“ROGUE WAVES” We’ve been broadsided by an “economic rogue wave.”
Jim Collin’s quote in Inc. Magazine, April 2009-08-06 “People like me who grew up in the postwar period are not practiced at the volatilities the turbulence,… ”
We are never going to be “old normal.” “The normal that we all knew and loved has left the building.”
Those with leadership gifts feel curiously energized by the challenge. There’s a bit of a perverse exhilaration. Rough patches force new levels of courage and creativity. Howling winds demand dispassionate decision making. Ruthless prioritization, and brutally difficult resource allocations. A godly anointed leader hears whispers, “this is why I gave you this gift.”
LESSON ONE: We were going to challenge the church to be the church to each other and our community no matter what. We’re going to live out the Acts 2 church in our day. We said, lets be that kind of church. That was a philosophical decision. It was not a pragmatic, business, or naïve romantic decision. Do we still believe that the church is the hope of the world, that this gospel is true? I hope you learn the beauty, the power, and the potential of your church. Some of you have never been on the receiving side…but God will teach you if you will humble yourselves.
“I don’t think anyone is coming to church anymore looking for a mild dose of God.” “All killer, no filler…”
LESSON TWO: Kingdom economics. This is actually quite complicated when it comes to economics. The math just doesn’t make sense.
Cash reserves help give leaders what they need in crisis. What they need is time. Have cash reserves.
Then, the bucket activity, deciding what goes in buckets A, B, and C, if our revenues were to decline 50% or 75%: What would we never stop doing. Amazing how much clarity is needed.
The Golden Rules of Staff Reductions:
- Give lots of notice to entire organization. Months of notice.
- Be very clear as to the cause of the staff reductions.
- Be generous, and allow the church to be the church.
“Extra-credit” (“I like being forced to do things by good reason.”)
What if we said we would never spend more than 50% of our revenue to staffing. That would force us to think about volunteerism. Then 10% we give away. Then 10% to the “winds of the spirit” (things we could pour anywhere if there was a move). 15% goes to ministry budgets, then 15% to facilities/utilities/insurance, etc. Manage your resource pie well.
Also, don’t shy away from how people should handle their money God’s way. People are hungry for it, especially when they’ve lost a lot of it. And, people will still give generously to a white-hot kingdom vision.
LESSON THREE: Habakkuk 3:2. I’ve heard of your fame, and stand in awe of your deeds. Renew them in our day, in our time, make them known. 2 Chronicles 16:9. For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.
Are we attracting and hiring fully-devoted people, and are we creating the environment for them to soar and to spread their wings, where they can develop their fullest potential in God. OR, are we hiring people who are less
How The Mighty Have Fallen – Jim Collins
- How many absolute key seats, critical positions are there in our organization.
- If there are “x” number of key seats, what percentage of those key seats are filled with the right people (in our language, fully-devoted, kingdom minded people).
- What is our plan for filling those seats with the right people?
- Are we developing back-up people for key seats in case they are to leave?
LESSON FOUR: A lesson on the personal front. These times of challenges seem to make for another full-time job. Things are just piling up. Is your life unsustainable? Do you have an adequate replenishment plan?
“The pace at which I’m doing the work of God is destroying the work of God in me.”
Romans 8:6, “Life & Peace.” Leaders know how well they lead when they are filled up. And you all know what happens when you begin to get depleted. Some of you were up high a while ago, filled up. Some of you have allowed yourself to get further depleted. This is when we all have to do self-leadership. We have to reinvent adequate replenishment strategies for the new reality. Part of that is a planned negligence strategy: the things I need to stop doing, stay away from, quit being a part of. Pay attention to diet, exercise, etc.
But the single most important decision I’ve made recently. I’ve lived “speed of the leader, speed of the team,” my whole life. However, since this recent rogue waves, I’ve started noticing myself tempted to go to the stack of papers, short-changing your personal time with God. The temptation is to work harder, to meet every need, ignore family/friends, eat bad food…etc. So, I’ve started a new pattern, I’ve set up a room in my home, and instead of being tempted with leadership distractions, I absorb God’s Word, and I absorb it slowly, and let it wash my heart. And I find that when I listen, slowly, He speaks more frequently.
Whenever you’re in a “rogue wave,” the best thing you bring is a fresh you, a filled-up you, a devoted you. If they see in you a rock-solid confidence, they feed on it. And they start to say, “we can get through this.” Whatever practices you have to shake up, re-experiment with, whatever…do it. Pay that price. Let go of the trapeze of the routines of the past, and say, it’s a new reality, and it may be tough for a really long time.
What do your followers and colleagues see when they look at you these days? Do they see someone with a full-bucket, full of life and peace, or do they see someone who is exhausted and fearful. God did great things in the past, but He just can’t do anything today.