“O Jesus, let us spread Your fragrance everywhere we go. Let us preach You without preaching, not by words but by our example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to You. Amen” — Prayer of Cardinal John Henry Newman
It has been said that much of what is most powerful in our life, whether for good or for bad, is caught, similar to osmosis, in routine life-on-life interactions with family, friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. I have seen this truth played out in our churches. For example, a core value or a cultural or organizational change is more frequently caught than taught. And, in my experience, this most often occurs when the church staff becomes the “catching force.”
Church Staff As A Catching Force
The best change program in a church is for the pastor and staff to serve as models of the desired change. Then the catching force begins to operate and we see it imitated in the body.
As a church staff begin to model a desired change others are caught up. As church staff enter into the change others just follow naturally. A church staff with this kind of influence becomes a catching force and staff don’t have to do much more than be who they are to affect culture change.
Rather than convince people exclusively through persistent promotion and persuasive words, the congregation is influenced and subsequently changed through the compelling lives of church staff. Both demonstration and proclamation are equally necessary for personal as well as organizational transformation. A compelling proclamation backed up a by a consistent demonstration by the staff is the most effective strategy for leading change in the local church.
Catching Force Examples
Before initiating a desired cultural, organizational, or programmatic change, staff must first practice the change in their daily lives and relationships. And, it usually takes intentional training, time, and accountability to become immersed in a different way of thinking and acting.
Here are several practical examples of how a staff can become a “catching force” for cultural change.
- Before launching a small group discipleship emphasis train the staff in how to lead a group and require they start a group.
- Before teaching the tithe make certain that staff understand biblical stewardship and are practicing the tithe.
- Before starting a spiritual gifts emphasis study run the staff through a spiritual gifts inventory and training.
- Before beginning a series on spiritual disciplines teach and practice the disciplines with the staff.
- Before encouraging church members to park off site and ride a shuttle ask the staff to lead out by parking off site.
- Before a read the Bible through in a year emphasis ask the staff to start a personal daily Bible Reading Plan.
- Before challenging the congregation to memorize scripture start a scripture memorization accountability with the staff.
- Before launching a Membership Process run the church staff through the process first.
- Before initiating a mentoring movement ask the staff to begin mentoring someone.
- Before introducing a faith sharing approach train the staff in the new approach and have them share stories of how they have shared it.
- Before launching an inviter emphasis ask the staff to identify and share who they plan to invite.
- To build engagement in local missions make certain all of the staff are involved in some form of local missions.
- Before introducing a book to the congregation have the staff read and discuss the book.
Become The Change Your Church Needs
The principle is simple. Before rethinking the church vision, strategy, or programs, the required change starts with the leaders. At first nothing changes but the staff. But, when a church staff discovers and begins living the change they want for the church, a fire starts that spreads quickly and with remarkable power.
Posted on December 5, 2017