How to Embrace Bold Moves in 2024 (Part 2)
When it comes to the future of our church, we all want to pursue God-sized dreams…
But a multi-year vision often feels too far away in our current context. That’s why we recommend churches shift their focus to the immediate bold moves God has for them.
In our last episode, we made the case for WHY every church needs at least 1-2 bold moves they’re chasing in 2024.
(If you haven’t listened to that episode yet, I’d encourage you to listen to that one first… or if you already acknowledge the need to define your next bold moves, then you’re in the right place!)
HOW TO CLARIFY & COMMUNICATE YOUR BOLD MOVES
Now that we’re clear on the “why,” in this episode, Amy and I explain how to clarify what your next bold move should be—including how to know if your goal is too bold or not bold enough—and how to begin communicating your bold moves once you’ve defined them.
- How to clarify your next bold moves
- How to know if your bold move is too bold or not bold enough
- How to communicate your bold moves—internally and externally
- How to make your bold move measurable
At this free 1-hour webinar, the Unstuck team and guests Derwin Gray, Jonathan Smith, and Rick Atchley will help you clarify the next bold move God may be calling your church to make—and unpack the next steps to get there.
This Episode is Sponsored by BELAY:
Do you ever feel like 24 hours in a day is just not enough? Between your ministry and your life at home, managing your time as a church leader can feel impossible. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, our friends at BELAY can help. BELAY is a staffing organization that has spent more than a decade helping busy church leaders like you manage their productivity and accomplish more. From accounting services to administrative support, BELAY has vetted U.S.-based specialists ready to fit your tailored needs.
Since time is the most valuable resource we have, BELAY wants to help you maximize it by offering our listeners an exclusive free download of their newest ebook, The Power of Productivity. This insightful resource is filled with practical tips, helpful assessments, and so much more. Start making the most of the time you have each day and lead with BELAY.
Other Episodes in This Series
- Why Your Church Needs to Embrace Bold Moves – Episode 320
- When Bold Moves Succeed (and Why Others Fail) – Episode 322
- How to Implement Your Bold Moves – Episode 323
Leader Conversation Guide
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Welcome to the Unstuck Church Podcast, where each week we are exploring what it means to be an unstuck church. When it comes to the future direction of the church, we wanna pursue God-sized dreams, but is it possible for our ministry moves to be too bold? What if they’re not bold enough? On this week’s podcast, Tony and Amy continue our series on how to define the next bold move for your church. If you’re new to the Unstuck Church Podcast, before you listen, stop and go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast and subscribe to get the episode show notes in your email. When you do, you’re gonna get resources to support each week’s episode, including our Leader Conversation Guide and access to our podcast resource archive. Again, that’s theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to subscribe. Now, before this week’s conversation, here’s a word from Tony.
Do you ever feel like 24 hours in a day is just not enough? Between your ministry and your life at home, managing your time as a church leader can feel almost impossible. But if you’re feeling overwhelmed, our friends at BELAY can help. BELAY is a staffing organization that has spent more than a decade helping busy church leaders like you manage their productivity and accomplish more. From accounting services to administrative support, BELAY has vetted U.S.-based specialists, ready to fit your tailored needs. Since time is the most valuable resource we have, BELAY wants to help you maximize it by offering our listeners an exclusive free download of their newest e-book, The Power of Productivity. This insightful resource is filled with practical tips, helpful assessments and so much more. Simply text Unstuck—that’s U-N-S-T-U-C-K to 55123—to download The Power of Productivity for free and start making the most of the time you have each day and lead with BELAY.
Well, we’re in week two of our series: How to Embrace Bold Moves in 2024. And, Tony, last week was all about making the case for why every church needs at least one or two bold moves that they’re gonna chase in 2024. And so, if you haven’t listened to that episode, it’s a shorter one. I would say go back and listen to that before this one. But if you’ve already acknowledged the need to define your next bold move, you are in the right place. And, Tony, good to see you. Because you’re so busy the next two weeks, I don’t think I’m gonna see you for a while.
So yeah, I, I am, it’s like I’m flying back and forth across the country to work with a great church in Lubbock, Texas, and then heading to Newark, Delaware, near Philadelphia, and then heading to Seattle to actually, there’s a church that’s coming down from British Columbia in Canada that I get to work with.
So I’m flying back and forth across the country, and I have a feeling over the next couple of weeks here, Amy, I won’t know what time zone that I’m in. So if I miss a meeting, you’ll know why. But you’re right.
