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2020 keeps on 2020ing – Arkansas winning football games, emus running wild in Jacksonville. The guys discuss these things and more.

This is the 4th episode in a series on change leadership:

At this point in the change leadership process it is important to equip and empower leaders and members of your church to do the work of ministry (Eph. 4:11-16).

  • Part of this process requires that you remove barriers to change leadership
    • Restrictive governing policies
    • Lack of needed skills/competency
    • Sacred Cows
    • Bullies — “Pastor, stop being nice”
    • Insufficient communication

“It isn’t the changes that do you in, it’s the transitions.” – William Bridges, Managing Transitions 

“One common mistake leaders make when introducing major change is assuming everyone who initially opposes the change is rebelling against their leadership. . . Some leaders misinterpret opposition from followers because they do not understand major change produces grief.” – Jeff Iorg, Leading Major Change

Ready for more? Dive into the show notes below. Check out this episode’s show notes below delivered by: Descript  

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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] Woo pig suey Bob only in 2020, could Mike Leach and the air raid offense beat the defending national champions, LSU, and the opening game of the season, and then lose the very next week.

Bob Bickford: [00:00:22] Yes.

JimBo Stewart: [00:00:23] To Arkansas who has not beaten anyone in 17 years.

Bob Bickford: [00:00:30] Yes.

17 is a little much, but you would be right to say they’ve not won an SEC conference game in two years, but that’s why I’ve got my woo pig suey uncle heavies hog hat on this is a vintage hog hat. And I’m excited because it probably was made the last time Arkansas won a football game. No, I got this, like when I was in sixth grade man or fifth grade.

And, uh, anyway,

JimBo Stewart: [00:01:02] That’s a great, I mean, only in 2020, could that happen?

Bob Bickford: [00:01:05] you know what, 2020 just keeps on 2020ing.

JimBo Stewart: [00:01:08] Yes, it

Bob Bickford: [00:01:09] And I was surprised to see that the tigers went down and who knows what’s going to happen this next week, but. No. You never know, man.

JimBo Stewart: [00:01:17] You’d never know. It’d be interesting to see. There’s so many interesting, unique things. About 2020. I saw on the news today, here in Jacksonville, there was an emu on the loose and I, it was like a great value brand ostrich.

Bob Bickford: [00:01:34] Yes. A hydroxyl cookie though. Like the Oreo cookie. Yeah, I get it.

JimBo Stewart: [00:01:39] so true story. I, one of my first jobs was cutting grass at an ostrich and emu farm in Sumrall, Mississippi on big bird lane.

Bob Bickford: [00:01:53] JimBo, we need to have an episode of all of the jobs that you have had. And I think we could probably fill up three or four episodes of that, uh, of the podcast.

JimBo Stewart: [00:02:03] It would take several.

Bob Bickford: [00:02:07] Hey, now I have actually had emu I’ve eaten emu an ostrich. And, you know, I, I don’t remember the flavor, but I don’t think it was awful.

JimBo Stewart: [00:02:17] Yeah. I mean, you can get like ostrich jerky pretty, I mean, pretty readily available out there. Um, so I I’ve had the zebra, um, but I’ve never had, I don’t think I’ve actually, I mean, I’ve eaten ostrich jerky, but I’ve not had emu.

Bob Bickford: [00:02:31] Well, I have, I’ve had yak and, uh, I also have a kangaroo I, a kangaroo hamburger in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a place called game. And as a Yelp elite, I found it and, took my wife and my daughter there. And, they got game. It was good.

JimBo Stewart: [00:02:50] I looked you up on Yelp the other day. And as I read some of your stuff, it was entertaining.

Bob Bickford: [00:02:55] Alright. Well, we encourage our listeners to do that. If you’re bored, if you can’t sleep, if you’ve got a long wait cruise on over to Yelp and find me and read some of my reviews.

