There is a conventional wisdom in the established church today that leaders need to be patient. For newly elected church leaders that means take your time, learn what has historically been happening. Educate yourself in the way things have been done. This way you both honor the past and earn the needed credits to institute necessary change. For clergy it is not much different. Most clergy take similar advice. "Go slow" we are told. Get to know the people. Let the people know that you love them and only then do we have the credits to bring about change. Honor venerable members and leaders as well as their distinctive local church culture and then after one year's time, take baby steps in making changes. This methodology does not work. Do not hear what I am not saying. I think building relationships and loving the people in your congregation is critical but it is not the end all. What if the local church culture is not healthy? What if the existing culture is not aligned with our purpose make new disciple of Jesus for the transformation of the world? True leaders realize that;
1. In the honeymoon period of that first year, there is generally permission to institute changes which will help us achieve the purpose of our organization. Love the people and challenge long standing practices which serve insiders rather than serving the unchurched we hope to reach.
2. There will develop a tacit assumption that you approve of everything just the way it is if we, as leaders, delay changes that need to be made. Dysfunctional behaviors, identified in that first week, left in place for a whole year, lead people to believe that you support the operation when in reality, you do not. You are simply waiting for the magical year to end before making changes.
3. The church for tomorrow needs bold leaders for the gospel. There is an urgency among us. We must take risks and think outside the box! Building relationships, prayer, Bible study, and honoring the history of our churches are good things but..... these things alone will not sustain and grow the church.
Again, leadership development is critical. I would remind you of what one pastor reported to another "I have been trained to be a teacher, preacher, and counselor but no one ever trained me to be a leader."