Tag: tactical patience

road sign reads change ahead

The Emotional Cycle of Change

“A pastor goes into it thinking he’s going to change the world… He gets fired for changing the bulletin.” Yikes…  That is one of those tough sayings that rings true for far too many pastors that I know.  They had high hopes of replanting a struggling church but realized quickly that change is hard.  

But here’s some good news: change follows a fairly predictable pattern. And if you can exercise tactical patience, you really CAN change the world– or, at least, your church.

Stage One: Uninformed Optimism

Oh man.  This stage is absolutely great… while it lasts.  Unfortunately, that’s not very long.  At this stage, everyone is excited about the change.  They’re “ready for change,” they’re “eager for a new direction” and “looking forward to some new ideas.” The optimism is contagious, and there’s a good wave of momentum.  This is the stage when a pastor starts planning out some necessary changes and begins talking about them with key people who are mostly supportive.

On the Replant Bootcamp podcast, the guys compared this stage to the Israelites coming out of Egypt.  There was joy as they celebrated the First Passover and began to follow God’s direction.  They were led by God in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and they were ready to take hold of the Promised Land God had pledged to them (Exodus 13).  

But just like Moses, pastors will discover that after the initial excitement wears off, the congregation will start into the negative Stage Two.

curvy road sign

Stage Two: Informed Pessimism

One of the most important things a pastor can do when implementing changes is to communicate.  You can’t over-communicate when you are making changes.  Your congregation needs to know the what, when, how, and especially why changes are being made. There is a temptation here for most pastors, because once change is communicated, then the protests start.  “We’ve done it this way for years– why change now?” “That sounds expensive and like a lot of work.  We don’t have the resources for that.”  “We don’t want to do something new.  We like it this way.”

In this stage, the benefits of change don’t feel immediate and sometimes the wait can make them seem unimportant. You might forget why you felt so strongly about the changes you were called to make.  The cost associated with the change becomes apparent, and the grumbling starts to wear you down.

Again, we can look to the Israelites and see the parallel.  In Exodus 14, as the Egyptians are racing toward them, the Israelites look at Moses and say, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:11) Funny isn’t it? The same Israelites who were just a chapter before praising God for His deliverance have abandoned the idea at the first sign of trouble!  Suddenly they don’t remember the horror of Egypt, they would rather go backward than to face their fear, which leads directly to stage three.

image from the Princess Bride- the pit of despair

Stage Three: The Valley of Despair

The costs have been counted, and the people are grumbling.  Benefits for change seem far away and your people are struggling to support a change they don’t feel is necessary.  You’ve tried to communicate the reasons why, and you’ve fought the good fight.  But in stage three, even you will start to question your decisions for change.  You will start wondering if this is even worth it.  

At this stage, no one is happy.  You aren’t happy, your congregation isn’t happy.  Heck, even your dog is unhappy at this point.  You will look for a way out of this hard struggle.  And the easiest way to get out of it? Just go back to the way it was. After all, you rationalize, it wasn’t so bad before.  It’s the same feeling the Israelites had when they told Moses, “Just take us back to Egypt!”

Many pastors quit at this point.  And it’s definitely tempting to walk away.  But beware– this is a watershed moment.  If you can stand firm and exercise patience in this stage, you can make it to stage four!

Stage Four: Informed Optimism 

Yay!  We’re back to an optimistic point! Finally, you are seeing some fruits of your labor.  The benefits you knew would come are tangible and people are feeling momentum.  At this stage, there is support for the vision and excitement is building.  Your congregation has not only embraced the change, they now see the tangible difference it made and are inspired by it! 

For the Israelites, this looks like crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land (Joshua 3).  They have wandered for 40 years as a punishment for their disobedience and their obstinance.  But in crossing the Jordan, they are making a break with their old life and entering into their new life with God in the land promised to them.  (We certainly hope you don’t have to wander for 40 years in the desert of indecision, but you should know that most of the time you won’t reach this stage until year 4 or 5 of a replant.)  They are ready to take on the task of fulfilling God’s covenantal promise to them.

Stage Five: Success and Fulfillment

The final stage of the emotional cycle of change is success and fulfillment.  You are not only seeing your changes and your goals come to fruition, you are creating a whole new culture.  This is no longer about small changes, this is about the larger attitude of the church.  The church is changing from a “me first” mindset to a church that makes disciples that makes disciples that make the community noticeably better– one with a healthy culture of disciple-making and missional involvement. It’s not change for the next year or two, or even for your time as a pastor there, it is a multi-generational change that lasts long past your tenure.

