Communicate Change Using the Power of Momentum

It is hard to overstate the importance of communication when unveiling a new initiative or introducing change. The communication of a change is as critical as the strategic thinking behind the change. The communication of a new initiative is often as important as the initiative itself. A leadership team may have an incredible strategy, but if the communication is poor, the strategy will not be embraced. Leaders who communicate well have prepared the new initiative for momentum, while those who communicate poorly doom it to failure or a slow start.

When communicating major change or a new initiative, it is wise to communicate in waves to multiple groups of people. While the nomenclature of the different levels of leadership varies from context to context, there are typically layers of leadership in every context.

  • Start with a small group of decision makers, a core of strategic leaders who have a view of and burden for the entire organization/ministry.
  • Then communicate to the next level of leaders, often leaders of leaders, and set the pace for the entire organization/ministry.
  • Then communicate again to those leaders who serve/work to make the organization/ministry what she is.
  • Finally, communicate to the whole organization/ministry.

The communication plan can be illustrated like this:

Communicating Change

While the steps can be reduced or expanded, depending on the size of the organization or ministry, communicating in waves produces two big benefits:

 1. The message is refined.

By communicating the same message to different groups of people, the communicators are able to refine the message and the delivery of the message. They learn the questions, the struggles, and the points of excitement. They are able to listen to feedback, adjust the message, and communicate again. By the time the communication is delivered to the entire organization, those who communicate the direction have tested the language and the clarity with multiple groups of people.

 2. Ownership is expanded.

Initiatives and change efforts often fail because too few people own them. When communication occurs in waves, people are invited to “own the direction.” Leaders often bemoan low amounts “vision buy-in” among the people they lead. If the direction is sound, a lack of “buy-in” is either a credibility or a communication problem. To secure “buy-in” across multiple groups of people, leaders are wise to communicate in waves, to listen, and to ask questions. To hit the bullseye on buy-in, you will need to communicate multiple times to multiple groups. If the communication is strategic, by the time the whole organization hears of the direction, ownership has been expanded.

> Read more from Eric.


 Would you like to know how to use the power of momentum when communicating change? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger is the Senior Pastor of Mariners Church in Irvine, California. Before moving to Southern California, Eric served as senior vice-president for LifeWay Christian. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. Eric has authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, taking his daughters to the beach, and playing basketball.

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comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Momentum Swing: 5 Steps to Take

Momentum is a leader’s best friend.

If you’ve led in a local church for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced seasons of high momentum and seasons when momentum has faded.

Good leaders possess the ability to navigate both in seasons of strong momentum and low momentum; each have their unique challenges.

In the previous post, I addressed “5 Ways Leaders Grasp Momentum.” It will provide helpful and needed context for this post.

Let’s continue the topic with a focus on regaining momentum.

5 Steps to help regain momentum:

1. Take responsibility for the lack of momentum.

If you are the pastor, on staff, or a board member, own the reality of your church’s situation. Tell the truth. If you are in a decline, you are in a decline. Everyone knows it, so just say it.

Don’t panic, focus on solutions.

The people will appreciate your honesty and courage. If you are plateaued, the same idea holds true.

Don’t get stuck on the things you can’t control, take action on what you can do.

2. Find the mo in you first.

Walt Emerson said:

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

It’s what’s inside you, what you believe, the size of your faith, and the hope in you that matters. Not the mistakes in the past or the mountains in front of you.

Only the dreams within you matter. If you lose hope, you can’t inspire a congregation. If you don’t believe, the people can’t believe.

Your faith that God is with you matters. Sometimes God asks us to wait upon His timing.

Cultivate that hope and faith within you.

If you are discouraged, find a strong leader who is a friend and get some time to talk. Gain wisdom, experience, and fresh perspective. Don’t give up.

3. Re-establish a clear vision and written strategy.

Listen for God’s voice on His direction for your church.

You may need a new vision. This could be the right time for a new start. Or your vision may be solid, and your need is to find fresh and new ways to communicate it.

Don’t rush the process, take the time you need. It may take a few weeks or a couple of months, maybe a little longer, that’s OK.

Talk and pray with your key leaders. Get buy-in with your staff.

Develop your strategy. Don’t over complicate the process. Your strategy is a simple and clear written plan.

Place action over analysis.

4. Make the courageous changes that are needed.

I wish I could tell you that re-gaining momentum is easy, but it requires that we step out of our comfort zone and embrace change.

The change may involve more boldness in your weekend communication, a difficult staffing move, a new approach to ministry, or a major overhaul in the style and execution of your worship service. There are so many possibilities.

