Early in my ministry, I realized that my timetable and the timetable of my church were often very different. Our timetables were different especially when it came to leading needed change or implementing new ideas or ministries.
After several poor outcomes, I settled on what I called my “Three-Month Rule” for leading change in the church. It was not a "hard and fast" rule, but it was one that I followed most of the time. Here is how it works.
Let’s say that I attended a conference and discovered a great ministry idea that I thought would work effectively in our church. My inclination was often to come home and start the process of implementing the new ministry. Although the ministry had been highly effective in another church, I needed to take time to pray about it and closely evaluate it in the context of our church and community.
I learned to mark down the date I discovered the new ministry idea. That became my anchor date for prayer and evaluation. After three months, if the idea was still on my heart and mind, I determined that God could potentially use this ministry in our church.
At some point after my three-months of prayer and evaluation, I would begin to develop the ministry idea and discuss it with leadership. The benefit to our leadership was that they were assured I had taken time to process our context and who we were as a congregation. I had not just thrown the “latest and greatest” ministry idea at them without significant consideration.
When following this process, I often discovered that the original ministry idea would look significantly different than first imagined. Then once presented to our leadership, additional changes might be made before implementing it with the congregation.
My three-month rule was of great benefit to leading change, but it was not the silver bullet. At times, our leadership was still not convinced of my enthusiastic recommendation. In hindsight, I discovered that in such cases, they were usually right.
Regardless, my three-month rule proved itself to be extremely valuable. I would recommend it to any church leader.