Looking at our parallel with the Israelites, this is the Battle of Jericho moment.  This is complete trust in God and complete success in the mission of God.  

How do we get there from here?

Many of you are stuck in those early stages.  Can I take a moment to encourage you?  Typically, it takes 4-5 years in a replant to see the latter stages of informed optimism and success and fulfillment.  During that time, you will feel the temptation to give up.  Many pastors give up around year three, when they feel stuck in that valley of despair. But we need you to stick it out, pastor.  Your church needs you.  Your family needs you. There are battles to be fought and hard times to go through, and we need you to know that there are better days ahead.  God has not lost sight of you, and like the Israelites, you will soon see a victory.  Keep at it, pastors.  God has not abandoned your church– or you.

 

EP 163 – STAGES IN A REPLANT Pt.1 PLOWING

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EP 163 - STAGES IN A REPLANT Pt.1 PLOWING
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Hey Bootcampers, we’re kicking off a new series, The Stages of a Replant. We’ve found this, church planting is like construction. Church replanting is more like farming. You labor away, plowing the fields, sowing the seeds and watering the rows you planted. And then you wait…..for the growth. One of the keystone verses for Replanters is Paul’s description of his role and work in the church.

 “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-9

Here are there are four stages:

Plowing—the work of God in preparing the ground through the preaching of the Gospel with the power and conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Planting–the work of the Pastor and Leaders to sow the Gospel deeply into the softened ground of the Church body.

Watering–the continual teaching and application of truth from God’s word that gives much needed refreshment so the seed can grow.

Growing–the fully developed seed of the Gospel springs up and is evident in the life of those inside the church. It’s marked by changed thinking and living and is evidence of God’s work in the lives of the people—spiritual growth.

What does the work of “plowing” look like in a Church RePlant ?

  • The Cessation of the “Well Worn”
  • The introduction of a disruptive force
  • Persistent Plodding
  • A Christ Centered Commitment

Listen in and give us your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you.

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EP 158 – AVOIDING PRAGMATIC PITFALLS – LEADERSHIP WISDOM PT.1 –

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EP 158 - AVOIDING PRAGMATIC PITFALLS - LEADERSHIP WISDOM PT.1 -
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Hey Bootcampers welcome back! Just a reminder that we’d love to see you in Louisville at the Am I a Replanter? October 27-28, 2022. You can register online here 

Let’s get to it, we’ll start by defining pragmatism.

Hamilton says that what he means by “pragmatic is assessing a plan or belief in terms of its practical success. Pragmatism is a way of assessing problems and situations based on their immediate practical consequences rather than on abstract or ideological concerns. In other words, what’s right works.”

Before you toss out pragmatism understand that in it, there’s both good and bad.  The challenging part of buying totally into pragmatism is that it may work in the short run-but often it doesn’t pay off in the long run. Most of the time, if you buy into an overly pragmatic decision-making style you’ll begin to experience unintended consequences.

Sit back, lean in, and listen to some of the helpful wisdom in this EP.

 

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EP #42 THE THINKING OF A REPLANTER: VISIONARY SHEPHERD, ORGANIZATIONAL AWARENESS, TACTICAL PATIENCE

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EP #42 THE THINKING OF A REPLANTER: VISIONARY SHEPHERD, ORGANIZATIONAL AWARENESS, TACTICAL PATIENCE
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The guys are back talking about the characteristics present in Replanters.  Listen as they break down stories of the bacon-y greatness of Shoney’s Breakfast Buffet, and the important characteristics of Replanters.

 

Visionary Shepherd: “A Visionary Shepherd has the ability to sense and see God’s next steps for a congregation and the capacity to lead the church forward as a loving shepherd. He is patient, wise, strategic, and relational.”

 

Organizational Awareness: A replanter with Organizational Awareness is adept at understanding how power dynamics work within the church, anticipating how changes would be received, recognizing where change may produce friction, and showing an awareness of how current practice and changes affected their position within the community in which they served.

 

Tactical Patience:Tactical patience is the ability to skillfully implement change at a pace that is appropriate to a specific congregation’s health and needs. It is about having the discernment of knowing when something must be changed and how it should be changed.

 

For an example of a lapse of organizational awareness listen to EP #20 “How not to change the name of a Replant.”