JimBo Stewart: [00:03:06] There you go. There you go. All right. Well, Bob, we’re continuing the change leadership conversation today and we have walked through several steps. We’ve walked through, stop and pray is the first one. Now that stop and pray is not one that stops you pray and you keep praying and you keep praying and you keep praying.

Bob Bickford: [00:03:29] I’m glad you said that that’s true.

JimBo Stewart: [00:03:31] Yeah, so stop and pray,  define and confront reality , and then create a sense of urgency and then create and communicate a clear biblical vision. Right today. We’re going to talk about one of the next things that has to be done. That’s a little bit, two fold is equip and empower leaders to lead out in the change.

Now. One of the things that has to be done with this is processing barriers to that. There are things that might get in the way of that. There are , lots of things that can keep people from happening and their processes. And then part of that’s even dealing with , bullies and dealing with issues in the church in leadership, and making sure, basically making sure you can clear the tracks, put some coal in the engine, and realize that you’re not the engine, the church, the people you’re equipping the saints to do the work of ministry.

and this is where you really shift into that idea of equipping saints to do the work of ministry. So you, you and your leadership, the whole church has prayed. you have looked at, what reality is you’ve defined. you’ve confronted it. You’ve communicated a sense of urgency.

Everybody feels the urgency.  you’ve built a team together. so the other piece I said, I forgot to say we built a team together and we, with that team, we’ve come up with a compelling vision. Now it’s time to start putting some things in place, but we’ve got to get the tracks laid good. We’ve got to get some coal in the engine so we can get the train.

Finally. Moving towards some change.   one of the things you gotta consider in this is there are a lot of barriers that will get in your way. When you start to lead change, you will, everybody say will with me, you will experience pushback.

Bob Bickford: [00:05:25] That’s right. And it’s, you know what? It will come from unexpected places. You can tell the naysayers in a meeting, they’ve got their arms crossed. They’ll get the scowls on their face, et cetera. But here’s the one thing that I found true, and I hear that it’s true in plants and replants and established churches, the people who advocate good for you to be there and be their pastor, the people who went to bat for you and stood up and said, this is the guy we need.

We need to call this. Pastor often can become the people who become your adversaries.

JimBo Stewart: [00:05:56] Yeah. Matter of fact, I was talking with a guy today who is taking the step that I think is wise in, he is brand new at a church revitalization. And so he asked the pastor search team to serve with him for one year as a transition leadership team.

Bob Bickford: [00:06:15] Yeah. Yeah, I did that too. And I called them the pastor liaison team. We kept the, uh, the folks there and the chairman who became really, like a pre elder for me. And one of the reasons why it’s so important and I’m a big advocate for it. I think that the pastor typically in an established church, doesn’t, he’s an ex officio member of every committee, but he has no committee by which he can actually move business through the church.

And so if you can establish this add hoc committee that can become a committee that then. You can help establish movement through the church by recommendations. So I think it’s a really smart, smart Dion, an advocate for that.

JimBo Stewart: [00:06:54] that even speaks a little bit to, one of the barriers that can keep the train from moving  restrictive governing policies.  when you have governing policies that are so restrictive, that you can’t get anything done.

How do you remove that barrier?

Bob Bickford: [00:07:11] yeah, one, you, you got to point to it and say,  Hey, I think this is a barrier. And then to get other people to affirm it. And typically most everyone will be able to agree with you. If it’s a, if it’s a barrier that deals with a, a logistic, or something that is. Is not threat meaning to the power brokers, I would say.

So like for us, it was a vacuum cleaner. We couldn’t, you know, and I think I shared this story of precepts that we didn’t have a quorum. We could vote to approve a vacuum cleaner. Fortunately, the janitorial company had one, so we, we were able to wait a month and then vote on the vacuum cleaner, but we really used that as a fulcrum to kind of leverage, Hey, I think we got to make some changes about the way we make decisions.