You’re right because today we’re going to be talking about how to clarify your next bold moves, including how to know if your goal is too bold or not bold enough and how to begin communicating your bold moves once you’ve defined them. So, this is gonna be a fun conversation today.
Yeah, I love talking about bold moves. So, Tony, where should our pastors listening start when it comes to clarifying their bold moves?
Well, as we mentioned last week, you first need to clarify your foundation before you can determine your direction or what your next bold move is gonna, going to look like. And when we talked about foundation, we talked about confirming our theology, our doctrine, kind of the, the scriptural foundation for what we do, our mission, why we do what we do, and then our commitment to making disciples of Jesus, making new disciples of Jesus. So, we need to come to agreement on that. But, once we do, then, we’re, we’re positioned to begin talking about how we’re gonna move the mission forward. And more specific to this conversation, what is the next bold move that our church should be engaging? So with that, when churches reach out to us for help and they begin to go through our Unstuck Process, we encourage them weeks in advance of being onsite with their team to begin praying, to begin dreaming, to begin having conversations internally about where they feel God’s leading their church. And then, once we’re together onsite, we talk through and continue to dream about all that God might have for the church moving forward. And then, we take all those great ideas and narrow them down. And, Amy, we often land on one or two specific bold moves that we think the church needs to engage in the coming months in order to move the mission forward. And that conversation includes talking through the pros and cons, the resource investment required, some of the risk that might be involved in those bold moves. And then, on the other side, what the kingdom impact might look like if God moves, and we see this bold move through to the end. So, those, Amy, are just phenomenal conversations. It’s my, really my favorite part about The Unstuck Process. I know there’s other important work that we do. But just helping churches get a new vision again, a new direction again and then to really get clarity and alignment around what that bold move looks like, it’s just fun to see the energy in the room.
Among the leadership with the senior pastor and, and to know now this team knows specifically what they’re going to do next. And I love that because it’s the beginning of a great work that God’s doing through that team. Yeah.
They’re not only dreaming again, but I always like what you said last week, they know what the results will be. You know, what God could do through them if they actually accomplish this big, bold move.
And the idea behind a bold move is to step beyond our regular goal setting, step beyond the expected growth and then to chase something even a little bit bigger. So, Tony, when a church is setting out to define their bold moves, how do we know if the bold move is bold enough?
Well, this is, let me give you a few ways to maybe take a look at this. One way is just to ask this question: As we talk about this potential bold move, does it change how we will need to invest our financial resources? Does it change how we will use our time day-to-day? Does it change how we will allocate our strongest leaders? Does it change how we need to pray and how we will pray? And, Amy, if none of that has to shift, if in order to accomplish this bold move, we don’t need to reallocate money. We don’t need to reallocate time. We don’t need to put our strongest leaders behind it, and it doesn’t cause us to pray. If none of that has to happen, then the vision isn’t bold enough and the specific bold move that we’re running after isn’t big enough. Because you need to have a big enough and compelling enough vision, a specific bold move, that it can’t be accomplished through our own efforts. It can’t be accomplished through one person. We are gonna need God to move, and we’re gonna need a team to rally behind it. And maybe that’s the second way that we can identify whether or not the, this move is bold enough. As I alluded to last week, the right bold move is going to rally most of the people in our church. People are going to be invested in whatever it is that we’re trying to accomplish. And, at the same time, if it’s bold enough, it’s going to repel some people as well. They’re gonna see the specific action that we’re going to be taking as a ministry, they’re gonna look at that and recognize this isn’t for me. And because of that, they’re probably gonna look for another church to connect with. And that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for them. And it’s a good thing for our church, as well, because through that, we will have unity of purpose as a church. The people that stay and wanna be a part of this are gonna be fully aligned and focused on what God has for your ministry.
Yeah. Let me flip that question around now. Tony, how do you know if your bold move is actually too bold?
Yeah, that’s a good question because I have seen that, too, in the past where, where teams kind of take on something that ends up being too big. And some of the ways that we can discern on the front end is this, is this move too, too big, too bold is the fact that we have to trust God, but we also have to count the cost ahead of time. And we need to ask, has God prepared us for this next step? Has he prepared us with our, with our resourcing? Has he prepared us with the leadership that we have? Has he has, he prepared us with a bandwidth in our ministry to be able to pull this off. So, we have to count the cost. That’s a, that’s a biblical principle. Before we build something new, before we pursue a bold move, we have to count the cost. When we don’t count the cost, of course, we run the risk of losing credibility with our team. We, we might lose credibility with our congregation. And then, maybe more importantly, if you run after something big and start to talk about it and cast vision and people outside the church hear about it and then you haven’t counted the cost ahead of time, you might lose credibility in your community, as well. You, you might lose the credibility of the people that you’re actually trying to reach. And I’ve seen this, unfortunately, not many times, but I’ve seen occasions where churches tried to pursue something too big. It was very visible in the community, but because they didn’t count the cost ahead of time, it ended up actually impacting their credibility in the community, as well. Amy, another way to know if it’s maybe too bold is, if it’s too bold, you might find yourselves quickly becoming demotivated as a team and demoralized. And what I mean by that is sometimes we’ve seen churches talk about a specific goal. Let’s, for example, we want to reach a thousand people in the next five years, help them cross the line of faith, say yes to Jesus and go public with their faith through baptism. And my goodness, who wouldn’t wanna see that, right?
