In a few weeks I will be moving on to New Jersey. I will be starting out as the new pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. Good Shepherd has seen a period of decline and stagnation over the past few years. That was why Stuck in a Funk written by Tony Morgan caught my attention.
I appreciated the way Tony challenges you to take a good hard look at your situation and to ask the hard questions. I believe too many of us bury our heads in sand and ignore reality. The church is in decline and that decline can only go on so long. It is easy to pass the blame for the decline, but passing the blame is not going to change anything. It is time we take ownership.
The book is an easy read. The chapters are short and more like blog posts. You could take each chapter as an independent study of its own.
A word of warning is that this book alone is not going to get your church unstuck. Obviously, God is needed for that, but this book serves as starting point. It will help you to identify some of the sticking points you might have. It is a tool that can be used to engage your leadership in discussion and to challenge outdated methods and strategies.
Once the sticking points are identified is when the real work begins that will require additional resources. There were many chapters in this book where I was left wanting for more. But I don’t believe that the intention of this book was to give you all the answers. Rather it was to help you ask the right questions.
Below are 7 take-a-ways I noted from the book:
A clear vision that is properly communicated will also repel people … clarifying your vision will help some people determine they don’t want to be a part of your cause.
Leaders choose between innovation and control. You can’t have both.
When we make ministry decisions to keep people happy we end up with churches full of happy Christians, but churches that have stopped growing.
You need metrics and heart change stories together. Metrics alone can mask an unhealthy organization where there is no stories of life change. Stories of life change can also mask an unhealthy organization that the numbers don’t support.
Your message has the potential to shift thinking. Your systems have the potential to shift behaviors.
It’s possible to do the work of God without doing the work God has called you to do.
It’s easier to say “yes” to everything. The problem is that without filtering communications there is no way show what is most important and that leads to confusion for those who are trying to figure out their next step. Make the next step clear without offering too many options.