Churches more open to change, Bandy says
November 30 2001 by Greg Warner , Associated Baptist Press

Churches more open to change, Bandy says | Friday, Nov 30, 2001
  • Mentoring core leaders,
  • Improving adult faith formation,
  • Upgrading technology, and
  • Transforming or multitracking worship.

    "You start wherever the stress is the least and the opportunity is greatest," Bandy said.

    "I don't think any church is going to be able to survive with business as usual. But the pace of change will vary from place to place. There are some churches that can carry on probably for seven to ten to fifteen years, doing much the same things as they are now."

    "There is a window of time, but it's very difficult to measure. I have seen it many, many times. There's a moment when the tide is in, the wind is right, the moment is right, so to speak. And you can miss the moment."

    How big a window depends on many circumstances, including demographic changes and community transition, Bandy said. But it's getting smaller all the time.

    "The public today is very impatient. If they don't see you seriously undertake systemic change, transformation, in your church within a certain period of time, they will give up on you. They'll walk away, and you will not be able to drive them back."

  • Friday, Nov 30, 2001

    Churches more open to change, Bandy says

    By Greg Warner Associated Baptist Press ATLANTA - Tom Bandy says he is seeing a new openness in churches to what he calls "transformational change." Bandy urges churches to develop a "genetic code," a consensus statement of core values, bedrock beliefs, a challenging vision and a focused mission. Those building blocks will define everything the church does - while freeing clergy and laity to adapt to changing needs.

    "I find churches more prepared to do that today than they were even five-to-seven years ago," Bandy, a consultant with Easum, Bandy and Associates, based in Port Aransas, Texas, said in an interview with the Christian magazine FaithWorks.

    Yet, Bandy said, some obstacles remain in every setting.

    "There are basically three kinds of people in the church," Bandy said. "About 20 to 25 percent are rearing to go, ready to build that new genetic code and experiment wildly in a mission to the Gentiles.

    "Then the largest group in the church, the second group, is about 60 to 65 percent. These are frankly wonderful, fine, upstanding people but not particularly imaginative. Traditional kind of a people, but they are healthy people. They are coachable people. You give them a video, they'll watch it. You talk to them, they'll listen to you.

    "And the third group, that 10 to 15 percent, are the controllers. I describe them as not-healthy people. They're dysfunctional people. These are people for whom no coaching, no education, no training would help because what they need is therapy, not education. Dysfunctional leaders are people who have a need to control.

    "The hard thing is, the longer your church is in decline, the more you magnetically attract those dysfunctional people. You're in a tough place because if you don't begin changing, the 20 percent who are rearing to go will get up and leave."

    If a church does chart a new course, Bandy said, a different group will likely leave, the controllers.

    "Bottom line, you're going to lose somebody in the next 10 years. That's the hard thing. The good news (is) if you are willing to transform and change, you will have more impact in missions and you will involve more people in your church than ever before. But there will be a price to pay."

    Bandy said the issue of worship style is where conflict most often emerges in churches, but that is only a symptom.

    "If you really track it down, there is nothing theological about it. It really is all about control. It's all about how I experience the power of God, and trying to impose that on everyone else.

    "One of the ways churches traditionally exercise power is through worship," he said, "by simply controlling the worship and music that you allow people to use.

    "What diffuses conflict around music and worship is when you have that (clear) sense of identity."

    There isn't one plan or formula for transforming a church, Bandy said. "Transformation is very messy business. It's not a strategic plan that you follow."

    He suggested," four major leverage points" in the church that can be catalysts for change:

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    11/30/2001 12:00:00 AM by Greg Warner , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
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