Keep in mind, if you make a change and no one gets upset, you just changed something that doesn’t matter.

5. Aim for the small wins first.

Let me restate something from the previous post. Momentum is fueled by vision and activated by faith.

This is clear evidence of the partnership we all have with God for spiritual momentum in our churches.

Vision is the source and fuel of momentum, and faith activates God’s hand toward momentum.

While you exercise faith and wait upon God’s timing, keep steady at your vision and strategy.

Part of this process is the art of aiming for the small wins. Go for the “little mo” while waiting for the “big mo.” This is not busyness or lack of focus; it’s more like kindling upon the fire.

There are many ideas you can implement, from short-term community compassion and outreach projects, to a 30-day fund-raiser for a special purchase that would add wind to the sails of your congregation.

There is no guarantee for momentum, but there is the promise that God is with you, and it’s His church. He cares, and He wants it to flourish.


Talk with an Auxano Navigator about regaining momentum in your church.


> Read more from Dan.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Momentum Swing: 7 Questions to Ask

Chances are you would like what every leader would like—momentum.

All of us hit both personal and organizational plateaus. As much as we think momentum should be a permanent state, it never is. No one lives in a state of momentum all the time.

So if you hit a plateau or fall in a rut, how do you get out of it—both personally and organizationally?

How do you find momentum when you don’t have it?

Sometimes the answers on how to get momentum can prove elusive until you’ve discovered the right questions.

Here are 7 questions I’ve collected over the years that I ask myself on a semi-regular basis to push through to the next level and find momentum.

While I can’t guarantee they will help you, I promise they have helped me get unstuck over and over again.

1. Are You Spending Most Of Your Time In Your Sweet Spot?

You may be good at many things, but you’re actually only great at a few things.

And you’re only truly passionate about a few things.

This is true for individuals and organizations.

Jim Collins asked the question this way: What can you be best in the world at?

I know that’s an audacious question, but the more you can align your gifting and passion with how you spend your time, the more effective you will be.

Sure, in start-up mode, you need to do a little of everything, but over time, the more you spend doing what you’re best at, the more you will love what you do and the greater value you’ll bring to your team and cause.

Often churches and leaders who plateau get stuck because they’re not operating in their area of peak giftedness or effectiveness.

2. In Your Weekly Routine, What Are You Having To Manufacture Energy To Do? Why Are You Doing It?

You don’t approach everything you do with the same enthusiasm.

Neither does your organization.

Sometimes you have to manufacture energy to do things, personally and organizationally. That’s okay every once in a while, but if you’re consistently having to manufacture energy, it can be a sign it’s either time to stop doing what you’re doing or hand it off to someone else.

Maybe a program that was once effective has stopped being effective. No matter how much you promote it, you know it’s accomplishing nothing.

As the famed marketing genius, David Ogilvy, once said, great marketing just makes a bad product fail faster.

As hard as it is to admit, maybe you’ve plateaued because you simply have a bad product. So either make it great or kill it.

On a personal level, maybe you’re spending a lot of your time doing something you’re not great at. Change that.

3. Who Are You Spending Time With That You Don’t Need To Be Spending Time With? 

This is a huge question. Don’t overlook it.

It’s tempting to think you have to spend your time with whoever asks to meet with you. And if you do that, you’ll always lead a small organization. That kind of time management doesn’t scale. As I shared here, that’s almost always a mistake.

Second, you’ll ignore your best leaders (because they’re low maintenance) and spend all your time trying to prop up your weakest leaders or with people who simply always have problems (you know who I’m talking about).

The people you spend the most time with don’t have to be the smartest people or the richest people by any stretch (that can be sinful), but you should spend most of your time with the key people you’ve trusted most deeply to carry the mission forward.

Chances are they won’t ask for more of your time because they manage and lead themselves well. But they should get it anyway.

Great leaders spend most of their time with the leaders who generate most of their results.

Do that, and you’ll almost always either find momentum or discover why you don’t have it.

4. Who Are You Not Listening To That You Should Listen To?

Leadership is isolating. You tend to hear from the same people again and again, and it generates a confirmation bias: the people around you say the same thing and it confirms the theory you have about why you’re stuck.

One of the best things you can do when you’ve hit a plateau is to get out of your office and even break from your usual circle to do some selective listening.

Create a focus group and ask them what they’re seeing or feeling.

Design a survey to solicit feedback. If I find myself in a preaching rut (it happens), I’ll often convene a focus group or survey the congregation on a topic I’m going to address. I learn so much about how people actually think through and talk about an issue that it reframes how I’m going to preach a subject. (Here’s an example of a current survey I’m running. And yes, you can take it.)

