Sometimes if you want to see change, you need to change your assumptions about yourself and about your ministry. Take a look at the diagram below from Releasing Your Church’s Potential.
The upper right portion, transformational, is where change works and happens. Two different assumptions are needed for change to take place: assumptions about self and about context. Opening both of those up results in a perspective that is fluid and dynamic. A person in this quadrant’s internal voice is saying, “There is hope. Things can change, and I can change.”
However, in some cases people are starting out in the lower left corner: a position that is rigid and isolated. This position leaves people closed to change and improvement. Their internal voice is saying, “This is the way I am. This is the way the ministry is. And it’s not going to change.” Fortunately, few pastors fall into this totally fortified category.
Where most pastors fall is either is in mindful or utilitarian categories. Those who are mindful tend to be reflective and self-aware. They possess changing assumptions about who they are and how they can grow, but are not willing to change assumptions about their ministry context. They’re saying to themselves, “I can see where change is needed, but I’m not going to do anything about it because my efforts won’t work.”
On the flipside, we have the utilitarian leaders. They are pragmatic. They want to do whatever needs to be done technologically or methodologically in order to get the change they’re looking for, but they themselves are unwilling to change. They are saying to themselves, “Just give me the tools and I’ll make the change happen because I know what needs to be done.” The sweet spot for coaching is when you have both: a vision for how the ministry can be different and a vision for how you can be different– and you’re willing to change both.