Leading in a New Reality

Rogue Waves – all of us have been blindsided by an economic rogue wave – this is a new reality. It won’t get back to "normal." Rogue waves and rough patches provide the opportunity for new leaders to emerge. 4 lessons he’s learned at Willow over the past 8 months:

  1. Philosophical – We decided as a leadership team that we were going to be THE CHURCH no matter what. Those who have been affected need to depend on the church. Those who haven’t need to step up! Be more generous. When leaders make decisions that put the Church at the center and that make the church be the church, God will show up. When the church is the church there is nothing more powerful. They’ve seen record numbers of volunteerism and record numbers of baptisms (over 1000 in the last 3 months). Philosophically they decided to let the church be the church no matter what.
  2. Financial – Making this decision in the midst of a recession is complicated – the math makes no sense. We’re forced to walk more by faith than by sight. When the needs move towards the revenue coming in, it gets nerve racking. Cash Reserves are important – they buy you time when crisis hits. 25% of annual revenue is a good place to start for long term reserves.
    • If you have to reduce staff – be generous and be honest (give the real reasons why) and give lots of notice.
    • One of the things they do at WC is only use 50% of their revenue for staff – this forces them to emphasize volunteers. 10% they give away around the world. 10% they use for what they call “winds of the spirit” (this is a sort of slush fund). 15% ministry budgets for the staff. 15% to facilities/utilities/debt/insurance, etc.
    • During an economic downturn, people are very open to biblical money management. Don’t shy away from it.
    • People will still give generously and sacrificially to a white-hot kingdom vision.
    • Hab 3:2
  3. People/Relational – What are the key seats in your church? Are they filled with the right people? Are you developing backup people for each of the key seats?
  4. Personal – this has been a painful lesson. “the pace at which I’m doing the work of God is destroying the work of God in me.” This is something he wrote in his journal many years ago when he almost burned out of ministry altogether. We have to implement adequate replenishment strategies for this new reality.
    • Need to make sure that we’re still listening to God. His Word still needs to be primary. We can’t sacrifice the Word of God because the crisis demands immediate attention. The best thing we bring to the table every day is a gospel perspective.

Closing Question – what do your colleagues and followers see when they look at you these days? Do they see someone who is exhausted and fearful? Or someone who is joyful and excited – expectant of God to do great things?

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