EPISODE #54 – BUILDING A CHANGE LEADERSHIP TEAM
In this episode the guys pick up where they left off last time-talking change leadership. To lead change in a Replant or Revitalization you are going to need help-how do you build a team to lead change? The guys break it down.
In examining your church you need to diagnose if you have a leadership problem or a followership problem. Jimbo’s Quote: A church can go much further with great followership and mediocre leadership than with mediocre followership, and great leadership.
Building a Change Leadership Team: Characteristics to look for
- Character-are they growing in godliness?
- Chemistry-is this someone I could sit with for 3 hours in a room at church talking ministry?
- Competency-can they lead and serve?
- Commitment-are they going to stick it out?
- Credibility-do others follow them?
If you have a sending church or sponsoring church here are some important steps to consider:
- Have a clear vision (write it down, share a prospectus with potential change team members)
- Offer a clear opportunity for involvement
- Ask for a commitment from them
- Explain reality for them-they need to understand what they are likely to experience
Resources: Replant Roadmap by Mark Hallock
Need a great website? Our sponsor, One Eighty Digital can get you going! Check them out.
Show Notes: want to read along while the show plays? Check out this episode’s show notes below delivered by: Descript
TRANSCRIPTS are an approximate account of the audio recording and may not be 100% complete. Audio should be consulted for accuracy
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:00] Back at it again with the replant bootcamp, college football has started. NFL has started Bob. I feel like I feel your pain a little bit.
Bob Bickford: [00:00:11] Hey, I just want to say that LSU and Arkansas have the same record.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:17] don’t
Bob Bickford: [00:00:18] We get the same record.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:19] Don’t say it. It’s true.
Bob Bickford: [00:00:21] Yeah. I mean it didn’t Mike Leach. I think he liked, he trashed LSU. Didn’t he say that, that they played. Mississippi state played LSU because what did he say? Like the Patriots weren’t available.
JimBo Stewart: [00:00:33] I took it as, as a ode of respect to LSU. He said we played LSU because the Kansas city chiefs and the 49ers weren’t available. So he was putting us on like NFL, but here’s the deal was, was 2019 LSU, maybe on NFL quality? I think 2019 LSU could have beaten whatever the worst.
NFL team was, but 2020 LSU. . . It’s going to be a rough year, I think.
Bob Bickford: [00:01:10] Yeah, it might be, but enough of our football sadness, we, we gotta move on. We’ve got to move on to some, something else.
JimBo Stewart: [00:01:18] Yes. I I’m going to have to find a new Saturday hobby cause college football may not do it for me this year.
But I’m excited for us to continue this series today, Bob, in change leadership kind of walking through, what does it take to lead change in a church? I think this is an important thing for us to talk about because for the most part you don’t actually learn this in seminary. you learn good theology, hopefully hermeneutics, and a lot of different things that, but the art of leading change well is a complicated, complex thing that you cannot just casually land yourself in. And so I’m excited about all the episodes that are going to come out of this series.
Bob Bickford: [00:02:06] I am too. When you mentioned you don’t learn this in seminary, you’re exactly right. I remember way back in the day when I was in seminary, there was a conference being held. I just started seminary. And we were in the heartbeat of classes and there was a conference in a church that was in Kansas city. And speaking at that conference was John Maxwell and bill Hybels. And we went to our seminary, prof, a classmate of mine, and we said, Hey, could, um, could we miss class? In order to go hear these guys talk about leadership. And I guarantee you, what we got at the conference was a lot better than what we missed at seminary for those, you know, two days.
And I still have that notebook somewhere in all the boxes of my packed up stuff. And I would often early on in my ministry career will go back and just read those principles of leadership that were super helpful to me in leading student ministry at the time.
JimBo Stewart: [00:03:05] Yeah. So the first two steps that we talked about in the last episode were first. A season of prayer, stop and pray. Take a, take a minute, ask God to move. And then secondly, creating a sense of urgency through, understanding, defining and confronting reality. I was looking kind of back at some change leadership material.
I’ve read to prepare for today’s episode. And I was looking at Jeff leading major change. And he talks about kind of the first two things required to lead major changes. One major change begins with a direction from God , this is where business change leadership books are gonna miss this piece.
And it’s, it’s absolutely the single most. Significant and important piece of anything you’re going to do in change leadership is to hear from the Lord. It’s the Lord who. Rebuilds revitalizes and replants churches. So there has to be a movement of God, but he says next is for major change. It requires initiative from a leader. it’s absolutely necessary for a leader to take initiative.
