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Catalyst Report, part four

andy-stanley1Catalyst Session 4

Don’t Be that Couch  Andy Stanley

Your church has ministry and programs in place that, if you were starting over, you wouldn’t do the same way…

Programming  facilitates the mission/vision – it’s always designed to address a specific need, answer a specific question, or solve a specific problem.

Programming begins as answer to a question, but over time becomes part of organizational culture – makes it difficult to change.  As culture changes the questions remain the same but the answers don’t.

The tendency is to institutionalize our answers.  The longer people have been in the church, the less intuitive they are about the questions programming is answering.  Leaders should lead people to see the world in a different way – in the way they need to see it.

If we institutionalize an answer, the day will come when it’s no longer an answer.

The Couch illustration – It was great when you bought it, stylish, attractive – over time memories get attached to it, begin to love it, never get rid of it.  The reason you bought it – a place to sit – is not the reason it gets carried around from house to house.  Today, it’s ugly, out of date, out of style, and uncomfortable…  So why don;t we get rid of it?

When we fall in love with programming, the tendency is to keep it around too long…  Get rid of the couch!  We don’t have time to carry them around.  We must continue to be more committed to our mission than we are to our programming or our model/way of doing things.

Over time sustaining the model can become the mission – the real mission becomes keeping/sustaining the programming that is ineffective.

Over time the model can actually work against the mission. –  As leaders we have to monitor and change that.

In the business world, they don’t keep old couches around – if it’s not profitable and doesn’t work, they ditch it.

Points of discussion

  • What have we fallen in love with that’s not as effective as it needs to be?
  • Where are we manufacturing energy?  If you have to fake the enthusiasm for a program or activity, it’s time to let it go… 
  • If we got kicked out and the board brought in a new pastor, what would he do?  Need to walk out the door, come back in and see everything with new eyes.
  • Proactive change – don’t wait till the wheels fall off.

What are our organizational assumptions?   “Leaders must bring the underlying assumptions that drive strategy into line with changes in the world environment.”

Wrong assumptions lead to bad programming.  The assumption the team has held the longest or the most deeply are likeliest to be its undoing… Because we continue to operate the way we think the world is rather than the way it really is.  Whatever is off limits for discussion is primed to be our undoing.

  • What do assume about people and how to reach them? 
  • What do we assume programmatically?
  • Which of our assumptions are false?
  • Which assumptions are true, but not fully leveraged?

The challenge is to send a clear message publicly while holding with an open hand privately – anytime God wants to change something, Let Him.

Refuse to do the things that are not making a difference.  Our mission is too important to hang on to the ineffective, out of date methods of ministry.

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