What if we only voted on things that are significant in the life of the church and we let the committees make the day to day decisions within the realm of their authority and their budget. So, what I would say is look for those opportunities. Don’t make a big deal out of them, but also just point to them and go, I think this shows that we need to make a change in the way we make decisions.

JimBo Stewart: [00:08:14] Yeah. If you’ve got 12 people at your church, but 15 committees and a committee on committees,

Bob Bickford: [00:08:24] You got a problem.

JimBo Stewart: [00:08:25] You got a problem.

Bob Bickford: [00:08:26] You got a problem.

JimBo Stewart: [00:08:27] It’s a barrier to say the least,

Bob Bickford: [00:08:29] Yes, it is.

JimBo Stewart: [00:08:30] another barrier may be that as you’re trying to lead change you may lack people with skills or competency and ability to do the things that are needed. And so working with who you’ve got, how, how do we move forward? Some with that, Bob?

Bob Bickford: [00:08:52] Yeah, well, let’s go back to the Arkansas Razorbacks and think for a moment. Um,

they showed this off, highlight on the Mississippi state game in the last, I think two or three years, they’ve had like eight different quarterbacks. Right. And. That’s an indication.

They don’t have the right personnel to help them win in the sec or win really against anybody. And so they had to, they had to figure out what do we need? Who do we need and who do we have? And you can either coach them up. To try to coach them to, to be the kind of PR people, um, that you might need, or you can in sometimes what you can do is you can talk about the kind of, structure that you need that to build that will enable your church to move forward.

And. What I will say is you don’t do it just once or twice. You have to do it over and over and over again in, in different ways that may, that don’t come across. Like you’re complaining about the structure and how sad the state is. The state of the church is because. None of y’all are leaders, so to speak, right?

So I have to be encouraging, Hey, we can get through this. We’re going to take a step. I think this is a good step for us to take and, and I think we can get there and we’re all going to have to kind of join hands and lock arms and, and take the step forward. So I think casting a vision. That helps the people see that they can move forward, but it’s going to require something different from them to move forward.

That would be one way to do that. I think Jimbo, cause ultimately let’s say you get some people to come in and join the church and you start investing a lot of authority in them. That’s that’s a mistake for two reasons. One is it takes off the people who’ve been there for a long time. And then secondly, you don’t know who they are yet.

Right. And you really don’t know who somebody is until you have a conflict with them. And have to resolve that. Uh, so the, that would be, I guess that’s how it answered that question.

JimBo Stewart: [00:10:46] So how do we just start the conflict as soon as they walk in?

Bob Bickford: [00:10:50] You hit him in the face.

JimBo Stewart: [00:10:53] I think you’ve got real leadership potential, Bob smack doing this. Cause I got to see how we survive this

Bob Bickford: [00:11:02] Yeah. You know,

I’d so I’ll just say this. I worked with a, um, A pastor whose philosophy was, uh, and then he did this mainly with interns and young staff. He would intentionally start something with them just to see what they were made of and just to see how they handled it. And I hated that

JimBo Stewart: [00:11:27] yeah.

Bob Bickford: [00:11:28] because it was artificial.

JimBo Stewart: [00:11:30] Yeah, I get to see how many of those guys are, like years later, like, man, I was going to go into ministry, but I started interning at this church and this guy was such a jerk. I just decided that it was not, that was not for me now. I think you’ve got to figure out, you know, yes. You got to see how people handle.

I would say for sure. I’ve even seen this, um, in COVID to be honest, sometimes in the midst of something like this, somebody who you think is mature, it has leadership and all of a sudden you drop COVID and racial tension into an election year and you get to see who, what people are made of

and you get to see what’s going on.

Bob Bickford: [00:12:12] Absolutely. Yeah. It’s heartbreaking.

JimBo Stewart: [00:12:14] another thing is if you can just start with one guy. Disciple him empower him equip him. Uh, if he’s got any sort of leadership capacity whatsoever, let’s start with who you got and start discipling them and start growing them and start investing in them. Ask them to listen to a podcast, a capsule like this, ask them to, to read books with you, ask, you know, let’s look, I need somebody to come alongside and help me with this.