Bottom line? No matter how you do it, get out of your normal circle and listen.

5. How Can I Put More Fuel In The Areas That Are Seeing The Most Traction? 

Just like you need to spend most of your time with your best leaders, you and your organization should spend most of your time focusing your efforts on what’s producing the majority of your results.

If you can apply the Pareto Principle to all areas of your organization, you’ll go further.

For example, let’s say your kids’ ministry is seeing huge growth right now. Do you give resources to other areas that are weaker, or do you give more money and resources to kids ministry to further their growth?

I would vote for giving more money and resources to kids ministry. And then jump to question 6, below.

6. What Areas Of Your Ministry Are Seeing The Least Traction? 

Kill what’s not working. As my friend Reggie Joiner says, “It doesn’t take a leader to kill what’s dead. It does take a leader to kill what’s living.”

You need to prune and cut your organization as much as possible to fuel momentum. In the same way that a pruned apple tree grows more apples, a pruned ministry bears more fruit.

7. If You Were An Outside Consultant, What Would You Tell You And Your Team To Do?

I love this question.

It might seem a little strange, but it will give you distance.

If you were an outsider, what would you tell yourself to do? Most of the time you already know the answer to this… you’re just afraid to say it.

So say it.

And then once you figure that out, just go do it. Often answering that question can lead to a breakthrough.


Want to know more about regaining momentum? Connect with an Auxano Navigator.


> Read more from Carey.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is lead pastor of Connexus Community Church and author of the best selling books, Leading Change Without Losing It and Parenting Beyond Your Capacity. Carey speaks to North American and global church leaders about change, leadership, and parenting.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Momentum Swing: 5 Things to Know

Next to God’s favor, there’s nothing a leader desires more than momentum.

Momentum is a force that is greater than the sum of all your leadership energy, effort and resources combined.

Momentum is not a mystery, it contains elements such as vision and competence, but it cannot be manufactured upon demand.

Momentum is the spiritual X-Factor that propels your church forward at a rate that is difficult to explain. You work hard, but God’s hand is evident in the momentum of any real substance.

The more we understand momentum, the better we can lead toward it.

5 thoughts to strengthen your leadership grasp of momentum:

1) Momentum is fueled by vision and activated by faith.

This is clear evidence of the partnership we all have with God for spiritual momentum in our churches.

Vision is the source and fuel of momentum, and faith activates God’s hand toward momentum.

Without a clear and compelling vision, there is no direction to follow. Without faith, there is no invitation for God to provide a power larger than human leadership can muster.

It takes both large vision and great faith to see momentum catch traction.

Momentum is not magic; it’s available to all leaders and their churches.

2) Momentum is sustained by competence.

When vision and faith are part of your culture, the stage is set for momentum. God is not obligated, but He is now invited. Leadership competence is then required to build and sustain momentum for as long as God’s hand is upon it.

This leadership competence comes in the form of strategy. The strategy helps sustain the momentum that vision and faith support.

Don’t over-complicate the idea of strategy. Strategy is your simple and clear written plan. That’s it. Do you have a plan? Is it clear? Are you working it? Are you adapting as required?

Stay focused on:

  • Vision
  • Faith
  • Competence
  • Strategy

3) Momentum, or the lack of it, might skew your perspective.

When you don’t have momentum, and you’re struggling to grow, it’s never as bleak as it appears.

When there is no momentum, that doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It does not mean God has abandoned you. Sometimes (to borrow a phrase I love), you are waiting for God’s next “fresh wind and fresh fire.”

Keep praying, working hard, and making the best leadership decisions that you can.

When you’re experiencing great momentum resulting in rapid growth, it’s never as good as it appears.

Momentum covers a multitude of flaws and problems!

When things are going great, and the “big mo” is with you, it’s tempting to think that you made it happen and “this is the way it always works.” It’s easy to forget that without God’s power the momentum is over, or you begin to think that you now have all the answers.

Remember where you came from and how you got momentum. Keep at it. Momentum doesn’t remove the hard work, it multiples it.

Thank God daily, because you didn’t do it all yourself, and keep working hard.

4) Momentum can take an unexpected twist toward entitlement.

Momentum and entitlement seem like unlikely partners. Here’s how it happens.

When your church is experiencing tough times, everyone is in the same boat. You are trying to survive. There is no surplus. There are no perks to compete for. There is no fame or notoriety. It’s all-hands-on-deck to keep the ship afloat and moving forward. Everyone hunkers down and works hard for solutions.

