What starts a classis on the journey to renewal?
In my last blog post I suggest what I thought was Number 1 on the list – Prayer.
Here are the next three items on my list. Again, these are not the benchmarks of a classis on the renewal journey. What I’m after here is discerning what factors can contribute, or typically contribute, to getting a classis started on the journey. Happily, many of these factors we can learn from the experience of classes that are already on the journey! And we learn that much of what ignites the fuse, or gets the planning going, is within the control of the classis. It’s not some mysterious alchemy that just happens to happen. We can make choices and decisions that significantly increase the likelihood that the journey of renewal will begin.
So here is the next set of factors that I think we are learning about what puts classes on the road to renewal….
Number 2 - Classical leaders have studied “Rethinking Ministry – From Church-Shaped Missions to a Mission-Shaped Church”. (Copyright 1999 CRHM and CRWRC) I am NOT saying you have to buy everything in here, but I am saying this is background work far too valuable to ignore, and if your classis wants fresh wind, this has been found to be important groundwork. (You can request this from me a classis coach at: [email protected])
Number 3 - A “coach” is so valuable – classes that have undergone positive change in how they work have usually found the support of a coach to be vital. A coach is someone who walks alongside the leadership, encouraging, praying, asking the good hard questions, and supporting accountability for assigned tasks. A coach facilitates the healthy and difficult dialog that must accompany change.
Number 4 - Be patient; give yourself time – Some specific steps can be accomplished in months; but the change process will (should) take years, and maybe never end. Expect to use your coach actively for 2-4 years, and maybe more or less beyond that depending on your needs and the coach’s areas of competence and availability.
I’ll share some more of these factors in coming weeks. But the big question is – what do you think? How does YOUR experience in classis match these ideas? You can really make a contribution to the conversation if you would tell a story from YOUR classis – what’s working to foster improvement? What typical stuck spots have you encountered? What break-throughs and encouragement can you share?