Lets say that you have this absolutely magnificent barn. It is designed and built to house some of the most striking thoroughbreds ever seen. Stalls well laid out, easy to clean and storage make this a real pride. The only issue is that the animals you possess are egg laying chickens.
That’s right, egg laying chickens. Now you have something of a dilemma. You can house them in the barn, but it really is not the best choice. This is kind of like the people in your congregation. Of course, you can design a twelve week study course on how to transform your life into a thoroughbred. You could get up in front of them once a week and say “Come on guys you’re just not trying hard enough, we need more commitment, and I bet some of you are not really chickens at all, you know it takes more than walking around with chickens to be a real chicken.”
You spotted the problem right away, egg laying chickens need a different system of housing than do thoroughbred horses. You have just identified the major task of leaders. That is the task of identifying the very best system for your group of followers to function in and then go about providing that system.
Leaders who get from point A to B do not try to reshape the followers to fit the system, they shape the system to fit the followers mission. What is it that they are supposed to do? In what system can this best be done? How do I go about shifting the system?
For those of us leading in the Christian community, we often complain that we have a group of spectators who are only interested in showing up on Sunday and letting everyone else do the work for them. That is because we, as leaders, have created a system that produces Sunday morning attenders.
So much of our leading is about trying to get the people in the pew to change and be different. I suggest that they can not be much different because they live in a barn (I’ve just been wanting to say that every since my mother kept asking me if I lived in one…) How can a leader stand up in front of a group of people on a stage, under lights at an announced one hour service preceded by music and fanfare and say, “This is not about spectators.” Of course it is.
Here is my net to draw in, church people will not become disciple making, community impacting, spirit focused communities until we redesign the current structure and system. As a leader, you have to step out of the system and work on it, not in it. Most often it takes the help of someone outside the circle, or some-one to just give you that little bit of a boost up so you can shift your leading to creating an environment where eggs can be laid, or disciples can be made, souls can be reached, and our God can truly be worshiped.
Egg laying chickens are wonderful creatures! Put them in a good coop and great things will happen. Most church attending people are good people, lets try putting them in the system in which they can be their best.