So, um, Read his book with me and let’s talk through it. Let’s let’s think through and, uh, work the best you can with, with what you’ve got to cause honestly, and this is what I always go back to in Ephesians four 11 through 16, that’s the job description to equip the saints, to do the work of ministry. So part of that is you got to figure out.

How that is, uh, we’ve, you know, we’ve had leveling the ministry was a book. We did an episode on different things like that, looking at all those sorts of things. Another barrier that could get in the way is sacred cows. Um, as you, as you come through you, uh, you have to deal with sacred cows. So how do we go about making some sacred hamburgers?

Bob Bickford: [00:13:27] Yeah, that’s a good, this reminds me of a. But first year at the church who was an wasn’t even there a year, it was a Christmas season. So I came in November. And so this was like six weeks later. Um, actually, no, it was less than that because I came in the middle of November. So it was like three weeks in the church had this thing called Christmas around the world.

And basically here’s what it was. We, we didn’t have a Sunday. Well, we had a Sunday night service, but nobody came to it. And, uh, Sunday night, right around Christmas, they did Christmas around the world. We had an Arabic church that worshiped with thus we had, uh, uh, Chinese church that was in the city that they would invite to come and a couple of others.

So Christmas around the world was basically. Each church that was represented, had a choir that would sing two songs and then somebody would give a devotional. Then we would hold hands in a circle around the sanctuary and sing silent night in our own language. And they go downstairs and each of the churches would bring the food that represented their culture. Church had done it for years and years and years.  And it was one of those events where long ago it had lost its momentum and nobody wanted to do it. And our, one of our oldest members. Her name was joy and she was, she was a sweet lady, but she did not act like she had joy.

She looked cranky all the time and sounded cranky, but she wasn’t.

JimBo Stewart: [00:14:52] I’ve never heard of a class called the joy class. That was actually joyful. I’ve heard of, I’ve heard of lots of Sunday school classes named the joy class. Uh, but usually they’re not very joyful.

Bob Bickford: [00:15:06] Well at our church, we had a class called the willing ones and they weren’t

anyway, joy. She goes, you know, were we supposed to do this jug Christmas around the world? And, uh, she goes, but I’m just going to be honest. I don’t, I don’t want to do it and I don’t have time to do it. And I don’t, I’m too tired and I’m too old and I’m not going to do it. Right. Okay. And, uh, and so I, in my.

Experience in ministry. I made the promise a long time ago. I’m not going to save anything that people aren’t willing to do. And this was one of those sacred cows. So some of our members, wow, well, Chris, we got to do Christmas around the world. It won’t be Christmas unless we do Christmas around the world.

So they rallied, they got it together. And bro, it was just awful. I mean, it was, uh, it was just bad. Uh, there are lots of things I could say about it. So the best way. To make gourmet hamburgers out of sacred cows is to let the cow die.

JimBo Stewart: [00:16:06] Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. One that was interesting for me is, uh, when you have no context, you have no, you don’t have enough traditional Baptist history. I did not have enough traditional Baptist church history coming here. And all of a sudden the Lottie moon March starts, you have no idea what’s happening.

Bob Bickford: [00:16:29] Wait. Well, so I don’t even know about the Lottie moon March.

JimBo Stewart: [00:16:32] had never heard a Lottie moon March until all of a sudden, like half the church gets up on cue. They all know what to do. I don’t know what to do. Nobody gave me a heads up that this was going to happen. And everybody goes to the back of the sanctuary and then marches down the center aisle to drop their Lottie moon offering in the offering plate, which is cool, I guess.

