categories:, church, culture, development, future, innovation, leadership
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October 26th, 2009

by Craig Groeschel

13 comments (+ Add)

Leading Into the Future

When I want to lead into the future, I usually look into the past to see what I can learn from any patterns.

Sensing it was time to make some changes in our church culture, I prayerfully reflected over the different seasons of our church.

I noticed a distinct pattern that repeated itself at least seven times. (I’m not claiming this will be true for everyone, but might be true for many ministries.)

Phase 1: We create something new (new ministry or new innovation).

Phase 2: We recruit and train leaders for the new initiative.

Phase 3: We build systems to support the new effort.

Once the ministry system (or leadership structure) is in place, the ministry runs somewhat effortlessly for a while.

It could be months or even years that God seems to bless this season of ministry. Eventually, it seems that God slowly (or quickly) removes His blessings from what we “we’re doing” forcing us to seek Him for something new.

I’ll write all week about this.

Have you noticed anything similar in your ministries?

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  1. Oct 26, 2009 at 8:04 am

    ‘YO’ be speaking my language! Um..yes! This is my LIFE. For example. I have moved ALL over, MANY experiences, MANY friends and for 8 years I wrestled with WHY was I in Tennessee with NO family around. I just did NOT get it and I wanted to be closer to my fam… But I stayed. Now, God is unraveling “My” Mystery…and it is SO clear why I took EVERY step. I think God likes to plan LIFE Surprise parties for us! He plans it all and then at the right time goes “SURPRISE!…Get it now?” I just stand there in awe and say WOW! Now THAT is awesome.

  2. Oct 26, 2009 at 8:07 am

    Welcome back Craig! I have given some thought to what has happened here with the music aspect of or worship and wonder if perhaps what you are writing about it where we find ourselves. Were we putting too much emphasis on the music that we were losing sight of the communion with God and listening to the Word and fellowship with others. Maybe we are in one of those seasons of change…change that will test us but will ultimately lead us deeper into Him. Jury is still out. :)

  3. Oct 26, 2009 at 9:43 am

    This shall be a great topic week!
    We’re still at the ‘new ministry’ part at H3O Church but we’re always looking forward!
    We love the ‘newness’ of God!
    Love, Craig! :)

  4. Oct 26, 2009 at 9:48 am

    This is a great post. I am in a season of change in my life & ministry… along with our church is in a season of needing new ministries, structures & systems.

    This is just what we are needing. Thanks… I will be posting this on my blog as well.

  5. Oct 26, 2009 at 9:56 am

    [...] Leading Into the Future [...]

  6. Oct 26, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I have definitely seen this pattern in my ministry… and have really struggled in the “forcing us to seek Him…” area. Many times my boredom and focusing on things I can’t control make me complacent in seeking God and changing things I can control.
    Looking forward to the series of posts!

  7. Oct 26, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    I’m just constantly praying God would give me boldness and clarity to see when the change needs to come and not become content with what’s working now.
    This is a word that I think we leaders need to be speaking more to the folks in our churches. We need to let them know the message doesn’t change, ever, but the way we do things can and will change.

  8. Oct 26, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    Haha yes and I actually am going to be talking about it today to the leaders and tomorrow to the whole group.

    What we were doing was effective for bringing leaders and a base, core, group in. What we need now is to follow God’s leading to more effectively reach beyond ourselves. (we’ve completely gone to a lukewarm stalemate - and I’m not liking it and neither is God).

    So the steps forward? In the next few weeks change focus from inside group to outside group, w/o neglecting maturing of inside group.

    How? I’m gonna pray about it!

    Once again God us using you in the perfect times!

    (it seems I’m always turning my comments into a self-journaling/figuring-out spot lol!)

    God bless!

  9. Oct 26, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Looking forward to your thoughts on this subject. Thanks Craig you are greatly appreciated.

  10. Oct 26, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Craig, I think this is not only true, but neccessary. In short, God places this, what I like to call, comfort/uncomfort cycle in or lives and in our ministries in order to keep us from getting complacent and to keep us dependant on Him. It’s a great plan, it’s His plan. Anxious to hear what you have to say.

  11. 12Sherrye
    Oct 28, 2009 at 11:16 am

    Curt Hanna is right on, that is exaclty what I was going to say. Its so true not just in ministry but in our lives. If things are too easy and comfortable we start to slack off from continually seeking him. I’ve noticed that in my personal life as well. His plan is always the perfect plan! Its his way not my way and I just want him to lead me in every step.

  12. Nov 15, 2009 at 5:43 pm

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