Hint: rely on honest dialogue, not bylaw modifications.
I research, write, speak, and generally encourage the church towards joining Jesus on mission. Obviously, my understanding is that there are a large number of churches that are not engaged—at least, not engaged well—and my hope is that this will change.
There are two aspects of this process of change I would like to address in this post: one encouragement and one caution. Inexperienced leaders of established churches tend to skip the former (honest assessment) and rush to the later (bylaw changes). That's the wrong approach.
The Encouragement: To Honest Dialogue
A few years back, I did some labor relations consulting with one of the top three home improvement warehouses. As part of that process, we would set up survey calls to every employee in every store, and each would answer a series of questions regarding the health and culture of the workplace.
The information was gathered anonymously in order to encourage honesty. Once the information was gathered and compiled, a rating was given to each store based on the information gathered from all the employees at each location.
Stores in the “red zone”—the bottom ten percent of all the stores—would be separated out and marked for further study, and perhaps intervention. We would then send representatives to each store in the red zone to host listening groups and garner further, more specific feedback from the employees and find the variables that created the less-than-stellar work environment.
The company certainly had their reasons for employing the practice—they did not want to be unionized. As such, they worked hard to provide stable, positive workplaces and opened themselves up regularly for ...