One of the most critical roles you will have to fulfill as a leader will be leading your teams, ministries, or churches through transformation. We know that The Church is a living, breathing organism with ties into culture, community, discipleship, and multiplication. Therefore, we can assume that, just as the Holy Spirit has molded/transformed His Church over the last 2,000+ years, He will continue to do so. There will be many more expressions of His Church in the future, so leading through transformation is a given. What I’m hoping to do in this post is to provide you with some practical tips on how to lead through transition well.
1. Transformation Must Be Rooted in the Why.
In one of our earlier posts about leadership, we talk about how important it is for leaders to have a clear vision and to articulate it well and often. The same goes with leading through transformation. What is our “why?”
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. (Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20, NIV)
Our why is about helping people far from God walk to and across the line of faith into a life-giving relationship with Jesus! The goal is raising up the next generation of obedience-based disciples and disciple-makers who will reproduce and multiply to 3rd and 4th generations of reproduction. We must be about helping our people engage in this mission–God’s mission! And our churches must become more fully engaged in God’s mission.
Change, new movement(s), and new culture are birthed from a deep burden. It is a deep burden for people who are far from God. It’s about understanding that Jesus and people are the main characters in the love story crafted by God, the Father. So ask yourself a few questions:
- Are you clear on the why? Do you lead with and from that why?
- Are your people clear on the why?
- Do you and your people have a deep burden for people who are far from God?
- Do you and your people have a deep passion for making disciples who make disciples?
- How are you leveraging the why to lead in transformation?
2. Transformation Demands Ministry Alignment with God’s Mission.
Harmony between God’s dream and our ministries is key to alignment. Ask yourself what God’s dream is for your ministry. What does He want you to accomplish to fulfill His mission in your city? Then ask yourself how what you’re doing in ministry is contributing to God’s dream. What do you do on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis? Beautiful music gets made when there is alignment between God’s dream for our churches to accomplish His mission and what we actually do in our local settings. So now ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have dream clarity?
- Is your church’s ministry helping that dream become a reality?
- When you know when a ministry season has ended, how do you move on or into a new season?
3. Transformation Must Be Grounded in Hearing God’s Voice.
The ability to hear and discern God’s voice is the main thing that distinguishes spiritual leadership from all other types of leadership. You have to take the time to listen and study His voice and be able to hear it above all the other noise. Hearing God’s voice provides the courage, conviction, and authority to lead through transformation. Perhaps you’re great at hearing the voice of God. What about your teams? How do you teach them to hear Him and/or trust where He is calling you to move?
4. Transformation Requires Honoring the Past While Doing Something New.
We’ve got to get it out of our heads that the old thing is “bad” and the new thing is “good” and vice versa! The real question here is whether what your ministry is doing is effective or not.
Neither do people pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst; the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved. (Jesus in Matthew 9:17, NIV)
It’s important to honor the past while giving birth to new things. There’s this saying in the south: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” Here’s one more: “You should eat the watermelon but spit out the seeds.” These two phrases indicate that you don’t get rid of the good, effective things just for the sake of making new things. Rather, you take a deep look at what’s going on in your churches and figure out what needs to transform. This is a great way to honor those who paved the way to transformation for you.
How are you honoring the past while giving birth to new things?