Some of those decisions had to do with things we were going to STOP doing. Decisions that:

  • We were NO LONGER going to try and get people to stay at our church who weren't happy.
  • We were going to stop spending time and energy trying to get the naysayers "on board" when it was very evident that most of them were not going to support the new direction.
  • We were going to stop allowing some of the "small things" to continue just to keep a few people happy (You know those programs and committees that are OPPOSITE of where you're headed, but you're keeping in place just to keep 12 people happy? Yeah, those...)
It's no secret that in the three years I've been pastoring I have been leading our people through some changes. For the most part there has been very little resistance to any change. The changes that have been taking place are things that I would regard as "trimming away the fat". What I mean is that the previous way of doing things isn't necessarily wrong, it just isn't always the best. When I say "the best" that is of course a value judgment.

I believe that we as a church are learning to do the things that work toward our mission. We believe that our mission is a reflection of the Great Commission given to all believers that is to be lived out in the local body of believers that God has put together in this place. In other words everything we do should point back to our reason for existing as a local church. Otherwise, what's the point?

One of the greatest challenges we face as a church is that little has changed over the 50 years of this church's existence. So now when a change is suggested it seems that many take it personally. I try to make it clear that "the old way" isn't necessarily wrong, it's just not what's best for us at this stage in the game. The reply is often similar to the old adage, "If ain't broke, why fix it?"

Anyway, back to this guy's post. The nice guy in me wrestles with "trimming the fat" and at the same time bringing those resistant to change around to see the value and purpose of what we're doing. Both require time and wisdom, and at times it seems we need to choose one or the other.

Have I mentioned that even though ministry is the hardest thing I've ever done, I love every minute of it?


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