Jim Tomberlin: ‘Upgrade Your Old and Tired Operating System’

Jim Tomberlin, founder and CEO of MultiSite Solutions, answers the question, “How can churches remain agile in the midst of an ever-changing culture?”

Most churches we work with have mission-vision clarity and have aligned their ministries, programs, staff and budget to that end. Their questions and tensions usually relate to growth and the management of people, systems and strategy across multiple locations. The struggling churches we work with typically lack mission-vision clarity and are culturally irrelevant in their local church philosophy and practice. They are struggling to survive and be relevant in a culture that is rapidly becoming post-Christian and church-hostile. Unfortunately, these church leaders are asking how to survive without changing as the cultural value of church attendance fades even among churchgoers.

Agile churches and those who lead them need to be like the men of Issachar, “who understood the times and knew what to do” (1 Chron. 12:32). They learn to adapt their methods to the ever-changing cultural shifts without compromising their message. Unfortunately, most churches today are functioning on old and tired operating systems. Most are program, facility or personality-driven instead of mission-driven. What is lacking is a clear mission (why do we exist?) and compelling vision (what are we trying to accomplish?). My advice to lead pastors is to:

  • Define reality—Where are we now? Who do we want to be?
  • Create a vision for the future—Where do we want to go?
  • Design the pathway forward—How do we get there?
  • Lead the way—Follow me as I follow Christ!

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