Where does a united approach to solving a problem in a church come from? Shared biblical vision. It's the only place. For sure you can have a shared organisational vision that produces results for organisational change, but if it isn’t supremacy-of-God-oriented then what you get is a building or a project or an adjustment to practice rather than kingdom growth.
Churches have some unique characteristics that may make change potentially more difficult than in other organisations:
- they are voluntary associations
- in many churches people have a right of say in decision-making who are not connected to gospel-vision or to the leadership. When the less spiritual fringe is allowed as much say as the spiritual, biblically driven core, it's a disaster
- people have joined on the basis of something they find attractive and may not stay if anything challenges or changes that
- it is impossible to incentivise change with remuneration. This is the major way almost every other organisation does it. We have to incentivise it differently
- they will contain a variety of different views on stake-holding. Change will look different if your understanding of church is: (a) "I go to church because I like some aspect of it"; (b) "this is my church - and I will fight to keep it just as I like it"; (c) "this church is my community to with whom I further the gospel work of God's kingdom"
- the congregation may be unclear about organisational goals, aims and structures. Usually more so than in a business
- people think that everyone should have as much say as leaders, regardless of whether they are spiritual or spiritually gifted in discerning direction
We could sum these up as:
- individual inertia: self-interest and self-perception about why I am in the church
- structural inertia: externals and activities are perceived to be the essence that makes church attractive, rather than gospel vision
- vision inertia: lack of clarity of God's purposes to bring himself glory and how the local congregation should run in those purposes
- leader inertia: factors that make leaders unwilling or unable to lead
All of which are likely to demotivate change