And part of that initiative is going to be step two of defining and confronting reality, creating a sense of urgency. Helping us understand the problem of what we’re trying to do before we work towards solutions. But I would say the next step, Bob is don’t go it alone. Build a change leadership team.
Bob Bickford: [00:04:36] Leadership is lonely. And you don’t accomplish what you need to by yourself. You have to gather a group of folks who here are the vision and are bought into the vision and agree to be part of the mission. And so you’re exactly right. We got to get a team around us.
JimBo Stewart: [00:04:54] I heard a great quote, just yesterday talking with a friend and he was telling me that he, heard this from a friend of his named Nathan Cothen, who is a, NOBTs PhD, grad. so you know, best seminary in all of Southern Baptist life. PHD, he’s obviously brilliant. his quote was, roughly this is the paraphrase for my friend to me, but it’s good.
A church can go much further with great followership and mediocre leadership than with mediocre followership, and great leadership. in other words, it doesn’t really matter how amazing of a leader you are. If there aren’t good followers helping you accomplish that.
Bob Bickford: [00:05:41] it’s such a good point. Yeah. And I just want to say this cause this here’s what I thought when I heard you say that, one is, I’m glad you got it. All right. And that was, that was technical. So I’m going to go back and listen to make tea, to remind myself of everything you just said. But the second thing that hit my mind right after that was this, I know some really good leaders.
Who are in really difficult situations that they’re in churches that have never followed the pastor and ain’t never gonna follow a pastor. Right. And some of the guys listening and the bootcamp, they may be in that situation where they’re a really good leader, really sharp leader, they’re doing all the right things, but you just got to flow.
You got a group of folks that ain’t going, right. And she’s not, they ain’t buying what you selling and they’re not part of your vision. And they’re not going. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad leader. It just made me in, you’re not in the right context. So that leader then could go to a new church and the people are ready to follow and things just explode and go greatly.
And so I just want to say most of the time, for leaders, when we’re stuck in a situation, we may start taking it personally and going, I just must not be a really good leader. That might be the case, but it’s not always the case.
JimBo Stewart: [00:06:49] I want to say it one more time, just so you get it. A church can go much further with great followership and mediocre leadership than with mediocre followership and great leadership. And so here, here’s something that is really important to consider in a dying or declining church. You really have to assess.
If there is a leadership problem and, or a followership problem, Les McKeown, who we’ve talked with on predictable success. Yes. We’ll tell you that when church enters into what he calls the big rut on the life cycle, that he defines organizations with that all of yeah. Your visionary and operator leaders, as he would define them.
Have left the building. And one of the hard things you’re going to find is if you are not a visionary leader, which we’ll talk about a little bit in an episode to come on, how to create a vision and lead a vision. But if you are not, if you don’t have the competency, the ability to lead well with a vision. Then one, it’s hard for people to follow that. And that’s a leadership problem, but if you don’t have operators, get it done. People, people that are passionate about getting the ball, moving and going, you got a followership problem. And this is where you may, you may, if you are deep enough in the big rut, really need to have a real conversation with your association, all leaders, state, convention leader.
Or somebody about being replanted, because you really don’t need to move much further forward in the change leadership process. Without a team, because if you try to do this alone, it will eat you alive. And, and so if you don’t have within that congregation a team, and I’m not gonna say that lightly, because I feel like God has, who probably has what you need there at the church.
But if not, then you need to consider some way to get that. And that might mean. Change leadership for you from this point forward is discipling and growing a leadership team, and you really can’t move too much further until you have that team.
Bob Bickford: [00:09:11] agree. So what are we looking for when we’re trying to identify potential team members, develop them? What are some of the characteristics or qualities that we need to figure out? if they reside within the folks who are part of our church,
JimBo Stewart: [00:09:27] Yeah. So as you’re looking for a team, I would start, there are two things primarily I’m going to look for is character. I’m not necessarily going to hold them entirely to a first Timothy three deacon list or elder list. but I’m going to hold on to some of that list and I’m going to look for spiritual fruit.
I’m going to look for a humility. so just character Jay is generally godly character, not perfect, but some godly characteristics. And then on top of that chemistry, um, can I sit in a room with this person for three hours on a Sunday afternoon? And, and talk about the future of the church without wanting to resign immediately.
Bob Bickford: [00:10:15] That’s that’s a good description of chemistry. Um, I think a more practical one that I’ve heard is, is this somebody I’d want to hang out with, is this somebody I’d text with good news? Is this somebody that, that I’m energized by et cetera? Now that’s not to say that we should never hang out with people who don’t necessarily fit those criteria in our life.