But depending on the size of the church, and again, looking at some of the other factors like our bandwidth as a team, the, the, the amount of leadership horsepower we can provide in that, just the fact of whether or not God is moving and we’re seeing people come to the church and begin to take steps towards Christ, we have to count the cost there, too. Because we may set a target, a bold move that just so significant, that very quickly, if we don’t get some traction on that, it can become demotivating and demoralizing to the team.
And let’s just face it, when people start asking the question, “Can we really, can we really pull this off? Why aren’t we getting traction around this?” Gosh, that’s when you know, of course, that maybe it was too bold. And here’s the challenge for senior pastors: People will start asking those questions, and you will likely be the last person that hears those questions directly. And so it is, Amy, a good reason why we just need to make sure whatever we’re pursuing, as far as vision and direction, whatever bold move we’re sensing God has for us, we need to count the cost ahead of time and just make sure this is specifically what God’s calling us to do. And if he moves, we can actually see this vision become reality.
Alright, so say a church, Tony, has done the work. They’ve counted the cost, and they’re ready to start rallying people around their next bold move. What’s your opinion on where they start when it comes to communication of those bold moves, both, you know, internally and externally?
Well, Amy, when you’re getting alignment around your vision or one of these bold moves, you need to remember this principle to start small and widen the circle. In other words, you start small with a small group of leaders, of influencers in your church, and very likely that’s gonna include like your board or your elders or your key staff leaders. And then, you’re gonna widen the circle. Then, you’ll bring this vision to key lay leaders, to your volunteers, and then, you’ll widen the circle further. And eventually, you’ll start talking about this vision to the, the entire congregation. So, the first principle is to start small and then widen the circle as you’re casting vision. And then, when you’re casting vision, you have to appeal to both sides of the brain. And what I mean by that is, for whatever reason, some of us, God has created the left side of the brain that likes statistics and data. Folks are motivated by, “Just tell me. Gimme the, gimme the results. Gimme the numbers. What will happen if we accomplish this bold move?” And then, some of us are more motivated by what’s happening in the right side of our brain. In other words, we love to hear the stories. We wanna hear specifically about the people that will be impacted by this bold move. In other words, some of us, I’m raising my hand here, are motivated by that, that just looking at the stats and the data and the numbers and the impact in that way. And some of us, Amy, I’m guessing this may be you, I, you have to hear the stories of how people’s lives are gonna be changed and influenced by the bold move that you’re trying to take. And so, I just think you have to remember when you’re casting vision, you have to cast, cast vision to both Tony and Amy. Is that right, Amy?
Yeah, I agree. And you have to do it multiple times.
Oh, oh my goodness. Yes.
My lead pastors are like, they always feel like they’re always talking about it, but if there’s not diversity in approach in how you share that bold move, share that vision, it’s not being caught by everybody. So, I love that paying attention to both sides of the brain. All right. So, what else do we need to consider when we’re communicating this bold move, both internally and externally?
Yeah, Amy, it’s good to remember that people will buy in once they have an opportunity to weigh in. And with that, it’s just a reminder, something we talked about last week, that if you develop this vision with your leadership team and they have a voice in defining this, this vision. And by the way, I didn’t say define the vision with your entire church. I’m not at all recommending that.
No, no, no, no.
