Smart moves: Develop a new team

By Bob Bickford

Leading change in a Replant is difficult. Introducing change into a system that has been change free for a number of years can create fear, frustration and congregational pain. Everyone who said they were for change when you interviewed probably thought change would be good, until it required that they actually change.

Some in the church are smart-moves-develop-a-new-team: you may have promised not to change much in the first year of your Replant but understand this; just by being the new pastor means you are introducing change. When compared to the previous pastor(s) you will preach, conduct visitation, greet members and perform any number of pastoral actions in a unique way.
Others in the congregation will be more smart-moves-develop-a-new-team. They may not personally prefer new direction, methods or styles but they understand what you are hoping to do and will respond somewhere between accepting or at least tolerating change.

There may be a few in the church who are change accelerators. These are the ones who get excited about new ideas, new direction and are ready to put their shoulders behind efforts to see God do something new in your congregation.
In many Replants the existing teams and committees are composed predominantly of the first group. It may be that they desire to protect the body from division or from another “idea” that the present pastor has. They may simply not want to lose something they have grown to love–the Church as they have known it. They may not want rock the boat and potentially lose new members.

This why leading a Replant through existing teams can be difficult, slow, frustrating and sanctifying.

Consider developing a new team

Call it a Vision Leadership Team a Task Force, a Pastor Liaison Team and task them with praying, talking, learning and dreaming about the future of the Church.

Populate this team with those who are accepting of change and who are change accelerators, an even balance of both camps will keep you grounded as well as moving forward.
Replanter-if you are the only one leading change your efforts will fail. Building momentum takes time and it is accomplished by seeing God move in a small group and then seeing that group become influencers of the congregation.

Don’t rush this, take time, build relationships, be a pastor and a visionary leader. The results will be long lasting and the pace will bring unity and blessing to the body.

Published October 4, 2016

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Bob Bickford

Bob Bickford is a Replant Pastor in suburban St. Louis, serves as the Associate Director of Replant for the North American Mission Board and is the co-author of Am I a Replanter,  Pathways to Partnership and the Associational Replanting Guide. Follow Bob on twitter @bobick