John Kotter’s book Leading Change outlines eight steps in breeding and accomplishing change in an organization.
The first step? Increase urgency! An organization that stays content in the present or connected to the past will struggle to find urgency to face the future. “Now wait, Lead With Joy Guy, are you saying it’s wrong to stay content? Are you saying we shouldn’t stay connected with the past as a body of believers?”
All excellent questions! Let’s look at these quickly:
- Do not confuse contentment in Christ with contentment with status quo. Christ gives so many imperatives: Love, go, preach, teach, share, tell, equip, send, bear one another’s burdens (along with 60+ one anothers in the NT). We stay content with Christ and Christ alone for our justification, sanctification, and glorification. He is enough! But when churches refuse to move forward toward obedience and Christlikeness, leaders must present an urgency that the reality entails. Patient urgency is needed, depending on the age of the church or organization.
- Don’t confuse connection with the Bible (written in the past) with connection to a preferred era gone by. We spend our time connecting with the past every time we preach–because we preach from the Bible, a book written 2000-4000 years ago. We have an urgency to connect people to what God has said. What we do not want is, as mentioned in a previous post, elevating a preferred era or any personal preference to a test of faith. We all see the time of our youth as an idyllic time, which is why many senior adults hearken back to the days of the 1960s, why many boomers look back to the church growth era of the 1980s, why I tend to move back to what I experienced in college in the early 1990s, and so on.
The problem? Many millennials are coming into the church with our churches with the same tendencies that we all do. And we must recognize that, but that’s a blog post (or video cast) for another day.
Contentment with Christ, and connection to the Word is what we help others come and connect to in regards to Christ. Let’s make sure we find our contentment in and our connection to the right things, rather than our preferred things.