In his new book Who Moved My Pulpit?, Thom S. Rainer explains why leading that change in the church is so critical.
In your ministry you may not be asking, “who moved my pulpit?” just yet, but you must be asking a myriad of questions about change in the church – where it’s coming from, why it’s happening, and how you’re supposed to hang on and follow God through it – even how to get out ahead of it so your church is faithfully meeting its timeless calling and serving the new opportunities of today.
Who Moved My Pulpit? is based on conversations with thousands of pastors and on-the-ground research from more than 50,000 churches. In the book, Rainer shares his eight-stage roadmap to leading change in your church. Not by changing doctrine or by changing biblical foundations, but by changing methodologies and approaches for reaching a rapidly changing culture. This book is meant to equip you as a leader to celebrate and lead change no matter the cost.
This change is urgent and the choice is simple: change or die. Rainer explains more in today’s excerpt…
Several years ago, a physician gave a man in his late 50s a warning. The x-rays showed his lungs to be scarred from years of smoking. The doctor had seen such situations many times. Lung cancer or emphysema would follow. Either path would lead to death, often a cruel and painful death.
But the doctor offered the man hope. He did not have cancer at the moment. He did not have emphysema. The damage to his lungs, the physician explained, could be at least partly reversed if he just stopped smoking. If he did not, his life would likely be cut short. The choice was simple: change or die.
To be certain, the change would be difficult. Anyone who has kicked the smoking habit will tell you that. But the decision itself was basic: change or die.
The man chose to keep smoking. He made no attempt to kick his habit. And he died at the relatively young age of 62. I know this story well because that man was my dad. He did not live long enough to get to know his grandchildren. He had so much to offer, but he chose the path of not changing. And so he died.
In a similar story, a church in our area was in a state of rapid decline and I offered to help lead them toward greater health. But I told them that they could not reverse years of decline without significant changes. They were a totally inwardly focused congregation. When I mentioned just a few of the needed changes, the members balked. They had never done it that way before. They decided they were okay just as they were.
They had a clear choice: change or die. They chose to die. Indeed in this case, death came quicker than anyone would have anticipated. The church ceased to exist in just a matter of months. Death came quickly.
It takes courage to be a change leader in the church. Opposition and resistance often come frequently and fiercely. But too much is at stake to do otherwise. Confront the realities. Communicate the realities. And communicate with a sense of urgency.
The choice is simple: change or die.
Pick up your copy of Who Moved My Pulpit? today to be equipped to celebrate and lead change no matter the cost.