Is your church like a motorcycle or a cement truck?
During my commute home from the office today, I found myself stuck behind a cement truck in one lane going a leisurely 30 miles an hour. The lane next me was also moving at a snail’s pace due to an oversized tractor trailer. The only people moving ahead were motorcycle drivers who used their vehicle’s size and speed to dart through traffic, leaving the rest of us miles behind. The agility of the motorcycles intrigued me and I began to wonder about the congregations I coach. “Which ones are more like motorcycles (nimble, adaptive and opportunity-oriented) and which ones are more like cement trucks (slow, plodding and carrying lots of extra baggage).?”
The ones I identified as “motorcycles” had these similar traits:
- They have an external focus, seeing opportunities emerging within their community.
- The make quick decisions, having removed unnecessary bottlenecks and eliminated the need for multiple approvals.
- They are flexible, willing to pilot new programs and ministries while simultaneously jettisoning programs and practices that aren’t working.
- They understand that risk and failure goes hand in hand with innovation. They learn how to do autopsies without blame and learn from their mistakes.
- They give themselves permission to say “no.” They do less but go deeper and avoid stretching their dreams beyond their available resources and leadership capacities.
- They see “small” as a strength rather than a weakness to overcome. They have a quicker, lighter footprint and can turn on a dime, and don’t use their lack of size as an excuse for not doing effective ministry.
- They combine face-to-face relational experiences with online interactions. They embrace the “high touch, high tech” approach to relationship-building.
- They are clear about what they want FOR people – not just from people. They want people to experience a life-shaping faith, better relationships, healthier families, find joy in serving others and experience being generous with their time, talents and treasures.