But you hit on the fact that character matters. And then there’s gotta be a connection or chemistry with them. I’m thinking of those. We’re talking about this. I’m thinking about the folks who came to be part of our replant and left pretty quickly. And, um, and we had a sense of chemistry. We liked hanging together.
We laughed together, but we, and here’s, here’s the deal breaker. Like it wasn’t a chemistry issue. It was some character issues, right. That came up and, um, You know, I, I don’t want to air dirty laundry, but there was some of that would just like, these were, these were deal breakers, right? Like these were, these were Christian lifestyle issues that precluded them from leading worship or precluded them from leading a small group that threatened the security of their marriage.
That caused me to think. Okay. Um, can I trust this person with heavy, confidential kinds of information or can I even brainstorm out loud unfiltered thoughts that I’m just trying to think through? So I would just say, man, don’t don’t speed past these, the character issue and the chemistry issue. Well, if you do, you’re going to be sad in the long run and the effort at revitalizing or replanting, the church will be hindered.
JimBo Stewart: [00:11:58] I define it mean chemistry that way, because I want to be honest about replants right. Yeah. One of the definition pieces you gave was I would text them with good news. They were very few people that went to this church. When I got here that do text message. Uh it’s it’s. My, not that I wouldn’t want to share good news with them, they would just have no idea how to a text message what to do with it.
So, you have to, you have to pastor and lead the people. God has given you not the people that you want. I’m not trying to set the bar low. and I think ideally we have great chemistry. Like, man, I love hanging out with this person. but at a bare minimum, are they committed to God honoring God directed future for this church. This is not preference based and not methods based, but purpose based and mission-based and if they are, and I feel like I can hang out with them for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and talk about that. Then that at least answers the chemistry. The question for me, now Mark Hallock, our good buddy has a massive textbook called replant roadmap, that, I use as a, a book holder on my bookshelf.
Cause it’s one of the biggest books. On on my, I mean, this thing, I, I, I get intimidated every time I look at this thing of just how long it took him to write it, but he has, he talks about building a core team and a replant, around page 165, which is, you know, like a 10th of the way through the book.
And, and he, he says character competency. Chemistry and commitment. and he, he holds a pretty high bar on commitment and on some of these things. And so he actually has in the appendix, appendix C and appendix D okay. Sample core team assessment and a sample core team covenant. And so I think those are at least worth your time of looking at those, uh, for your information, you know, go back and read John Kotter, leading change.
Look at when he talks about building a, a guiding coalition is what he would call it. there’s some decent information in there. It’s one of the steps that may be his. Language is going to be a lot more businessy than we’re going to be comfortable with in a church. But some of it just doesn’t translate as well.
but I think it’s also good. If you can think through. Are these people influential? Are they thought leaders in the church or do they have a low credibility? Right. Cause there’s a danger of, if you get people on the team that really don’t have a lot of credibility in the church and you try to implement change, nobody wants to listen to what that guy says anyway.
so it needs to be people, That have some credibility within the church and influence within the church. I think you need to consider as much as you can kind of crossing as many demographic categories as possible just to get those perspectives and the value of those perspectives, because.
none of us are as smart as all of us. Right. And this, this isn’t your yes. Team. This isn’t your rubber stamp team. it will not work. Correctly. If that’s what you do. I mean, this is your team that is going to pray together is going to plead to the Lord together. It’s going to search scripture together and, and really help determine what is the vision?
What is the direction of this church? Bob? What if you do go into a replant situation where you have a mother church, a sponsor church, a partner church, fostering you at some level. At what level, how do we involve people from that church into a change leadership team?
Bob Bickford: [00:15:47] Well, I think first of all, we’re going to have to do the hard work of writing down our vision and our mission, and then giving people tangible ways in handles that they can be a part of that. Right.
So, so if I’m going into that church or the partner church, the sending churches is working with me. One of the things that, they often do is in addition to sending resources, they’ll send some people to help out and they all say, you know, Hey, Bob is over here. He’s doing this replant situation. I had that happen when I was here in st.
Louis, you know, starting the replant journey had a lot of people recommended to us one at a time. I had to do the hard work of writing down what I, I could see as best I could distill it. Here’s the vision of what we’re seeking to do at Sherwood Baptist church as we move forward. And so then that meant.
Meeting with people often in their living room or across the lunch table and then explaining to them here’s who we are. Here’s the vision that God has given us or me in replanting this church. Here’s how I’m asking people to pray about helping. And so in that describing, here’s what we need to do lead small groups to help lead, uh, you know, community engagement events to lead the kids’ ministry. And I’m asking for a commitment of at least one year in doing so, and then. Here’s some things that you need to know about the reality of replanting and revitalizing a church. It’s hard. It’s going to take a long time.
