The Ministry Of Transformation
Mark Tidsworth, Pinnacle Team Leader
Your pastor, church staff, and lay leaders are staring them in the face…decision points.
Everyone (nearly) knows by now that church-as-we-have-known-it is in major decline. We’re not going to waste anymore ink citing statistics or making the case that the church is rapidly declining. If people in churches don’t recognize this, then this article is not likely to help them much anyway.
Instead, this article is designed for those who see the obvious, accepting its reality. Evidently the way we have been church is unsustainable for most churches in our current world. While at the same time, living in the way of Jesus remains this world’s best hope (yes, we are biased). This clearly means our churches must live into this Christian story even more, discovering the themes of this next chapter. Doing what we used to do which worked well in former days is like reading the same story over and over again, until it we fall asleep each time we hear it. Instead, we are partnering with those leaders and churches who are asking, “What next, Lord God?”
Right about now, this ministry of transformation is presenting itself to church leaders, here in 2019. Our calling is to shepherd the church from its familiar expression to 21st century expressions of church. Going there, becoming faithful and relevant expressions of church for this century, will not happen by using 20th century tools (church processes). Traditional strategic planning, typical visioning processes, programs in a box…these suffice when our paradigm is still relevant, needing a tweak or two. But now adaption is required. This is the calling of church leadership – to help our churches transition to church-as-it-is-becoming.
Making that journey is a significant transformation process for most churches. Leaving Egypt, where even though we are miserable at least it was familiar, takes courage. Travelling through the wilderness includes extreme spiritual highs as we depend on God for daily manna for some, while it also includes the recognition that some among us (churches) won’t make it out alive. Standing on the brink, looking into the promised land will be so fulfilling, largely because of the spiritual work involved in getting there. This is the process of transformation. Like the ancient Hebrews who learned how to move from an enslaved people to a free people, we are learning how to let go of familiar and preferred church paradigms while embracing the rise of church-as-it-is-becoming. This process requires us all to cooperate with the transforming power of God.
So this is the ministry calling of most every pastor, church staff person, and lay leader in churches which have been in existence 5 years or more – a call to lead transformation. But think twice before taking the first step. Plan wisely and count the cost. Once launched, once you are part-way through the waters on dry land, you can’t unstart. So, we recommend you find a really strong, substantive, robust, and effective transformation process. Early this year, I wrote a blog describing the five necessary components for effective transformation:
· Raised awareness about large scale societal and cultural changes
· Collective commitment to church-as-it-is-becoming (transformation)
· Clear mission-congruent transformation process
· Joining a community of practice
· Effective transformation process leadership
Before and since that blog article, we are partnering with churches who are making the journey, working their transformation process. What we can tell you is that the Exodus journey from the Old Testament has become more real to us than ever before. The spiritual highs and low, the life lessons and collective faith experiences in such a journey are very real. Churches engaged in transformation know they are part of something invigorating, experiencing church as many never have before.
So church leaders….pastors, staff, and lay leaders….this calling to lead transformation is a major part of your calling as you serve God’s Church. You, along with the rest of us, happen to be living in times such as these. The great need of God’s Church in this early 21st century is transformation. So we happen to be the ones in church leadership at this particular time in history. The task falls to us. We are called to lead our churches from the land we know to the land we know not of. With clear consciences and faithful hearts, can we do anything less?
NOTE: Learn more about Pinnacle’s Transformation Processes here: https://www.pinnlead.com/initiatives