Yesterday we looked at why it is so hard for pastors to pull the trigger and institute something new. Today we are going to look at what pastors need to do in order to pull the trigger.

Leaders Must Manage Themselves

Pastors or executive pastors have to be flexible on non-essentials and stubborn on the essentials. Let’s use worship as the example as we did in Part One. If a person is looking at the horizon, it is impossible to miss the rise of rap or virtual in the culture, especially among the under 25 crowd.  To be an effective manager of worship, they must embrace rap and virtual even if they don’t like them, and still remain true to their biblical convictions. They have to be comfortable with the idea that the style of worship has nothing whatsoever to do with any biblical position. Any style can convey the Gospel. If you can’t agree with that, your future is in jeopardy.

This means pastors must learn how to put their own opinions and prejudices aside in order to respond to the emerging culture.  The good manager wants the culture to grow into their style rather than their style to grow into the culture. The effective pastor is always adapting ahead of the culture while remaining steadfast in basic biblical principles.

Willow Creek Community Church is a good example of allowing the culture to grow into them.  They focused on seeker worship long before the media picked up on the secularization of the U.S. culture.  As the choice of style continued to ramp up, they instituted a new culture for a new generation.

But it’s been our experience that too many pastors design worship in the style they prefer rather than anticipating the culture and rapidly changing to at least stay current. Those who will set the pace of the future will adapt ahead of the culture. They will read the signs of the times, let their intuition take over, and ride the wave into the future. Which will it be for you?

Leaders Must Manage Their Networks

One of the things we are quickly learning about the new world is that two minds are better than one and four are better than two and so on.  The new world is so complicated that it’s rare to find the solo leader who functions totally inside his or her vacuum.  Most of the great leaders we’ve seen have surrounded themselves with a host of gifted people who are on the same quest as the leader. So, don’t be afraid of gifted people. Instead, surround yourself with them. The more gifted your networks, the more likely you and your church are to succeed in your mission.

By now you’ve guessed that the networks we are referring to aren’t computer systems, but the network of people who surround you each day.  They can be friends, co-workers, or enemies. In our case we are mostly referring to paid and unpaid staff.  They are your church’s most valuable resources. If you learn how to network them, you have significantly raised your ability to get things accomplished. With the right relationships, you can generate success. But success doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it may take years for you to have success. That’s why it is important for you to continuously build relationships. Once you have established credibility and trust within your network, you can reach out to them for help.

The problem here is that most pastors don’t take time to cultivate their networks.  Success in working your networks doesn’t come overnight. It takes time to gain trust and show that what you are about is worth being a part of.  So you need to begin now to identify which of your networks are worth pursuing.  That’s right, not all networks are the same.

To get started, make a list of all the various people, groups, websites, churches, etc. that form your web of networks. And dont forget social media: it’s not just social; it takes networking to the next level.

Next, rate them by the extent of their influence. Some will be wider than others. Some will be more influential monetarily. Some will be limited in both reach and influence. Those will be the ones you will ignore.

But for the positive and active networks, take advantage of their collective experience. You will be surprised at how much people want to help. However, before you ask for help, make sure that you first are providing value to your network. Spend time nurturing your relationships and being there for them when they need you.

You will be amazed at what can happen when you leverage your network. The people you know are some of your most valuable assets. Take advantage of it but only in a reasonable and credible way.

Having gathered a group of gifted people, leaders must now manage them in ways to bring out the collective best.  

Making the most of a great team is the subject of Part Three.

Question: How have you seen leaders predict cultural changes well? Share your observations in the Comments section below.

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