Yesterday I wrote about strategies I employ around change. Change is hard and most people don’t like it, even if EVERYTHING will be better after said change is made. To help make change a greater chance of success, I compartmentalize my change, rolling out change in small areas so that change can happen in a very fast and effective way building excitement and energy for those who experienced the change and for those watching from the outside.
The other strategy I like to employ is a little funny. Let’s take a look:
Fake it ’till you make it
There are some changes that you can’t compartmentalize. You have to flip the switch and roll out change across the board. This kind of change is a little more bold and requires quite a bit of risk, especially when not everyone is bought in. Sometimes, you have to pull the trigger even before all the resources are in place. I’m not talking about reckless leadership, but I am talking about stepping out in faith. Let me explain it with an example.
Three years ago, our elementary Large Group was significantly lacking. Small Groups were on point, but we were stuck in a rut when we assembled all the kids together. We were running separate Large Group experiences for older and younger elementary kids. We barely had enough volunteers for each large group… sometimes just one tech person and one (maybe two) host/story teller. They did the best they could with what they had. One of the rooms (the older kids unfortunately) didn’t have great lighting and someone would have to the back of the room to turn the lights on and off for worship. It was clunky. Recruiting to be a part of our Large Group team was nearly impossibly because most people didn’t want to sign up for something that was struggling. So I took steps to make changes.
I hired a Large Group Consultant to evaluate our spaces and hired a designer to create a compelling environment. I traveled to observe some of the best Large Group experiences in the country so I could see what was needed to pull this off. I made some staff transitions and allocated funds to pay someone to lead what we were going to build. I had some extra funds to make an investment in our environments. After a lot of research and advice, I decided to create one AMAZING Large Group environment instead of two. This was a risk since we’d been running two separate age group environments for years.
We had about 10-12 Large Group volunteers. I pulled them all together and described what we were going to build. Most of them went crazy over the sketches of the new environmental designs. A few were skeptical. I showed them video of what the best Large Group environments looked like. There was doubt that we could pull it off. We would need to triple and eventually quadruple our team to pull it off.
This is where I had to take a step of faith. I told them that I was going to fully invest in this change. When we launched the new environment, I committed to host, produce or be the story teller every week for two to three months. I asked them to give me two to three months where they would serve two weekends a month. This was a big ask because serving required an all day Sunday commitment. Everyone agreed. I knew that we had to produce an elementary environment that required 3-4 times the volunteers we actually had in order to build excitement and attract the volunteers we needed.
It was an exhausting 2-3 months, but we did it. We went from 3 tech volunteers to nearly 20. Within a year, we had more people who wanted to run tech than we had spots available. Our environment attracted worship leaders from our adult stage when they weren’t scheduled in the auditorium. Several small group leaders who had a passion for acting requested to be put on a monthly or quarterly schedule to host or be the story teller. We had to fake it at the very beginning, until what we built would become sustainable.
Here’s what all this means. Sometimes people simply cannot see your vision. They’re resistant or reluctant to sign on because they have little imagination for what “could be.” The only way you’re going to bring them on board is to show them. You believe in what needs to happen so much that you know that people will jump on board right away. So you build it with a skeleton crew so that the unconvinced have time to see it before buying in.
This may work with a new event your ministry needs, a creative program or just a new way to pull off what you’ve been doing for years. Sometimes we need to take risks to reap huge rewards. There’s nothing wrong with going all in, just be sure you can really create something irresistible and that you know your audience well enough that they’ll be convinced.
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