Ready or Not, Change Will Come. Why Organized Abandonment is Necessary for Leading Change in the Church

brickwallNo matter your church size, chances are good that you are doing things that do not contribute to making disciples. I’m not talking about expense reports, youth pastors – you still have to do those… I am talking about programs, classes or committees that, while in and of themselves are good activities, are not catalysts of spiritual growth or outreach.

As Peter Drucker puts it “it’s time for organized abandonment” in many churches. It’s time for a systematic process that allows some of us to let some things go. It’s time for healthy change.

But what does that really mean? First, let’s look at two things that organized abandonment is not.

1. Organized Abandonment is not killing programs. I learned a term from my days in architecture, working with city councils and local legislatures: sunsetting. Sunsetting means that we will allow a program or activity to end, beautifully and intentionally. Very few things that your church has done or is doing, deserve to be “killed” or ended, but almost every program or “style” of doing something should at some point be celebrated and let go to make room for something else more effective. We cannot have a sunrise, without a sunset first.

2. Organized Abandonment is not reactive or scarcity driven. There will be times when finance, facility or leadership challenges call for an operational change. That is called being responsible. However, the temptation to use those hardships as a recurring excuse to make changes, that need to be made anyway, must be resisted. It doesn’t take long for false stewards to begin to look like real cowards.

Here are 10 thoughts on why organized abandonment is necessary for leading change in the church…

1. Because organized abandonment only emerges after a season of seeking God and His call to make disciples.

2. Because organized abandonment is fueled by break-thru clarity on:

Our Mission: what we are called to do

Our Values why we are doing it

Our Strategy: how we will do it

Our Mission Measures: when we are successful

Our Vision: where God is leading us

3. Because organized abandonment is supported by a common conviction that effective discipleship is more important than program affection.

4. Because organized abandonment seeks to methodically and systematically tune every program and activity within the church toward a common missional map.

5. Because organized abandonment recognizes the contributions of generations and programs past, and celebrates the impact they have had.

6. Because organized abandonment consistently calls every ministry area of the church into alignment.

7. Because organized abandonment recognizes that today’s style or way of doing ministry will be tomorrow’s stale way of doing ministry. One day a bunch of young punks will make fun of us 80somethings hanging on to our traditional, Hillsong worship service.

8. Because organized abandonment leads to not doing about half of your current ministries and programs, to do the other half exponentially better.

9. Because organized abandonment prioritizes people, and what they need to grow, over programs, and what we like to do.

10. Because organized abandonment is really just changing what needs to be changed in order to see the kind of change that matters for eternity.

11. Bonus: Because organized abandonment really cleans up the back page of your worship bulletin.

Is it time for some organized abandonment in your church?

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