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What Is Your Organizational Need?

Some years ago I was working with a church that had plateaued in terms of growth, health, and frankly, energy and momentum. 


This can be a complex problem and good coaches will look at everything like leadership competencies, communication skills, systems, inter-relational issues, facility constraints, team dynamics, environments, and so on. Having skilled outsiders suggest fresh perspectives from time-to-time is vital; it’s too easy for leaders to become myopic.


But after becoming familiar with the four essential elements for church health and effectiveness that we talk about—Integrity (systems, processes), Passion (energy/commitment toward mission), Servanthood (outward-focus), and Imagination (change capacity)—the leadership team realized that the Passion element had long flamed out. It had been years since they launched anything new or fresh and a very long time since they challenged their people in a big way. This church had settled into predictable routines that had caused a subtle organizational boredom and was in dire need of stretching beyond their comfort zones.


This simple discovery also led to a spirited conversation about the Imagination element…and the fact that they really didn’t have anyone in their leadership circle who was entrepreneurial in ministry opportunities. Their senior pastor felt some “leadership discomfort” at this point—obviously, he knew where the buck stopped and felt responsible. But because they had developed a healthy culture of trust, he was secure in who he was.


Although the conversation would occasionally wander off on rabbit trails, they eventually identified an Imagination barrier in their leadership and the life of the church they all loved: a fear of change. Because they had settled into a comfortable stability, they somehow missed the voice of the Holy Spirit who draws us into the creative tension between invitation and challenge.


In a subsequent meeting, they developed a simple strategy that included a retreat with guided prayer to help them hear from God, along with spending part of their time with a facilitator with an entrepreneurial background to fire up their neurons. Their senior pastor also realized that the cloistered administrative work of the church had sucked out some of his passion for their original outward-focused mission. His team developed a plan to off-load the majority of that work from his schedule and allow for some imaginative “think-time” in his week.


While it might be ideal to have each element spearheaded by a person on the leadership team, there at least has to be a clear pathway and strategy to catalyze a particular element that’s missing. But more important is the need to assess which element your organization currently needs to regain momentum. 


Dave Workman | The Elemental Group


Adapted from “Elemental Leaders: Four Essentials Every Leader Needs...and Every Church Must Have”.


The Elemental Churches Inventory guides your leadership team through a multi-faceted review of strengths and opportunities in four vital elements of your church’s life: Integrity (systems, processes, infrastructure), Passion (commitment to the mission), Servanthood (outward-focus), and Imagination (innovation, openness to change). And because of its unique web-based and curriculum approach, it’s a third of the cost of typical consulting!


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