Timing is a beast. As a leader, itâ€™s one of the most important things you can master, but itâ€™s also one of the most elusive. Jim Morrison once said, “I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.â€ I can relate to that. But when youâ€™re leading a church thereâ€™s so much at stake, and recovering from some mistakes is long and painful. So hereâ€™s a look at 5 indicators that it may be time to step out and start that change youâ€™ve been thinking about:
1. You feel a genuine nudge from God.
I know, I know – you can say this about anything. And many leaders have abused this one. â€œGod told meâ€¦.â€ Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s so important to discern whether God is pushing for this change or just me. In my own experience, the 2 clarifying questions are: (1) What do my mentors think? and (2) Have I slept on it? As a church leader, the last thing you want to do is rush into the wrong change effort at the wrong time.
2. The problem is obvious.
I mentioned this in my last post on this subject, but it deserves repeating. If people donâ€™t sense a need for the change Iâ€™m introducing, it is definitely NOT the right time. It may be the right thing. But if itâ€™s not the right time, itâ€™s not going to be embraced, and it will turn out to be the wrong thing. The issue with misreading your timing on a big change effort is that you canâ€™t easily resurrect the solution. Peopleâ€™s memories are far too good for that. So make sure the problem has been defined and communicated – and that it hurts enough to warrant the change.
3. Your core team is unified.
Some teams are fractured from false starts. Nothing makes a change effort succeed wildly like a sold out team. Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to gage the commitment level of the people youâ€™re leading with before you pull the trigger. In my own life I find that Iâ€™ve been thinking about a particular initiative every day for hours, sometimes for weeks or months on end. And then I expect someone who just heard about it to be as enthusiastic as I am about it. But thatâ€™s not realistic. We need to give our teams the advantage of perk time, and an opportunity to get their questions answered. Iâ€™ve found that their questions make the plan better, and their support brings strength back into our efforts.
4. You have a plan.
As they say, â€œPrior proper planning prevents poor performance.â€ How does your plan look? Has it passed the test of scrutiny by your most trusted leaders? Are you holding it as a guide and not as a god? Remember, plans change but visions stay the same. Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable. Your plan should be a smart but flexible guide that navigates toward your goal. It should answer peopleâ€™s questions ahead of time. And it should invite the maximum possible participation.
5. Your tank is full.
Thereâ€™s nothing like beginning a road trip with an empty tank. Bad idea. Even parents know that kids can see the gas gauge from the back seat. If youâ€™re not prepared, people will know. Thereâ€™s no glory in â€œfaking it ’til you make it.â€ That kind of leadership is manipulative and potentially dangerous. Jesusâ€™ church deserves better. As hard as it is to wait, when you donâ€™t have the resources to pursue an opportunity, itâ€™s not the right time. The 2 gauges to watch are Energy and Cash. Building up some margin in those 2 areas will build confidence on your team, especially with those who are more risk-averse.
Iâ€™m hoping these 5 indicators will save you some pain and give you some strength as you step out to lead in your God-given assignment. Iâ€™d love to know what youâ€™re working on, how itâ€™s going, and what youâ€™re learning – so please take a moment to connect by leaving a comment.