It won’t look like the church you’re leaving. There’ll be a lot of things that will frustrate. You could upset you and that you will just have no understanding about man. Why do they do things this way? And there’ll be people, people here that we need to learn to love and be gracious towards because they’re God’s people and they’ve, they founded this church and they’ve reached out and asked for us to help.
So yeah. Having that conversation with people over a meeting in a home over lunch, and then giving them the perspectives as a piece of paper to, to walk away from that meeting to say, Hey, would you read this? And would you consider helping that help to me? Define the commitment and explain it. And then also cast a vision for them that it was going to be hard and it was going to be, and there were going to be things that they would experience as part of replanting, a church that would cause them potentially to, to scratch their heads and go, I don’t get it.
Why. Why this church is like this, cause this is the church we left. And so those are some ways I would recommend going about helping people, evaluate their commitment and examine it, and then pray through it to see if the Lord wants them to be a part of the, the replant or the revitalization.
JimBo Stewart: [00:18:25] just to summarize kind of where we have gotten kind of hit the highlights here in this change leadership process, it starts with a movement of God. It starts with you on your knees, praying, asking the church to pray. Look at the previous episode. And look at the resources we gave you there on that and creating a sense of urgency as you define and understand reality.
Um, another resource we didn’t mention last week, that’s valuable in that process is the fourfold panel. assessment by Keelan cook, which we have an episode on as well of helping you understand your church’s role in the community and understanding the reality of where you’re at as a church And you as a leader need to take initiative in all of these things, but you don’t need to do this alone.
You need to build a team. but that team doesn’t need to be a team without credibility. It also doesn’t need to be a team that’s just going to discuss for forever and never actually do anything. The team needs to have a bias towards action. and we need to make sure that we’re actually getting some things done.
your team needs to have. Character godly character. It needs to have competencies, to be able to do certain things. There needs to be some chemistry amongst the team, and there needs to be a commitment to still the foresees from our colleagues. Um, and if you are at a place in your church where you don’t have enough people who fit those criteria to build a team, then you really have two choices.
As I see it, Bob choice one. Is be okay with a really long plan that involves you discipling one-on-one or one on two, some people until you have a team and slash, or you need to reach out for some sort of sponsor church, mother, church, to foster you replant, you help you in some way, and that needs to happen.
And so one of those two directions are where you’re going to have to go. In my opinion, Bob.
Bob Bickford: [00:20:25] I agree. you know, for the guy who is, in a replant or revitalization context, and you’ve been there for a while. it really is necessary for you to build a relationship with the association leader and other pastors in the area. And just to develop a network, that relationship so that you could make an ask for assistance and help, and then be ready.
One of the first things they’re going to ask you is, well, if I help you and we send some resources, Also some people your way, what are you going to do? Right. And you gotta be ready with that answer. And it can’t just be well, send us some young families and we’ll, we’ll figure it out, right. It needs to be defined and detailed, and then you need to really sell them on that vision that God’s given you for replanting and expect a lot of conversations to not be fruitful.
but pray that God would lead you to the right place and the right people to help you. I would say this kind of is, as we wrap up the people who help you initially replant a church, and this is true planting a church. They’re usually not the ones that are still there after the two year Mark. And as we think about this topic, that’s what I would say for just some guys by way of experience.
I’ve always started. I was around a lot of church planters and I heard them say that the people that we planted with are not the people that are here today after the two year Mark, same thing with the replant. It’s just, that’s just what happens. There’s a planter in, I think he’s in the Vegas area. His name’s Josh Reich.
And he said that there’s some people who are scaffolding people and a scaffolding person is a person that gives the framework, puts it up. That helps you remodel something, but once it’s remodeled, then they go away. Right. Once what’s the work that part of the work, that phase of the work is done, then they move on.
I think that was true for us. We were so indebted and grateful for the people who came early on to help us. Began to transform the church. And we were sad to see them leave, but God always replaced them with someone else who came to be part of our church family for the next phase of our vision and our mission.
JimBo Stewart: [00:22:35] Yup. So Jeff Iorg says major change begins with direction from God requires initiative from a leader and it is constant. Washed by followers, Nathan Cothen, the, illustrious president of the NOBTS alumni association and pastor of Calvary Baptist church in Beaumont. Texas says a church can go much further with great followership and mediocre leadership than with mediocre followership and great leadership brothers.
You need a team.