Know you need to take your church to a new place? Maybe you’ve realized that where you’re heading as a congregation isn’t a good destination. Maybe a few of your leadership team has begun to understand the handwriting on the wall.
You just know you need to move in a new direction. You need to arrive at a new destination.
I’ve written about this idea before but it’s just true that the well-worn path never arrives at a new destination. And it’s a message that we all need to hear on a regular basis.
Albert Einstein said it well: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.” Read: If you want different results, you need to do different things.
I say, if you want to arrive at a new destination, you need to change the trajectory.
How do you arrive at a new destination? How do you change the trajectory? How do you change the trajectory so that you end up in a new place?
I think there are four things you need to know:
First, shifting trajectories requires intentionality. You don’t drift into a new trajectory. It is intentional. You make decisions about strategy and you intentionally move in a new direction.
Second, there will always be resistance to the new trajectory. It is a law of nature. The rut from which you emerged will be easy to slip back into.
Third, it takes courage, determination and persistance to remain on the new trajectory. No sooner than you’ve begun there will be vocal advocates of the rut. “But we still like the old ways!” There will probably be threats. “There are other places that still use the old ways!” And there will be temptation. “It’s just easier to climb back into the rut.” Courage, determination, and persistance will keep you on the new path.
Fourth, sighting milestones along the way will give you hope and conviction that you’re heading in the right direction. You will need reachable milestones in order to stay the course. Any destination worth arriving at will not be reached quickly. Like mountain climbers, you will need clearly marked points along the path where you can celebrate arrival while preparing for the next leg in the ascent.
Let’s say you are a church with groups and 15% of your adults are in a group. You know you need to work on connecting a much higher percentage of your congregation, but you have a long history of starting a new group only to have another disband. You’ve got a few on-campus classes but can never really generate enough momentum to connect more than the usual suspects.
How can you move to a new trajectory? Is it even possible? I believe it is…but it requires intentionality, anticipation of resistance, courage, determination and persistance. It also requires an early milestone or two that renews hope.
For example, the right church-wide campaign strategy can engage whole congregations in a new conversation. Implemented skillfully and intentionally, it can move congregations a few key steps along a new trajectory. Designed with some foresight, the campaign can offer next steps that will sustain the new momentum and focus attention on the milestone just ahead. Upon reaching the first milestone, a celebration can affirm new heroes and announce the next leg of the journey.
Want to go there? It begins with intentionality. Need help? I love helping. Find out more right here.