Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Hanging Up the Leisure Suit

Sometimes a church recognizes something isn't quite right, or wants to fix a certain program. At such times it's helpful to step back and take a system-level look at things. Are there healthy systems in place? Is everyone on the same page? Are we making disciples and equipping them? Tony Morgan takes a look at these questions in his "Leisure Suit" series of (free) eBooks. The first is "The Leisure Suit Trap - 8 Reasons Your Church is Stuck". This week Tony released the next in the series: "Hanging Up the Leisure Suit - How to Get Unstuck." But first let's look at how a church can get stuck. We get stuck 'wearing' a system or approach that at one time was amazing, trendy, cool, effective. Now... it's like the old leisure suit in your closet. Here are eight reasons Tony unpacks why your church may be stuck.

1. You Lack a Leadership Empowerment Plan
2. You Are Unclear About Your Vision and Mission
3. You Blame Outsiders and External Factors
4. Your Structure Inhibits Growth
5. You Worship Your Past Success
6. You Focus on Activities Instead of Outcomes
7. You Fail to Equip God’s People
8. Your Ministries Ignore People Outside the Church

The eBook is so short and well-written I won't even comment on them here - just read the eBook yourself :)

In Hanging Up the Leisure Suit, he switches gears to consider How to Get Unstuck. There are six sections, and in each the focus is on making necessary changes to bring different results, bridging strategy to implementation, building strong foundations, and creating healthy systems for your church. What is a healthy system? Tony shares "Within the context of a church, a healthy system is a simple, replicable process to help people move from where they are to where God wants them to be."

1. How Do We Get Different Results?
2. Mind the Gap
3. God Uses Systems to Accomplish His Purposes
4. Building a Healthy Foundation
5. When Teaching Creates Barriers to Change
6. Eight Characteristics of Healthy Systems

Again, it's short enough you can just read the eBook rather than have me try to explain it. But I'll share one of the more interesting quotes I found from the book:
"One of the great myths in ministry is that we have the power to change behaviors by teaching more... We’ve fallen into the trap of thinking the only way people will take a next step is if we teach at them more."

My only minor disappointment with the eBook was that it didn't get much into how to modify (or replace) existing systems to establish more healthy ones. Perhaps that will be the topic of the next book in the series, or perhaps it is meant to be left as an exercise for the reader.

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