Andy Stanley closed out Catalyst One Day Chicago with a talk about momentum in our programming with a talk titled “Don’t Be That Couch”. The title is based on a metaphor that we often hold onto the old couch that is no longer in style or even functional because we are attached to it emotionally.
Whereas programming begins as an answer to a question, over time it becomes a part of organizational culture.
The problem is that as culture changes, we don’t change the answers. Instead, we institutionalize our answers and eventually it is no longer a valid answer.
We must continue to be more committed to our mission than to our programming or our model.
The tendency is to become more committed to our programs than the reasons they were designed. Over time, sustaining the model can become the mission.
The church is in decline because we have fossilized around very old practices and we aren’t willing to adapt to a changing culture. Andy admitted this is his opinion, but he said, “You cannot pray yourself out of decline. You must behave yourself out of decline. “
Questions to evaluate:
- What have we fallen in love with that’s really not as effective as it used to be? – Sometimes we hold onto things just because we love them, but they aren’t working anymore.
- Where are we manufacturing energy?- If the pastor can’t get excited about it anymore, why should the people?
- What are our organizational assumptions? – We make assumptions about people and programs that aren’t even true, based on our own limited assumptions.
Andy said some of us need to walk back into our churches and make the changes we know need to be made.
I have heard this talk before, and some of you readers will have also, but this is a talk I need to hear every few years.
Here are my questions I’m considering:
What programs are no longer effective in your church or organization, but you are married to them, because they’ve become a part of your culture?
Is it time for them to go?
Are you willing to make the hard leadership decision to let them go?
(Do any of these apply to you?)