When a church finds success, it can take a very different turn. Favor brings rewards, and soon many want a piece of the proverbial pie. It might be desired recognition – a new title, a place on the org chart, more staff, a new building with nice offices. It doesn’t really matter what it is; the point is that it can cause leaders to lose focus on what got the momentum going.

Leaders can become distracted by potential rewards. This always kills momentum. (There is nothing wrong with rewards, it’s when those rewards become the focus.)

Gratitude and hard work are the only appropriate responses to momentum.

5) Momentum never lasts forever – keep your foot on the pedal.

The natural response to things going your way is to let off the gas and coast a little.

When you experience momentum, it’s not the time to coast. It’s time to push the pedal to the floor. Take full advantage of the favor God is granting. God delivers the favor, but you fan the flame!

When momentum fades, don’t panic. Focus on the small wins.

Momentum comes in different seasons and different ways. Don’t try to copy the momentum you once had. Let God grant His favor how He chooses.

Keep leading with fervor for the vision and faith that God is with you!


Learn more about developing – and maintaining – momentum at your church. Connect with an Auxano Navigator today.


> Read more from Dan.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dan Reiland

Dan Reiland

Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together. Dan is best known as a leader with a pastor's heart, but is often described as one of the nations most innovative church thinkers. His passion is developing leaders for the local church so that the Great Commission is advanced.

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COMMENTS

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Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

5 Keys for Building Ministry Momentum

There are seasons in your ministry when you can feel momentum happening … it seems like things are just flowing a little easier and the energy of the church is pushing the ministry forward. I’ve lead in ministries where the momentum is tangible … every step does seem to be easier than the one before.

However, I’ve also lead in contexts where we don’t have momentum … everything seems to be an uphill push. In a church without momentum every step is more difficult than the one before. Gaining and keeping momentum is a difficult process for church leaders.

Here are a few dynamics that I’ve observed about momentum through my years of ministry leadership.

  • 150 Weekends // We all want things to turn around quickly at our churches … but in my experience sustained momentum takes about 3 years to generate. It doesn’t happen in a month or a season or even a year. Distracted leaders have a hard time generating momentum in their churches because they are always pursuing the next shiny object. Your church is getting the results from the efforts it has been focusing on for the last few years. Does your leadership team have the perseverance to focus over an extended period of time?
  • Focus. Focus. Focus. // By definition you can’t gain momentum in wide variety of areas. You need to be focus your time, effort and energy on just a few things. Looking to improve the musical worship portion of your weekend experiences? You’ll need to think and act about that every week and almost ignore other areas. Have you narrowed the focus of your church leadership enough so it’s understood what you are trying to push forward? 
  • You’ll Need to Be Unpopular // To gain momentum unlike any other church you know … you’ll need to do stuff that no-one else is doing. You’ll need to make decisions and calls that might seem counter intuitive because innovation is the road less traveled. Most churches don’t have momentum … so you’ll need to do things that most churches aren’t doing. People will question what you are doing … why you aren’t like every other church around you. What are you thinking about trying that seems a bit crazy that might just help push forward your church?
  • Obsess About the Details // Small wins matters. Someone needs to keep their eye on what happens regularly in the details of your church. Sustained momentum is created by 1,000,000 small things all pushing the same direction … each of those little things pushes towards the end goal of moving the church forward. Have you inspired, informed and empowered your team to get the details right at your church?
  • Iterate towards Innovation // Chances are that the areas that you are trying to gain momentum in that other churches have already spend a bunch of time figuring out. Rather than dreaming up what you think you should learn from other churches who have already solved the issue. Talk with them and understand the mistakes they’ve made along the road. Don’t just copy and paste from their church to yours … but adopt their practices and modify them to fit your culture. Which churches should you spend time learning from this year?

Read more from Rich here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rich Birch

Rich Birch

Thanks so much for dropping by unseminary … I hope that your able to find some resources that help you lead your church better in the coming days! I’ve been involved in church leadership for over 15 years. Early on I had the privilege of leading in one of the very first multisite churches in North Amerca. I led the charge in helping The Meeting House in Toronto to become the leading multi-site church in Canada with over 4,000 people in 6 locations. (Today they are 13 locations with somewhere over 5,000 people attending.) In addition, I served on the leadership team of Connexus Community Church in Ontario, a North Point Community Church Strategic Partner. I currently serves as Operations Pastor at Liquid Church in the Manhattan facing suburbs of New Jersey. I have a dual vocational background that uniquely positions me for serving churches to multiply impact. While in the marketplace, I founded a dot-com with two partners in the late 90’s that worked to increase value for media firms and internet service providers. I’m married to Christine and we live in Scotch Plains, NJ with their two children and one dog.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.