But I mean, I, I was super confused at the time as

Bob Bickford: [00:17:02] Oh, it just broke out. Like you were preaching in a broke out. Are you doing a

JimBo Stewart: [00:17:05] It’s like in the middle of the service, like in the worship, the song portion, there’s like two songs. And then all of a sudden, like everybody just stood up and starts walking to the back of the sanctuary and I’m sitting there thinking like what what’s happening right

Bob Bickford: [00:17:20] People even.

JimBo Stewart: [00:17:23] And then they come down and drop their money and Adria, who is my Baptist history expert. Uh, she, she just elbows me and goes, it’s called the Lottie moon March. I was like, okay, you gotta give me a heads up about these things. Cause I don’t know about these things. So anyway. All right. So sacred cows, you have to deal with sacred cows.

One of the other things you gotta deal with is bullies.

Bob Bickford: [00:17:48] Yep.

JimBo Stewart: [00:17:48] Sometimes you’re going to walk in. And I was like, what? A friend recently, new to church who was telling me about a guy who’s like treasurer and on four other committees. And like, I mean, basically runs the place.  and him and the pastor have maybe some disagreements about how things are supposed to go.

And, uh, also, and this guy’s got more of the range than you do, right.

Bob Bickford: [00:18:10] cause he’s got the keys and the checkbook. So you don’t get paid and you get locked out.

JimBo Stewart: [00:18:17] And so sometimes you have to deal with some of those things head on, and I know this is your favorite subject to talk about. And so just to give us a quick, quick synopsis, what are some things we can do to deal with bullies?

Bob Bickford: [00:18:32] So in reality, most of the time in a dying and dysfunctional church, all of the healthy leaders have left. The building. What you’re left with is people who grew up in the church are loyal to the church as a family, and don’t want to see it die. And so they’re keeping it going. And then you have bullies that ascend to positions of power or controllers, kind of the same type of personality.

The best thing you can do to a controller or a bully is to stand up to them. And the typical pastor is too nice. There’s an article we’ll link in the show notes called on not being nice for the sake of the gospel by a old Methodist pastor named bill, and one of the best articles I’ve ever seen. On dealing with bullies.

Here’s the short synopsis of the article. The gospel is so significant in the mission, so great that you have to stand up against the church bully and fight that battle, or that church will be under their control. And so I just want to say this carefully to pastors, um, not everything. Is like the okay.

Corral, like at the end of tombstone right now, everything is like that. So don’t, don’t go in there, like your doc holiday or wider up, you know, and be ready to, you know, it’s not like that, but you do need to be ready and you do need to re prepared to confront the bully for the sake of the gospel, and then allow the Lord to.

To, uh, handle the situation. So my, my encouragement is if you’re not going to stand up to the bully and the bully wins, then you’re not the pastor of the church anymore. And the bully is, or the bullies or the controlling class or whatever. So you’re gonna have to make a decision. And in my encouragement to you comes from Colossians one 28 and 29.

Him, we proclaim it’s all about the gospel warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom. That’s the key part of the confrontation right there is we’re called the warn and we’re called to teach, but we’re called to do with a wisdom that, that God gives us. And as the verse continues, it talks about that.

The goal of that is to present everybody maturing Christ. So a bully is really a spiritually immature person. Uh, who’s controlling and they trust their, their idea and their, their thoughts and their direction of the, for the church rather than God’s direction. And, uh, our goal is to help them take a step of maturity.

So the step of maturity for a bully is not being a bully anymore and letting go and not controlling anymore, uh, and trusting God and trusting pastoral leadership. So that’s a step of maturity from them, but there’s a great price that, that, uh, It’s a costly thing for you to, to help that bully take a step, but I’d say men, you gotta, you gotta be ready to rescue the congregation from the controlling bullies.

JimBo Stewart: [00:21:35] So another thing you got to consider in that is how do I identify if it’s actually a bully or if they’re just grieving. The loss of, of change. Uh, I cannot recommend it enough here. Is it this particular point of trying to figure some things out that Jeff origins book leading major change is on a list of things I really wish I could have read years ago.

