I’ve just finished the Paul D. Borden book, Direct Hit, and wanted to share many of the quotes from the book. The staff at King’s Grant is reading this together, and our pastor is currently involved with the Great Commission Breakthrough Cluster, and group of local pastors that are a part of this church growth strategy sponsored by the Norfolk Area Baptist Association.
No One Does it Alone
“Healthy, growing, reproducing congregations, which reflect a very small minority of congregations in wealthy nations, and average, normal, dysfunctional congregations , which are the majority, are two very different cultures that cannot and will not exist together.”
“Healthy congregations are defined by sacrifice. They exist more for those who are currently not a part of the group… They are missional in nature… outwardly focused in orientation…” They organize themselves to accomplish the mission and are willing to change whatever organizational structure that inhibits the accomplishment of that mission.
“Dysfunctional congregations, on the other hand, despite all their rhetoric about sacrifice exist more for those who already rule the congregation than for those who are on the outside.” They are more inwardly focused, more institutional than missional, organized to conserve the status quo, and make only peripheral changes to adapt to new environments.
When recruiting new pastors, congregations often hide who they really are, believing that the congregation desires to reach out at all cost, and are seeking a pastor to lead in that change.
“Most pastoral tenures are short because new pastors quickly become old pastors when they realize that the recruitment rhetoric that appointed and lured them to the congregation was not much more than propaganda.”
Pastors desiring to lead real change in an established congregation “must realize they are signing up to lead not just a few battles but all-out war.” They fail in this war because “they have too few officers and are usually outsmarted by better generals who are fighting on their home turf.”
Every congregation has a structure. “The formal structure states how things should be done, and the informal structure determines how most things get accomplished.”
“Many will talk of the need for change while doing everything in their power to inhibit it… When they realize that changes means loss of influence, they quickly turn and become the pastor’s adversary.”
Various teams need to be in place. The prayer team commits to pray regularly for changes that lead to health, growth and reproduction.” The pastor must find people “whose hearts are broken over the condition of the congregation and the needs of the community.” Praying corporately and not for individuals. They pray for great vision and motivation to do great things. They do prayer walks, map the community, and create lists of economic, social, political, educational needs of the community.
Team two develops ideas, full of people dissatisfied with the status quo, and is never more than ten members. They think creatively about ideas to reach the community. Often idea people are not the people to implement those ideas.
Team three develops personnel, making the team as large as possible, full of people who lead the change. The team must grow; growth is a sign of health. “Growth in any congregation comes in proportion to the number of groups that are started and the number of new leaders that are recruited and trained.”
The pastor shares his vision for the congregation and “must try to connect this person’s personal vision to what God wants to accomplish through the congregation.” People must be willing to give up personal goals and join God’s agenda, to fulfill the Great Commission.
Servant leadership “produces new disciples who in turn will join God’s mission.”
A missional audit determines how a “congregation’s ministries can be brought into alignment with the mission. If a ministry cannot be brought into alignment, it should be discarded.”
The pastor then trains others in the vision, and has to deal with structure and authority. Staff-led means someone has been provided with responsibility and given appropriate authority, and held accountable for the results.
When one tries to bring about systemic change, the real values of the congregation will surface: generally power, turf and money. The goal is to focus on the primary customers of the church, those who are not yet a part of the congregation.
Critical Mass is Critical
“Never take a knife to a gunfight.” The leader must spend time in creating urgency and casting vision. Then go into battle with a big enough army and the required number of officers. If there are not enough leaders, systemic change will fail.
“Only God brings life out of death, but God does not bring transformation until God’s people are praying, acting and behaving wisely, and willing to endure major suffering.”
Pastors get no credit for doing the obvious; visitation, preaching, etc, that’s what he’s paid to do. “They do not gain influence by doing what is expected.” To lead change, it is helpful to bring in a mentor or coach who has been through the same struggles.
“Building resources while preparing for systemic change is more like saving than investing. Developing leaders is a critical investment that will take time before a payoff. So the pastor and key leaders must now focus on building up their savings account, putting in small deposits at a time.” The leader must be seen as a trainer who makes disciples. The leaders must recognize workers, which pays great dividends and retains loyal workers.
“One way to deliver training is to e-mail materials or internet links that provide insight into specific areas of ministry.”
The pastor must model that which he desires to produce in the congregation, being willing to get out of his comfort zone to join God’s mission. Effective leaders do not ask followers to go somewhere that they have not gone, and would not go as leaders.
“People vote with their feet and their wallet.” If the money does not come in, they believe they will discourage the pastor and he will “lose support for the new changes he is seeking to implement.” That is why the pastor has been gathering financial resources over several years for the change effort.
“As the pastors gains more and more influence and more new people come, the congregational bosses realize that they will soon be outnumbered and outvoted, thus losing control.” This leads to passive-aggressive or even aggressive behaviors. The pastor must be gentle as a dove but wise as a serpent (Matthew 10:16).
“If you can’t stand the heat, don’t redo the kitchen.” The evil in our culture will rear its ugly head when the kingdom breaks out in new ways. Don’t be shocked when suffering occurs. Perhaps now we finally have the right enemies.
Jesus’ “followers must expect conflict when directing the church to act like the missionary culture that Jesus requires… remember that Peter lost his life by feeding sheep.”
“Ministry is accomplished in community.”