 

Book Recommendations for these Characteristics

 

Embers to a Flame by Harry Reeder III

Leading Major Change In Your Ministry by Jeff Iorg

 

Fun Links

 

Shoney’s Restaurant

Send Jimbo some Wright Brand Bacon

 

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Episode #27 – ?Mike Rubino?Boots on the Ground Highlight ?

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Episode #27 - ?Mike Rubino?Boots on the Ground Highlight ?
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Joining the guys on the bootcamp today is Mike Rubino, Pastor at Cornerstone in Port Jefferson, New York. (On Long Island)

Mike is an accidental Replanter-he was serving at a declining church as an Associate Pastor when God called him to become a Replanter at that same church. This episode contains some pithy, tweet-able gold as Mike dropped his knowledge.  Check it out!

 

The first thing I want to say about replanting is this-if you’re not called don’t do it.

It’s important to be spirit dependent not self dependent as a Replanter.

Don’t forget the Lord of the work as you are doing the work of the Lord.

If things go well you believe your own “press”, when things go wrong you take it hard.

As a Replanter you have to talk less and listen more – don’t talk so much.

I had to learn to enter a room without bias. When you are in a leadership gathering ask a lot of questions from the people who are in the room.  Every decision we made as a team was better than any decisions I could come up with by myself.

Be careful-don’t run over people to reach people. 

Pastor-”do no harm” don’t run over people in an effort to lead change.

Replanter-it’s a marathon. You won’t have it figured out in a day.

It’s not until year three that you really understand the problems and it’s not until year five that you have the credibility and trust of the people to lead them forward.

You can teach what you know, but you can only lead where you are willing to go.

Replanter-you gotta get up and go!

 

Q: What’s the one thing you would like to say to a Replanter who is just beginning his ministry:

A: That their identity is in Christ and not their ministry.

 

Replanter-stop comparing yourself to other Pastors, be who you God has made you to be.

Our ministries are valuable and there is no loss if we are being faithful to him.

Q: How are you adjusting to the Covid19 reality?

A: It feels like ministry got faster, someone pressed fast forward x 4. This is what we’ve been preparing for-we’ve worked hard on digital online tools to bring the gospel into homes in our area. Our next hire is going to be someone who “speaks” all things digital.  Keep it simple! 

We have been given a great opportunity to be creative and reach people who are looking for hope.

Florida Man steals hand-sanitizer from Jacksonville FL (check out the video on the Replant Bootcamp Facebook Page)

 

 

 

Episode #9 – The Luter Replant Legacy Part 1 with Dr. Fred Luter (Boots on the Ground Highlight)

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Replant Bootcamp
Episode #9 - The Luter Replant Legacy Part 1 with Dr. Fred Luter (Boots on the Ground Highlight)
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This is the first episode of a 2-part ? BOOTS ON THE GROUND HIGHLIGHT ?about Dr. Fred Luter Jr. and his son Fred “Chip” Luter III. In part 1 we will hear from Dr. Fred about his replanting journey at Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans and in part 2 we will hear from Chip and his journey to replanting with Idlewild in Tampa.

Dr. Fred Luter starting pastoring Franklin Avenue Baptist church 33 years ago when most people suspected the church was about to die. Local ministry leaders even told Pastor Fred that he was the wrong choice and he just needed to bury the church. Years later Franklin Avenue is a powerful testimony to God’s faithfulness through Dr. Fred who eventually became the first African-American President of the Southern Baptist Convention.

33 years of pastoral ministry has given Pastor Fred some great wisdom and we are excited to share it with you. Here are a few highlights:

  • The key to pastoral ministry is faithfulness to who God has called you to be and where he has called you to serve.
  • One of the greatest challenges in many dying churches is to remind them that the WORD of GOD works. Pastors must be faithful to the Word.
  • Replanters must be VISIONARY SHEPHERDS that have TACTICAL PATIENCE: Pastor Fred shares about taking 2-3 years to move Franklin Avenue from funding their church through selling chicken suppers to faithful and biblical giving.
  • Replanters must have a MISSIONAL FOCUS and GOSPEL ORIENTATION: Fred shares how he had a creative and missional strategy to engage the men in his community that were not coming to church through watching a pay-per-view boxing match. He then followed this up with personal evangelism and discipleship.
  • Replanters must make their families a priority. Pastor Fred has held hard to regular time off on a weekly basis to invest in his marriage and his kids.

Vocabulary word of the day –  Lagniappe

If you enjoyed this episode please share it with your friends, subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast platform, and leave us a rating.

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