This is the 2nd post I have written in response to Dr. Henry Cloud's book, Necessary Endings. You can read the first post HERE. I recommend you read it first.
Let's talk about a familiar subject that many of us love to hate: CHANGE. In his book, Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud quotes Julie Shimer, CEO of Welch Allyn (the world's front-running medical supply manufacturer). As she described the events and processes that led to this 100-year old innovator reaching the conclusion that, while they were still the leaders in their field, and their customers were happy, and they were incredibly comfortable with their position and their products, they could suddenly see a time in the future when WHAT they were doing would be obsolete. They (or actually, she) began to realize that "the way we were doing it could not bring about the future reality that we wanted. We had to change!" And whether we like it or not - no matter how long we fight to prolong the inevitable - it's the same for every single one of us in leadership: CHANGE...OR DIE!
I've seen more church workers and ministry leaders than I can count reach a point of indescribable loss - a point where they have absolutely no idea how they got where they are and (more importantly) no idea where to GO from there. Let's face it: If you don't know where you ARE, it's pretty tough to figure out where you're going. Going further with it, another key principle in us moving, growing, and changing is (as Shimer puts it) being able to "picture an ideal future". What does that look like? If the world is changing, this doesn't mean that people will - as a result - be changing with it. The world is changing BECAUSE people are changing! And if the mission of the Church is reaching those "changing" people with the Gospel, we have to determine what that's going to look like 10 years from now. Are we moving in that direction? Or are we ignorantly riding our Sit 'n' Spin, thinking we're going somewhere, while we remain immobile?
Do you know anyone who's stuck? Is it you?
Dr. Cloud suggests that there's a way out of this hole. Better yet, a way to determine that you won't wind up in this ditch in the first place. He puts it this way: "The first step that will motivate you to do what is necessary is to see that what you are doing has no hope of getting what you want." He goes on and adds that "...it does not take courage to stop doing what you know is not going to work." Let that soak in for a moment. If we are seeking, pursuing, and seeing the ideal - and we are courageous enough to see things realistically, for what they really are - we will have a much better opportunity to not only determine our desired destination, but just as crucial, the path and steps that will get us there. And hidden in that last statement is the key: We have to see things as they are, not as we want them to be. Not future things, but what's right NOW - what's staring us straight in the face. Jack Welch - arguably the greatest CEO of the 20th Century - had a first rule of business: "Face reality". This drives a stake straight into the heart of what I mentioned a moment ago: You have to know where you are to know where you're going. Not where you want to think you are - what your desired Utopian reality is - but the actual state of things in your life, your business, your marriage, or your church.
Can you see things clearly? If not, what's clouding your vision?
I highly recommend Dr. Cloud's book to anyone in a position of leading - a family, a business, a church or ministry, or any situation of leadership.