Organic Transformation in Ministry

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Newsletter

Under The Elmtree
Under The Elmtree
In This Issue:
*  Leading Organic Transformation
*  Insights Into The Cultural Setting of Ministry
*  Think About It!
*  Decision Making Profile
 Partnership – Founders & IUS
*  Leadership Resources – The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler
*  Leadership Insights from the “Fly on The Wall” – Timing for Transformation
*  eStore on The Web
*  In the Next Issue – Why Enlist a Consultant?
Leading Organic Transformation
If we build it they will come.

We just need some new “Programs”.

Let’s take out the pews and put chairs in the sanctuary.

I think we need some new blood. We need to get some young guys on our leadership team.

We need some ‘contemporary music’.

Sound familiar? These are all comments that I have heard regarding the revitalization of a local church. Each statement exhibits a serious distortion and misunderstanding of the nature of the church and true biblical transformation.

Organizational Transformation. The initiatives listed above facilitate organizational transformation. They are one dimensional. They may change procedures but in and of themselves they do not produce transformation. People are generally willing to embrace such change because it requires little or no personal sacrifice or accountability. There is no threat to their comfort level. They can continue ‘as is’ and point to these ‘changes’ as ‘evidence’ that they are open to transformation. Except, these initiatives do not lead to personal or corporate transformation. They do not bring people face to face with the true and living God Who is interested in holiness much more than happiness among His people.

Organic Transformation. This involves changing the DNA of a local church. It is sometimes likened to “riding the bull”. The picture tells the story. There are risk galore, challenges that stretch leaders to the breaking point. People love their comfort zones. Transformation inherently requires change, leaving the comfort zone and stepping out into unknown territory. The old ‘flat earth’ proponents used to say of this challenge – ‘there be dragons out there’. Yes, and you will meet them when you lead this type of transformation.

There are essentials in this process. My readers will do well to embrace these items as you “ride the bull!”
1.  Scripture. The church is the Bride of Christ. Be wise and honor His directives. They are clear.
2.  Time.  There are no quick fixes. Effective transformation requires 3-5 years in most cases.
3.  Competent Leadership.Apply accurate analysis and research. Slower is faster. Build Trust!
4.  Purpose. Establish Biblical Operative Purpose that the body embraces & practices consistently.
5.  Decision Making. Decisions must be collaborative and Leadership must speak with on voice.
The current trend is church planting. That is essential and I celebrate that with much joy. However, there are thousands of existing ministry settings that urgently need Reformation & Renewal. The average Pastor is capable of leading this process. He needs the Holy Spirit’s enabling grace, humility, courage and abundant perseverance. He must develop a Leadership Team that takes the Journey with him and no turning back. He must know that God is and will provide and use him in this vital process.
The SBC has 55 Billion in property, buildings and parking lots in the USA. The utilization of this space is often less than 10% of the 168 hours in a given week, We must exercise better stewardship of these resources. Reformation and Revitalization includes addressing this issue. The facilities at the church where I just finished 15 years of Pastoral Leadership has a utilization factor of 72-75 hours per week. 112 hours is about the maximum utilization. How does the church you serve measure up on this factor?
Finally, I have featured Dr. Al Mohler’s new book The Conviction To Lead in recent editions of this news letter. The 25 factors he cites are spot on for leading Organic Transformation. Get a copy, pray earnestly and give us a call (800 472 3764). We will walk with you down this Dragon Filled Bull Riding road. God will use YOU to do this Pastor as you are unconditionally surrendered to Him!
Insights Into The Cultural Setting of Ministry 
Evangelicals Collapsing Cultural Influence
David French, writing in National Review, March 14, 2012 offers some grist for our mill. I have provided an excerpt from this article to whet your whistle. The link takes you to the entire article. Comments welcome.

On a day when many evangelicals are perhaps flexing their political muscles in the aftermath of their decisive votes in Alabama and Mississippi, it’s worth pondering whether evangelicals’ actual cultural (rather than political) influence is waxing or waning. While reading Charles Murray’s new book, I came across insightful and disturbing discussions by Yuval Levin and Ross Douthat. Surveying the devastating decline in  marriage and other critical social markers in the working class, Levin notes the failure of social conservatism outside the political sphere:

In our time, American social conservatism has much to be proud of as a movement for justice: Social conservatives devote themselves to the pro-life cause, to human rights, and to the plight of the poor abroad. But American social conservatism has almost entirely lost interest in the cause of order—in standing up for clean living, for self-discipline and restraint, for resisting temptation and meeting basic responsibilities. The institutions of American Christianity—some of which would actually stand a chance of being taken seriously by the emerging lower class—are falling down on the job, as their attention is directed to more exciting causes, in no small part because the welfare state has overtaken some of their key social functions.

Douthat agrees and adds an important point:

As it happens, this is one of the themes of my forthcoming book — the extent to which the story of religion in America over the last two generations is a story, not of outright secularization, but of institutional decline. Contemporary Americans are as religiously-minded as ever, but the rise of church-switching and do-it-yourself faith and the steady weakening of the traditional churches and communions has left the country without religious institutions capable of playing the kind of social role that Levin describes above.
Think About It!

*  Decision Making Profile

The church has adopted a variety of dysfunctional decision making profiles. The decisions often do not serve the purpose of the church (Make Disciples). The existence of control groups and personal agendas results in perpetual dysfunction and schism in each local assembly.

I encourage my readers to request a copy of this one page article. This profile guides you through a Decision Making Process that is effective and honors the text of Scripture. Decisions in the church must honor the Word of God – always! Call me to review the application of this in the ministry in which you serve. 1 800 472 3764

 Partnership – Founders & IUS
IgniteUS is pleased to announce a ministry partnership with Founders Ministries. Go to our Home Page ( and click on the “Partners” page for a brief description of this shared endeavor to see God bring Reformation & Renewal to the church in America. Founder’s Home Page is You will find helpful resources at both sites!
 Leadership Resources – The Conviction to Lead, Al Mohler
Become an effective leader by learning how to change minds! Using his own experience and examples from history, Dr. Mohler reveals 25 key characteristics that will help you transfer your convictions to others and affect their actions. You’ll learn how to become an example worth following, communicate ideas and beliefs, handle disappointments, prioritize, and more. 260 pages.
Leadership Insights from the”Fly on the Wall“- Timing For Transformation?

“Timing For Transformation” – I frequently (virtually every week) have a Pastor tell me about  the dysfunctional nature of the church in which he serves. My response is “Who did God put there to correct that dysfunction?” This usually produces prolonged silence. The answer is obvious. There is little or no beneficial result in denying reality.

Establish a season of intercessory prayer for yourself and the process. Identify and enlist a Team of men who will not cave in to resistance and the appeal for maintaining status quo. Set some realistic time parameters. Trust God to enable and produce health and effectiveness where you serve. Enjoy the ride!

Send your thoughts to THANKS!

*  eStore on The Web – I am working with our Web Master to create an eStore on our IgniteUS Web Site ( . Over the years God has enabled IUS to develop some very beneficial resources. We will make these available with instruction and the option to get coaching for applying them in ministry. More to come on this topic.

Read my BLOG – – www.thetextsays.blogspot.comAlso on the Home Page – A Monday Morning BLOG. (Currently – ) New post every Monday morning. Comments welcome!
Home Page – Click on this link to go to our Home Page:  Click on the text line under the Feature Video that says “See what others are saying” for some recent testimonials. 
IUS Update This Update is sent to you on the 1st and 15th of each month. Please send comments or questions to us at Or, you may go to our BLOG on the home page of our Web Site. THANKS!

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