How Churches Can Maintain Agility in a Rapidly Changing World

“Your church’s ability to remain agile is one of the most important tasks you may face in this age.”

One of the things I see most pastors struggling with today is how to keep their churches agile in the midst of a rapidly changing culture. In this iPhone era, the way people live, communicate and spend their time is constantly in flux. A church’s ability to “sync up” with this pace is paramount to creating the most effective ministries possible.

So how do you do it? How can churches fight calcification and maintain agility in order to reach as many people as possible in today’s world? I believe there are two great ways church leaders can do this.

1. Hire leaders, not specialists.

My life’s work is staffing the church, and the best way I’ve seen churches combat calcification is hiring for leadership gifting and cultural alignment over specialization and résumé.

As the world changes, the needs of your church and team will change. By opting to hire leaders over specialists, you’re creating a standard in your church’s outreach that says, “Whatever the need is, we’ll try to meet it.” By hiring a specialist, you check one box for one specific ministry or outreach program. By hiring a leader, you check several boxes. Look for cultural alignment, unity in vision and capable leadership as you fill out your team, and you’ll be in a great position to keep your church agile.

2. Inject a little chaos.

Injecting a small level of chaos every now and then is another way to boost agility. Ed Young, pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas, has been known to ask everyone on his team to temporarily switch roles. The youth pastor may take over administrative duties, the administrative guy may handle small groups, etc. It creates an environment with a little bit of chaos, and as a result, his team members get out of their comfort zones and push their boundaries. It’s led to a lot of growth and flexibility within his team.

Another example of this is something we’ve experienced on my team at Vanderbloemen. Every now and then, a church will call us and need some work from us urgently. And we have to work really fast, like doing something in a week that usually takes a few months. It’s not what we generally do, but it’s good for us from time to time. It’s made our team more flexible to deal with any curve balls that are thrown our way.

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Injecting a little chaos into your team also cultivates a sense of unity. When we get those quick turnaround projects in our office, it’s an all-hands-on-deck atmosphere, and there’s a huge sense of satisfaction and togetherness when we succeed. When everyone on staff has to change roles, they’re all in it together. It’s not “my thing” and “your thing,” it’s the church’s thing. Learning, respect and versatility become front and center.

Your church’s ability to remain agile in the face of a rapidly changing world is one of the most important tasks you may face in this age. By hiring leaders over specialists and injecting the right amount of chaos into your team every now and then, you’ll be in a great position to maintain agility and make a big kingdom impact.

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William Vanderbloemen is the president and CEO of The Vanderbloemen Search Group.