With your leadership team, if you’re defining this vision, and here we’re talking about maybe six to 12 people at the most. Once you have that vision and they’ve had a chance to participate, they, and they’ve had a chance to, to weigh in, it’s going to give you early buy-in with some of your key leaders and some of your key influencers. So, people will start, they’ll, they’ll support what they’ve had a part in creating. So, as you’re defining your vision, your next bold move, you just wanna make sure that your key leaders are involved at the very beginning of that process. And then, Amy, I mean, you just mentioned this. When you begin to cast vision and go from that small circle and widen the circle, if you think you’re saying it too much, you need to double that. So when you get to the too much point, like it feels like I’m talking about this all the time, you need to double down. And what I’ve seen is the best vision casters know that it’s their responsibility to keep vision in front of people. They need to keep everyone focused. And that, by the way, is why we only recommend one or two bold moves at any given time. If you’re trying to run after 10 different bold moves at the same time, it’s really impossible to keep everyone focused and keep everyone aligned. And then, it’s important that you not only describe as clearly as possible what the bold move will look like, but you also address the why question. In other words, why do we believe God wants us to pursue this vision and these specific bold moves? I mean, really, the most important part of casting vision is helping people see why the bold move is critical to the mission of the church. So, test your case for why with a handful of people that you trust and who will be honest with you, too, as well before you make the case for why with your entire congregation.
Yeah, that’s so good—getting at the why. And Tony, we’ll dive even deeper in our last episode about how to make bold moves actionable by aligning the team and the strategy to accomplish them. But, let’s just address one more practical thought today. As churches are clarifying their bold moves, how do they make sure that they are measurable? In other words, we know what the win is and whether or not we’ve accomplished it.
Well, I’m glad just you’re just using the phrase make it measurable, Amy, because that’s, that’s the big win here. And we talked about this a little bit last week. For it to be measurable, you have to be able to answer one of two questions. The first one is, what’s the specific project or initiative that you want to complete? Or what’s the specific goal that you want to achieve? With either one of those questions, you can answer yes or no. Did we accomplish the project or initiative? Or did we achieve the goal? And when it’s that specific, when it’s measurable like that, that helps us to discern whether or not it’s specific enough and practical enough for us to be able to begin to cast vision to the broader team and the broader congregation. And what we measure really does matter. Every number has a name. Every name has a story. And every story matters to God. So it should matter to us. I mean, we measure progress so that we can celebrate together what God’s doing. And this is one of the reasons why we encourage churches to think about written action plans. I mean, we don’t want to pray, just pray, though we should pray for a bold vision to be accomplished. We want it written down so that everybody specifically knows their part in seeing this bold move through, as well. Now, there are many ways to do this. At The Unstuck Group, we really encourage teams to think about broader vision, bold moves with written action plans that are just looking at: First, what are we intending to do in the next 90 days? And then, we kind of work with teams on succeeding 90-day cycles, action plans after that. So rather than thinking about everything that needs to be done to accomplish and move our vision forward, we’re just helping them first think about what do we need to do in these next three months, these next 90 days? And then to focus specifically on who’s going to be responsible for doing what within those next 90 days. And, again, if you can’t create an action plan that identifies specifically who, who’s going to do what by when, then you haven’t defined a bold move for the future. You haven’t gotten specific enough. Because if it’s bold enough and it’s specific enough, you should feel the urgency to start working on that vision, that bold move today. If not, if you can’t define an action plan, at best, you’ve probably, again, just restated your mission as a church.
And, you know, talking about measuring things, Tony, I just think that’s a muscle in our churches that we need to build. Everything we do should really have a measurable, defined outcome. If we do this well, these other results that we should see.
And so if that’s not part of your makeup right now, that’s a good muscle to begin building while we’re talking through these bold moves. Tony, I know that in next week’s episode we’re gonna dive into some practical examples of bold moves, like you said, that have gone well and maybe some that didn’t and why. But until then, any final thoughts as we wrap up today’s conversation?
Well, once again, I do want to invite our listeners to our upcoming webinar on November 16th. It’s called Four Bold Moves for Churches and How to Make Them Happen. And we’re going to be joined by Derwin Gray, Jonathan Smith, who pastors a great church up in Toronto, and Rick Atchley, who also pastors just a phenomenal ministry, a great church in the Fort Worth area of Texas. So, they’re gonna join us for a practical conversation to help you clarify your foundation before clarifying your direction, clarify what bold moves to make and then outline maybe four ideas that we suggest you consider, and then clarify the next steps, systems and strategies needed to accomplish your vision. And if that sounds like something your church needs as you move into the new year, I encourage you to check out the link in your show notes for more information and to register you and your team for this free event.
Well, thanks for joining us on this week’s podcast. Like Tony mentioned, if you’d like to learn more or register for our upcoming free webinar on November 16th called Four Bold Moves for Churches and How to Make Them, you can do that using the link in your show notes. And if you don’t yet have the show notes, just go to theunstuckgroup.com/podcast to subscribe. Next week, we’re back with another brand new episode. Until then, have a great week.