Another challenging post from Scott Hodge of The Orchard:
One of the most empowering moments in The Orchard's journey of transition & change occurred a few years ago when someone said to us: "Until you get your focus OFF of the people who are disgruntled, unhappy, unsupportive, and resistant to the direction God has called you to go, and ONTO those who are excited, supportive and on board, you will NEVER gain momentum and see a new culture created in your church."
That statement set us free.
It really did. In fact, I can remember our team making several tough, but GOOD decisions that day that literally sped up our momentum by leaps and bounds.
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...)
We also made some decisions about what we going to START doing or focus on being more intentional about. Decisions that:
• We would stay focused on God's mission for The Orchard NO MATTER WHAT. Even if it were just the three of us in the end!
• The focus of our leading and teaching would be turned towards the people we were reaching and those who were excited about where we were headed.
• We would only engage in ministries, programs, and events that aligned with our mission - regardless as to whether or not every other church in town was doing it or not. The mission would dictate everything - not what was "popular" with other churches or even what programs or events might have seemed "successful" in the past.
It wasn't easy, and yes, we lost a lot of people. But....it eventually created a momentum that led towards reaching the people that God had called us to reach. By 400% since 2003.
It's challenging because I STILL just want everyone to be happy, even though the past year or more has demonstrated to me that I can EITHER try to please everyone OR I can be healthy and effective in God's service. But I can't do both. I know that.
Now, that's not to say I don't have a lot to learn about leading change....I do. I'm working on that. And I think we've really turned a corner as a church, and are once again moving forward....beautifully. I just hope I finally have the backbone to cast vision (effectively, please, Lord) and then get my focus where it belongs.