And would have helped me through some things. He has some really good insight on this particular subject. He says, and leading major change. One common mistake leaders make when introducing major change is assuming everyone who has initially opposes the change is rebelling against their leadership. Some leaders misinterpret opposition from followers because they do not understand major change, produces grief, and you have to allow people to grieve.

You have to allow people to grieve that. And you’ve got a pastor that you have to shepherd that grief. And so there are a lot of ways you can do that. One is being understanding of the fact that it’s, it’s going to cause grief. Okay. Two is, and this is one of the characteristics that we point out having respect for the church’s legacy.

A common mistake I hear from guys is constantly being down on everything that the church has done that, Oh, this church has had just such horrible shape. Everything they do is bad. Everything you do is bad. Well guys, that church probably has a richer history than you do. and there’s some really great shoulders that you’re getting to stand on when you stand in that pulpit.

And when you lead and you need to have a good understanding of the history of that church, we’ve talked about that at length before, but don’t lose sight. Of the beauty of that church is legacy as you build and help them move forward. And so look for other episodes, tagged with respect for churches, legacy, to look deeper into that idea, but not every time that somebody opposes you, are they an enemy? They may just be having a really hard time with the grief and you may could shepherd them to a point that they can. Be able to grieve that in a healthy way and help lead the change for, with you.

Bob Bickford: [00:23:57] One of the best and hardest conversations that I had during the replant season when it was really intense. Uh, was came from a lady and Karen she’s a sweet, sweet lady. So all of y’all who are thinking about the Karen’s in the world that are mean Karen’s, um, this, this, Karen was a sweet Karen

She was great. Um, she’s with Jesus now. She, um, she passed away. Um, but she said this to me and Jimbo. I, I, I crumpled in that moment in a good way. She just said, you know, every time I drive up to the church and park in the parking lot and then get out and I look at the church and it’s the church that I remember, but she said, as soon as I walk inside, it looks nothing like the church that I knew.

And that was huge for me. To understand that she was excited about the new young families and she was excited about the changes and all that. But every time she went inside, she began to grieve and she began to think this is not the church I remember this is not the church that I grew up in and it was a special moment for me and her.

And I just said, man, Karen, I’m sorry. I’m so thankful you shared that and I’m, I’m sorry, that’s gotta be really, really hard. And so pastor, you know, everything that you want to do and see the church, that’s part of your God given vision, that’s affirmed by the people is great. It’s important, but don’t forget this, the reality that people grieve, what was, and what, what is no more, um, and it doesn’t mean that they’re bad people.

It just means that they’re they’re grieving.

JimBo Stewart: [00:25:43] So the very last thing I would say is make sure you are communicating well. And often in the process, I would say the biggest mistake I made and leading change, not well is. Not communicating enough. I would say, I think I had communicated enough, but I had not communicated enough when people would feel surprised and it’s going to cause grief.

And so the more we can help that not feel so surprising. The easier might be to manage that grief. And so communicate as, as well as you can, as clearly as you can, as often as you can, especially when we’re talking about major changes, if you’re leading major changes and in that communication, make sure that you’re celebrating things, make sure that you are, and that’s one of the things we’ll talk about next is make sure you celebrate along the way, but that’ll be in one of the next episodes.

So to summarize some of the things that we’ve said today in order to kind of keep the train moving and getting the call in it and laying the tracks, we have to make sure that we are equipping and empowering leaders to do what they’re going to do. The volunteers, the saints of the church equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.

The vision has been cast. You can’t do it alone. You should not do it alone. You need to equip the saints to do the work of ministry. You got to get rid of barriers that might get in your way. You’ve got to get rid of bullies that might get in your way. And then you got to figure out how to shepherd well and love.

Well, communicate well develop leaders well, so that the vision can continue to be realized. So you guys next week,

change leadership, emu, TEAMS, TEAMWORK

Jimbo Stewart

Replant Bootcamp Co-Host

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